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Sunday, July 10, 2005

My experience at the Doctoral Consortium

Although I will come up with a more detailed summary about my experience at DC05, here is a short version as a blog post: 1. The way the DC went through was much nicer and way more comfortable than I expected before I came here! To be frank, I had some worries on the top of my head, like "what if the panelist tries to crush me?", "What if I didn't convey the ideas clearly", "what if my work is not competitive to others'?"... However, once the DC got started from the very first talk, I knew that all of these were simply unnecessary overaction. The students were very open, and we started chatting over the research and life at different universities even before Kiri's openning speech. As for the feedback time after each presentation, I saw the most active and healthy interaction between the presenter and the audience -- both the panelist members and the participating students were really "eager" to give out their comments and suggestions! This at least made me feel very welcome. I actually wrote down pages of hints about research and presentation skills from the discussions. :) 2. By getting to know the thesis work done by other students who are at a similar stage of the PhD program, I feel greatly encouraged! I have found similar research concerns in other students' presentations (thanks to the "remaining concerns/open quesions" slide). The feeling of "not-being-alone" is very helpful for me to face the difficulties in my own work. :) 3. Although people are conducting researches in different areas of AI, since the presentations are general overviews of the thesis work, most of the contents were actually well received! I was indeed totally new to some of the topics, but I didn't feel excluded from any talk. Isn't this great? So with the total 16 presentations within 2 days, I was able to get flavors of >10 sub-fields in AI. It was equivalent to going through related tutorials at a quick pace. :) I truly want to thank every participant in the DC-05. All of you made it a very precious learning experience for me during my PhD study. Keep in touch!

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