tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-3722233.post7007190368140603429..comments2024-08-02T19:37:12.269-05:00Comments on Computational Complexity: Advice for an EngineerLance Fortnowhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/06752030912874378610noreply@blogger.comBlogger10125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-3722233.post-62247158851079049532010-06-07T10:18:41.397-05:002010-06-07T10:18:41.397-05:00This comment has been removed by the author.Xinhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/07979568878714131398noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-3722233.post-56424867118578633592010-06-02T19:05:19.428-05:002010-06-02T19:05:19.428-05:00Some concrete advice for the reader is to investig...Some concrete advice for the reader is to investigate the <a href="http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/comcom/emmcs" rel="nofollow"><i>Erasmus Mundus</i> Masters in Complex Systems Science</a> ... or alternatively, <i>Erasmus Mundus</i> ALGANT: ALgebra, Geometry and Number Theory.<br /><br />Perhaps somewhere in the (vast) scope of <i>Erasmus Mundus</i> is just the opportunity that this young person is looking for?<br /><br />I would be very interested to read posts about peoples' early experiences/reactions to the general <i>Erasmus Mundus</i> program.John Sidleshttp://www.mrfm.orgnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-3722233.post-14038086875058595662010-06-02T11:50:58.120-05:002010-06-02T11:50:58.120-05:00For inspiration: The great Uri Feige did his under...<i>For inspiration: The great Uri Feige did his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering.</i><br /><br />Hmmm ... come to think of it ... there are similarly inspirational moves too in the opposite direction ... from mathematics to engineering ... von Neumann for example worked the last 15 years of his life (in effect) as a systems engineer ... indeed as one of the world's <i>first</i> systems engineers.<br /><br />Perhaps we will see many more such confluent careers in the 21st century. For example, nowadays we are witnessing the confluence of the scientific discipline of biology, with the mathematical discipline of bioinformatics, giving birth to the engineering discipline of synthetic biology.<br /><br />It's a sobering reality, that on our increasingly hot planet, with a population of 6-going-on-10 billion people, that research-minded young folks have to look ahead to foresee disciplines and enterprises in which STEM-type jobs are going to be created on a global scale.<br /><br />The alternative scenario—in which abundant STEM-type jobs <i>aren't</i> created on a global scale—is unpleasantly dystopian to contemplate, and (perhaps) disturbingly close to being a reality already.John Sidleshttp://www.mrfm.orgnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-3722233.post-25872136008229104852010-06-02T10:21:45.541-05:002010-06-02T10:21:45.541-05:00For inspiration: The great Uri Feige did his under...For inspiration: The great Uri Feige did his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering.Anonymousnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-3722233.post-23296288499812472992010-06-02T09:55:59.174-05:002010-06-02T09:55:59.174-05:00I want to second Lance's advice: "try rea...I want to second Lance's advice: <i>"try reading some of the latest papers in the field on ECCC and ArXiv".</i><br /><br />And in addition to reading the latest papers, it is also helpful (and fun) to search the arxiv for the <i>earliest</i> papers too.<br /><br />Here the arxiv's "Advanced Search" feature is your friend ... it includes an (experimental) full text option.<br /><br />Pick key words and phrases that interest you, and find out who was <i>first</i> to introduce them. Unsurprisingly, these early articles often provide the clearest explanations and motivations.<br /><br />This will provide you with a pretty solid understanding of where new ideas come from, and how they evolve.<br /><br />You will also discover strong gradients across disciplines. Try searching the arxiv server for the word "naturality" for example:<br /><br />- mathematics: 2302 uses<br />- physics: 403 <br />- computer science: 59<br />- nonlinear sciences: 6<br />- quantitative biology: 0<br />- quantitative finance: 0<br />- statistics: 0<br /><br />Hmmm ... there's a pretty obvious opportunity to introduce explicit considerations of mathematical naturality to the literature of biology, finance, and statistics ...<br /><br />Deconstructing the literature in this way provides inspiration and pointers to unbounded trans-disciplinary research opportunities ... that's why (IMHO) there has never been a better time to be a young mathematician, scientist, or engineer.John Sidleshttp://www.mrfm.orgnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-3722233.post-19457941543973290552010-06-02T09:46:35.958-05:002010-06-02T09:46:35.958-05:00Well, I graduated from an engineering school (mast...Well, I graduated from an engineering school (master's degree), but I got into the "R&D lab" during the last 2 years. Though the usual curriculum has its good share of language theory (from Chomsky hierarchy to parsing), the R&D curriculum had classes in computability, model theory and complexity. This came as a flash, and I decided to do another master's degree in logic and TCS. Now, I'm doing my PhD in complexity and language theory.Anonymousnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-3722233.post-59099994468849053132010-06-02T09:39:38.797-05:002010-06-02T09:39:38.797-05:00It is hard for a person to say that he is interest...It is hard for a person to say that he is interested in something without knowing what that thing is. I would suggest that he should first see he is really interested in complexity, wasting a few years of life is not a good thing.<br /><br />And being interested is not enough to be successful in a job.Anonymousnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-3722233.post-33657785408115174932010-06-02T09:39:06.699-05:002010-06-02T09:39:06.699-05:00Transitioning to a new field is often easier if yo...Transitioning to a new field is often easier if you can relate it to something you are already doing.<br /><br />e.g. if you are designing computer chips you can look at the optimization problem of how to optimally placing the components of the chip. This will naturally lead you to research the latest developments in optimization theory, which could lead to a study of approximation algorithms and computational complexity etc.<br /><br />The point is you are not just going in cold turkey, but you are leveraging something you already know about (computer chip design) so that you can be productive as you learn something new.Anonymousnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-3722233.post-52961742140619353942010-06-02T09:34:00.943-05:002010-06-02T09:34:00.943-05:00First is he REALLY interested in computational com...First is he REALLY interested in computational complexity specifically or more generally in "mathematical fields which are close to computer science"? (e.g. algorithms, programming language theory, computability theory, machine learning theory, information theory, computational complexity theory, queuing theory, algorithmic game theory etc.)<br /><br />From his description sounds like he may not be too sure. So the first order of business is to see if you aren't more excited to study streaming algorithms or online algorithms or something.Anonymousnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-3722233.post-48624628434505993272010-06-02T08:14:26.888-05:002010-06-02T08:14:26.888-05:00He can always study computational logic (http://ww...He can always study computational logic (http://www.computational-logic.org/ and http://european.computational-logic.org) which is a master, and soon a PhD program, directed to computer scientist with strong emphasys on maths.Alexhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/17841211732240724682noreply@blogger.com