BrainstorM: Somebody during my graduate school life, told me [paraphrased] “Strength and / or creativity of a researcher is limited to the literature that he or she is aware of.” After going through a pleasant and a well-needed grind at Carnegie Mellon University, I have started preaching this to others. To practice what I preach, I started doing Research Paper reading sessions with my students starting Fall 2010. We did this for a semester, it went well; some students enjoyed it and some did not (understandably!). In Spring 2011, with the help of some of my Ph.D. students, we named the paper reading sessions as “BrainstorM” referred as BM among the group members. After having done it for the last 3 semesters (Spring 2011, Fall 2011, and Spring 2012), some of the Ph.D. students thought, we should take BM to the next level, i.e. make the schedule, papers, lead student, etc. public, so that other research groups are aware of the type of papers we read and can give suggestions, if any. One Ph.D. student who is part of BM from the starting date, says “It [BM] keeps on motivating me to think “Out of the box” looking at what methodologies others are following. One can understand what a paper is all about, but with smart minds having different backgrounds and expertise (undergrads, postgrads and faculty), one understands multiple perceptions of the same idea. I find weekly brainstorm sessions as a way to cultivate healthy group structure and a coherent feeling among group members, which is hard to achieve otherwise. There is always a take away with every BM session either in terms of technical knowledge or motivation to produce good research.”
With this background, experience, and motivation in mind, we are making our BM details public from this semester; for details, please visit http://precog.iiitd.edu.in/brainstorm.html My hope is that, we will get inputs / suggestions on the kind of papers we should read or probably even feedback on the papers that we are reading now from the community. We hope this can help in more interaction between the members of the research group and the research community.
Datasets: I also strongly believe that wherever appropriate, researchers should share their data for others to use; this can ONLY help the community. At this year’s WWW, I asked a question about sharing dataset to one of the speaker who presented a full paper, and the speaker openly denied sharing the data (understandably!). The chairperson for the session reacted positively and asserted the importance of making datasets of the papers public. A NYTimes article was written around the question and a follow-up by Dr. Bernardo A. Huberman (Social Computing group at HP labs) http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/22/science/big-data-troves-stay-forbidden-to-social-scientists.html. With the intent of making research communities grow healthily, we plan to make our datasets public. In this regard, we are making two datasets public for now; our plan is to share most of the datasets that we have already used and that we will use in future. Please visit http://precog.iiitd.edu.in/resources.html for the datasets and if you have any specific requests on the datasets mentioned here or in any of our Publications, http://precog.iiitd.edu.in/publications.html please write to me at pk[at]iiitd[dot]ac[dot]in. I will be happy to do needful.