Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out

Multi-Agent Decision Making and Communication in Uncertain


									               Presenting Your Research:
                     Papers, Talks, and Chats

                    Marie desJardins (
                       University of Maryland, Baltimore County
                      First Annual MAPLE Research Colloquium
                                      31 May 2002
                (Very minor modifications by J. N. Amaral in Sept. 2005)

October 1999
                      Research isn’t just research
                Who cares about what you do, if you never tell them?
                You’ll need to present your ideas in various forms
                 and venues:
                     Networking with colleagues at UofA and elsewhere
                     Writing and submitting papers to workshops, conferences,
                      and journals
                     Presenting papers at workshops and conferences
                     Putting together a website that highlights your interests and
                      research activities
                …oh, and these things also provide useful
                 experience for job interviews, not to mention valuable
                 job skills…

October 1999                                                                           2
                Meet people! It helps to have an objective:
                  Find out what research they’re currently working on
                  Tell them what you’re currently working on
                  Find an area of common interest
                  Learn what their visions/future directions are
                  Suggest a new direction for research or topic for a class

                What’s in this interaction for you?
                What’s in it for them?
                If you know two friends, and they know two friends,
                 and they know two friends… Pretty soon you know
October 1999                                                                         3
                                  Networking II
                You need to be prepared to summarize your research
                   For a thesis topic, you should have a 1-minute, 5-minute,
                    and 15-minute presentation already thought through
                   The same goes for other projects you’ve been working on
                   Be able to distinguish between your original contributions,
                    your advisor’s contributions, and ideas drawn from previous
                   Practice with other students!

October 1999                                                                       4
                  Writing and submitting papers
                For a master’s thesis, you should aim to have at least
                 one ―good‖ conference paper by the time you
                For a doctoral dissertation, you should aim for a
                 couple of good conference papers and a journal
                Writing these papers is great practice for the thesis
                 itself… (and you can reuse the material!)
                Where to submit?
                     Look at publication lists of people doing research related to
                      yours, and see where they publish
                     Publish at the conferences that have the most interesting
October 1999                                                                            5
                        Writing papers: Strategy
                First, decide where you plan to submit the paper
                   You may not finish in time, but having a deadline is always
                   Two to four months away is a good planning horizon

                Next, decide what you will say
                   What are the key ideas? Have you developed them yet?
                   What are the key results? Have you designed and run the
                    experiments yet? Have you analyzed the data?
                   What is the key related work? Have you read the relevant
                    background material? Can you give a good summary of it?
                Now get started on the work you need to do to fill in
                  the missing holes! (You can write in parallel…)
October 1999                                                                         6
                           Writing papers: Design
                Abstract –summarizes the research contributions, not the paper
                   (i.e., it shouldn’t be an outline of the paper)
                  Introduction/motivation – what you’ve done and why the
                   reader should care, plus an outline of the paper
                  Technical sections – one or more sections summarizing the
                   research ideas you’ve developed
                  Experiments/results/analysis – one or more sections
                   presenting experimental results and/or supporting proofs
                  Future work – summary of where you’re headed next and open
                   questions still to be answered
                  Conclusions – reminder of what you’ve said and why it’s
                  Related work – sometimes comes after introduction, sometimes
                   before conclusions (depends to some extent on whether you’re
                   building on previous research, or dismissing it as irrelevant)
October 1999                                                                         7
                           Writing papers: Tactics
                Top-down design (outline) is very helpful
                Bulleted lists can help you get past writer’s block
                   Unless you’re a really talented/experienced writer, you
                    should use these tools before you start writing prose
                Neatness counts! Check spelling, grammar,
                  consistency of fonts and notation before showing it to
                  anyone for review
                      If they’re concentrating on your typos, they might miss
                       what’s interesting about the content
                Leave time for reviews!
                   Fellow students, collaborators, advisors, …
                   A paper is only done when it’s submitted... and usually not
                    even then.
October 1999                                                                             8
                Who should be an author?
                  Anyone who contributed significantly to the conceptual
                   development or writing of the paper
                  Not necessarily people who provided feedback, implemented
                   code, or ran experiments
                What order should the authors be listed in?
                  If some authors contributed more of the conceptual
                   development and/or did most/all of the writing, they should
                   be listed first
                  If the contribution was equal or the authors worked as a
                   team, the authors should be listed in alphabetical order
                  Sometimes the note ―The authors are listed in alphabetical
                   order‖ is explicitly included
October 1999                                                                         9
                                    Giving talks
                Know how long you have
                   How long is the talk? Are questions included?
                   A good heuristic is 2-3 minutes per slide
                   If you have too many slides, you’ll skip some or—worse—
                    rush desperately to finish. Avoid this temptation!!
                   You never have time to say everything about a topic, so
                    don’t worry about skipping some things!
                   Unless you’re very experienced giving talks, you should
                    practice your timing:
                       A couple of times on your own to get the general flow

                       At least one dry run to work out the kinks

                       A run-through on your own the night before the talk

October 1999                                                                    10
                                   Giving talks II
                Know who your audience is
                   Don’t waste time on basics if you’re talking to an audience in
                    your field
                   Even for these people, you need to be sure you’re explaining
                    each new concept clearly
                   On the other hand, you’ll lose people in a general audience if
                    you don’t give the necessary background
                   In any case, the most important thing is to emphasize what
                    you’ve done and why they should care!

October 1999                                                                      11
                                   Giving talks III
                Know what you want to say
                   Just giving a project summary is not interesting to most
                   You should give enough detail to get your interesting ideas
                    across (and to show that you’ve actually solved the
                    problem), but not so much that you lose your audience
                   They want to hear what you did that was cool and why
                    they should care
                   Preferably, they’ll hear the above two points at the beginning
                    of the talk, over the course of the talk, and at the end of the
                   If they’re intrigued, they’ll ask questions or read your paper
                   Whatever you do, don’t just read your slides!

October 1999                                                                       12
                                  Preparing slides
                Don’t just read your slides!
                Use the minimum amount of text necessary
                Use examples
                Use a readable, simple, yet elegant format
                Use color to emphasize important points, but avoid the
                 excessive use of color
                Don’t fidget, and…

                  Abuse      of     animation   is    a       cardinal      sin!

                Don’t just read your slides!

October 1999                                                                         13
                           How to give a bad talk
                   Advice from Dave Patterson, summarized by Mark Hill

               1. Thou shalt not be neat
               2. Thou shalt not waste space
               3. Thou shalt not covet brevity
               4. Thou shalt cover thy naked slides
               5. Thou shalt not write large
               6. Thou shalt not use color
               7. Thou shalt not illustrate
               8. Thou shalt not make eye contact
               9. Thou shalt not skip slides in a long talk
               10. Thou shalt not practice
October 1999                                                               14
                         Some useful resources
                Writing:
                  Lynn DuPre, Bugs in Writing
                  Strunk & White, Elements of Style

                Giving talks:
                  Mark Hill, ―Oral presentation advice‖
                  Patrick Winston, ―Some lecturing heuristics‖
                  Simon L. Peyton Jones et al., ―How to give a good research
                  Dave Patterson, ―How to have a bad career in

October 1999                                                                   15

To top