You need to know something how to be a excellent Postgraduate in computer science research

20 min readApr 24, 2021


Talk about how to do computer science research

1.most papers cannot create actual value

SUM:Interest should be the most important


We know that there is a strong Matthew effect in academia. The citations of most papers are very small. Most of the papers we usually read are papers with a certain degree of influence, and an ordinary scientific researcher has worked hard to write it. There may not be many people paying attention to the papers, and most of the papers solve very small problems, which seem to create little value or even meaningless. Does Mr. Chen feel such a sense of loss and insignificance when doing scientific research?


First of all, I think among countless kinds of starting points for research, “interest should be the most important.” Going back to the original question, why did you publish a paper, right? Own, in order for everyone to cite their own papers, in order to increase their influence, or for themselves? Let yourself feel that there is indeed a work that needs to be summarized. I do feel that I have made some contributions in some aspects and that I need to pass on these contributions. I think these are the better starting points.

To cite this matter, of course, the greater the influence of the paper, the better, and the more people pay attention, the better, but “this does not mean that there is no good research without sufficient influence.” I think this issue is very important. Good research is worthy of attention at first. I think it is different from whether it is worth paying attention to or not. You see, there are a large number of papers published every day, and there are too many results, which does not mean that there are not enough citations. , Or those papers that have not attracted enough attention are not good enough. In fact, there are some good papers. There are many reasons why these good papers have not received enough attention. On the one hand, the author’s team, or school, or personal reputation may not be so big, on the other hand, it is actually luck. If you choose to read these every day like me For newly published papers, you will find that luck is also very important. Whether you post your paper on arXiv one day can attract enough people’s attention, it may also depend on the papers published on the same day as you, if you run into Google, Facebook papers, and Berkeley on this day. , MIT and other prestigious papers, your papers may not receive enough attention, right? This is the ingredient of luck.

But no matter what, whether it’s luck or birth, these are all external. I think the most critical question is whether you think what you write is something worth writing, Guo Jun The teacher (Mr. Chen Guang’s mentor) once said that it is very important, “It is important to write things down, but what is more important than this is whether the things you write are worth writing.” You see that many papers have been published now. The reason why the quality is not good is that they are not written to commemorate something worth writing, or they are not written for everyone to learn from. It may be more to complete a task, or in other words, to complete a task. Graduation, or for a professional title. On the one hand, this adds noise to the entire circle and makes it more difficult for everyone to filter. At the same time, the author himself may not want to have too many citations.

So I think this issue, from the outside, we still have to appeal to everyone not to pay attention only to those people and organizations that have had good jobs before, but also to “pay more attention to these relatively unknown people.” There will be some good jobs, and there are actually many buried in it. I remember that there was a paper that specifically studied the quotation of papers. In fact, there are many influencing factors. For example, like foreign Twitter, did you post your paper on Twitter for promotion, or did you cite a certain celebrity, and He has paid attention, and like the reviewers of many conferences now, if you cite his paper, he is willing to help you publicize your work, because your work is good, in fact, it also indirectly explains his Work well. Looking from the inside out, I think the first thing to do is to correct your thinking. Simply put, it is to write something worth writing, do worthwhile work, do worthwhile things, and don’t publish papers just for the sake of publishing papers.

2.Does scientific development rely on talents or joint efforts?

SUM:To do scientific research still have to be calm,But doing scientific research is not take pains for pleasure


Let’s magnify the problem a bit more. Teacher Chen thinks that the development of science now depends on a group of geniuses, or is it the work of a large number of scientific researchers? Many graduate students feel that they are not smart enough and that they do not have so many good ideas. They cannot produce any influential research. They think that scientific research is something that talents can do, and thus lose interest in scientific research itself. How do you think we should get rid of this mentality, discover and recognize our own value?


First of all, you need to be calm when doing research. When it comes to the difference between a cow and an ordinary person, I think “First of all, a lot of cows do not say that he is smarter than others. They are more powerful because they have a broader vision.” In fact, the progress in the entire field of research has been made by everyone’s efforts little by little. Even for some smart people and great people, he may come up with a good idea, for example, Kaming He. Many of the ideas he put forward are not based on the mind. Storm can think of it all at once. In fact, he also came up with a lot of work from his predecessors. People like Bengio and LeCun. On the one hand, these people have enough vision for the current progress. They know what they are doing now. To what extent, what can be achieved, what are the pitfalls, what are the problems with which methods, or what are the common problems with which type of method, in a nutshell, they have enough experience, this kind of experience, Regarding some of the directions they proposed, some new methods, or some improvements, it played a very important role.

So from this perspective, “I think what we all should pursue is a kind of transcendence of ourselves”, not that you feel that you are not as smart as some people, or not as broad as their vision. In fact, I think these gaps are in your view. It can be tied, or there is not so much difference. It does not mean that someone in a junior class is much stronger than you and has a much better vision. He may be faster than you, but if you have enough time, you can still go to level. Gap.

But more importantly, I think it’s better to go back to the starting point just now. First of all, to do research is not to rush for quick success and quick profit. I think it is also very important to look at the achievements of others. The achievements of others are not because this person surpassed you in academic achievements. More importantly, he has brought us some new thinking in this field, brought us some new perspectives, found some new directions, or made some more clear things. I think these are only for the entire academic circle. Contribution. And this is what we often say, that is to enter the academic circle to do research is doomed to be lonely, “Most people may only be short-lived, but when others bloom, you should be more happy for others”, This is not because he is famous and happy for him, but because you have made progress in your field, you have more materials you can improve, and you have a better shoulder. Being happy is actually being happy for yourself, so I think from the mentality, this is a normal mentality. 🙂

You must first make it clear that you will be on a lonely road, but there are so many people with you at the same time, and there are constantly new achievements and people appearing that can help you improve, so you are not the same People are fighting, and as long as you can continue to push forward and continue to work hard on a small enough point, I believe that there will be a result that will satisfy you. “Let’s say that you are satisfied. The result of this does not mean that you have to publish a paper of what level, or how many people have to cite it. I think it means whether you have to convince yourself that all of the work you have done is valuable, as long as you think it is The valuable ones are fine.”

Over the centuries of mankind, the biggest driving force of scientific research has actually been the little bit that everyone has explored the truth for themselves and pursued scientific progress, rather than how many people have recognized your work. Needless to say, whether your current work is progressing or not, even if there is progress, future generations will quickly replace or overthrow you, thinking that your idea is a stupid or even wrong idea. But the point is, your biggest gain is that you have moved in the direction you firmly believe, so the motivation is more from the inside than from the outside, “If you rely on the external drive, You may not be able to go far, you can only find your direction from the inside, find your motivation, and you can go far enough

Let me add another very important point, that is, “doing scientific research is not taking pain for pleasure.” It does not mean that doing scientific research must endure hardship. Just like writing code, for example, the teacher assigns you a job. A program that you are very reluctant to write, or that you don’t think it is a challenge, is an engineering code. Anyway, you can write it casually. But conversely, if you can fully dig into the fun, even if it is the fun of debugging bugs, or refactor the code to make the program more fun, if you can fully dig into the fun, In fact, this matter is not bitter. People often ask whether doing research always has to go through a particularly painful process, or whether you have to eat enough bitterness to have the final sweetness. I think it’s misleading to endure a lot of hardship in scientific research, because this process has both bitterness and sweetness. In the same process, you may switch the angle of viewing it, or switch the scene you are in, or switch your goal. In fact, this process can become colorful and interesting.

Let’s take a very simple example, such as data labeling. Everyone has done labeling. When labeling this matter, is it bitter or sweet? If you just think of it as a dull and repetitive work, it is not fun. But if you use snacks in this process, you bring some questions, you bring some understanding of the data and the pursuit of the depth of understanding, to analyze the data, filter the data, and make further effective use of the data. With this kind of thinking, you will find that the more you look, your height will also increase. Such feelings will make the process easier or even more enjoyable. “If you can’t do what you love to do, fall in love with what you do.” In fact, I think this sentence is very appropriate to put it here.

Many of our classmates are always thinking that this may not be my favorite direction, not my favorite job, whether it is in the research direction or in the selection of specific work methods, but often they do not think about it seriously. Think about it, dig into these things you are doing, whether they really attract you. “Sometimes you don’t like it, just because you didn’t really dig it.” Just like when we fall in love, if you don’t get to know a person seriously, you may only fall in love with his first impression. The point that you can really fall in love with a person is actually the various inherent characteristics of him. If you don’t like this thing enough or work not enough, you have to correct your attitude and hope you like it. This is very important. .

Just like the big cows mentioned just now, or the people who have really had influential results, apart from other things, this process must not be a process of finding that little light in the endless darkness. From an outsider’s point of view, it may be like this, because he has been without results, and then suddenly there is results, as if he has found a little light in the dark, “But in fact, there is always such a little light in his heart, he Knowing where that direction is, and the process of finding this direction also makes him feel that every bit of progress makes him happy, and every bit of progress makes him feel excited, so he can persevere and get close to the light.” So I think that the adjustment of mentality, or the attitude towards what you are doing, is not about how others ask you to treat your work. It really is that you only have to think from the bottom of your heart that this thing is worth doing, do you think This is something that allows you to gain something, touches you, or attracts you to keep moving forward. Only those things that can really do well.

If you only do research for completion, or for writing an influential thing, 80% of it cannot be done. If it is done, it may be lucky. Why is it a painstaking research? Outsiders, it seems that you don’t want to do this, it seems very hard, but when you are in it, you actually don’t care about eating and don’t want to sleep. I think this is a good state. “If you have the same opinions as outsiders, you also feel that you are suffering here. I really don’t want to insist on it for a day. I can’t wait to publish it tomorrow and it will be over. I think this will definitely not have a good result. Everything is like this.”

3.Don’t want to do scientific research, what abilities should be cultivated?

SUM:Thinking about who you want to be,and the most important ability of graduate students is self-learning.


These qualities and spirits mentioned by Mr. Chen are very important to a student who is interested in doing scientific research, but at present it seems that most of the students do not have the idea of doing scientific research, such as those in our laboratory. Most of the students will not choose to continue to study for Ph.D. When these students choose the research direction, they may choose some direction that is easier to find a job, instead of choosing a direction that they are really interested in to study, because they The direction of real interest may not be in demand in the industry. If we do not choose to do scientific research, what abilities should we cultivate at the master’s level different from that at the undergraduate level?


First of all, from the final way out, I think everyone has their own direction and choice, or everyone currently has a different view of life and value. I think these are all right. The key is that you have to know how to make yourself become. Better, so I think which abilities you have mastered are secondary. First of all, you have to know what kind of person you want to be. For example, you may prefer to do development, or you just like to do research, or you like to make money, these are no problems, but you have to know what you want to be in order to become such a person in the future. It is directly related, and “I think everyone may have several stages in his life, and each stage may have different pursuits, but you have to be clear about the stage closest to you. The goal of this stage may not be the most ambitious one. Goals, but at this stage, what things or what qualities can help you become the person you want to be”, I think this may be something that everyone needs to think about at the moment.

But in fact, in one sentence, good steel needs to be used on the blade, because it takes such a short time for graduate students, right? “Just like when we play a game, you balance your various ability indicators. On which point do you add your skill points, do you add it to physical strength, defense, or offensive power? This is what you ultimately do. Do you want to be a mage, or do you want to be a warrior.” So you must first know what your future goals are, and then spend the most time now to build the qualities that you feel are most worthy of exercise.

“I think that if you arbitrarily say that you should focus on cultivating a certain ability during the postgraduate period, I think it is irresponsible. You must follow your own direction.” For example, if you want to invest in the future, you need to invest in it. What is the ability? Have a calm attitude, have a broad enough perspective, and have relevant professional knowledge, including the part of knowledge that is combined with your major, such as using machine learning to analyze and predict the stock market, such as how to do projects You should pay more attention to these related projects, and then take a look at these related directions. I think that first of all, you have a sufficiently accurate goal. What you are doing now, as long as you strengthen yourself in that direction, there is nothing wrong with it. Whether you are time management or the ability to learn knowledge, these are actually related to your future goals. In fact, everyone knows what they are learning, what abilities they are increasing, and what abilities they are strengthening.

Sometimes when you don’t know which is more important, the more essential reason may be that you haven’t figured out what kind of person you want to be in the future, so I think if you rely on the enhancement of your current abilities to determine what you will do in the future, I think it would be better if you think about what you want to do in the future, and then optimize what you have to learn now, because according to the first method, it is very likely to be confused, and it is very likely that the use of time is not effective enough. “Just like playing a game, if you don’t know what kind of person you want to be in the future, you may randomly assign these skill points to various abilities, and in the end you will be a person with average abilities.” This is definitely not as good as you. For a future goal, you pile up skill points on an ability. In this ability, you are more than ordinary people, and you can even stand alone. I think this is the best.

From the perspective of general ability, I think “the most important ability of graduate students is actually the ability of self-learning, or lifelong learning.” This is the most important. In the future, even if you change your direction, or change to a different stage, you have a new life goal, you want to cultivate new abilities, you want to learn new knowledge, you need to be fast, and have enough depth To understand a field, I think this ability is very important, and the graduate level may be the last stage of your school. The most important goal of graduate school is to improve your learning ability, so learning must be the most important.

If you say that the second most important thing is endurance, or persistence, or from another perspective, you have to look far enough, and look far enough, you have a long-term and firm goal, and you can stick to it. . If you think the same today and think the same tomorrow, it is not a question of whether you have stamina, but your thinking has changed, and you cannot have stamina. “So you must be firm enough in the medium and long term, so that you at least feel that it is the right direction for this period of time before you can stick to it.” So I think these may be the most important for graduate students.

4.What should I pay attention to when reading a paper?

sum:Reading a paper must first choose to read,and The most important thing to read a paper is to look at the thinking behind it


How to read papers is a common topic. Reading papers must first be selective. If you can’t choose, you should read those relatively influential papers, at least the papers that everyone thinks are good. It should be pretty good. Papers like these top conferences have been reviewed by other reviewers, and they also include some of the latest papers that everyone is generally concerned about. These papers must have its merits, or it is his work. Solid, or his ideas and ideas have merits, of course you have your own research direction, you should learn from some progress in related fields, this is one aspect, but the more important thing is actually to take a look at “others How to analyze and think about the problem.”

On the surface, a paper is a record of a person’s existing work or progress, but when you put a lot of papers together, when you read it again, “In fact, what the author is recording is his current progress in this field. “Thinking about the state and state”, sometimes the value of the paper is not really in how good the method is, but in his understanding of the current problems in this field and the current prospects and challenges, a kind of observation, he He will abstract the existing problems and phenomena and methods he has observed one by one. After the abstraction, he will think about the whole field, for similar methods, and for similar problems. I think this is the most important.

So in fact, the most important thing to read a paper is the thinking behind the author, so I suggest that for many papers, you don’t rush to read its Method first. These things are actually not the most important, but in it. Whether it’s Abstract or Conclusion, some of the thoughts he mentioned in these, “If it simply talks about methods, or just mentions his improvement of indicators, I think this kind of paper does not It may be helpful for your specific tasks, but I don’t think it will be very helpful for you to write a thesis in the future. At most, it is some format reference.

I think the most helpful thing is that it can provide some thinking angles, how to find the problem, how to look at the problem, and from which angle to learn from the previous work experience, and then how to integrate this field Advance the work a little bit, or from which angle to advance, and how to advance it? Is it to advance on the index, or from the perspective of thinking, or go back to the task and the data itself to find some problems in it. I think this should be regarded as a method, or a way of thinking, these things should be the most important. “If you read the paper only to read the structure of the paper, or just read the contribution of the paper, I think it may be difficult to really absorb the inspiration that this paper can bring to you.”

5.I feel that the most valuable part of the paper is Introduction?


Now that I have read a lot of papers, I feel that the most valuable section of the whole paper is Introduction. Does Mr. Chen feel that way?


Yes, because you read a lot of well-written papers, in fact, he has done a lot of work in Introduction. On the one hand, it will also make a relatively comprehensive summary of the progress of the field. Then another one is that Introduction is actually persuading people, or that it needs to attract your attention. Introduction often has a lot of skills, right, it’s not just critique of other people’s work, but it’s obvious. I made some preparations for his later work. These are some technical or technical characteristics, and then another, there are some thinking things, because it is not suitable for the back, so it is often in the Introduction, so These things are often able to bring more inspiration to everyone. So sometimes we often say how to find problems, right? Some people look for problems in his final Future in many papers, but maybe more people can find problems in Introduction. Although the author is paving the way for his own work, he mentioned many methods. , A lot of progress, some existing problems, maybe his method may not be able to solve, “At this time, these methods or these angles, these problems, in fact, leave a space for you.” As I said just now, his analysis and some thoughts on these issues should be the most valuable reference for you.

6.How to choose the research direction?

This should be a matter of historical inheritance


This should be a question of historical inheritance. Because we were doing handwritten Chinese character recognition and image OCR at the earliest, and then the entire laboratory began to do web searches again. At that time, we started to get in touch with NLP. I think one is This was actually a decision made at that stage. At that time, I felt that the text-related processing was more open and possible, because there was no deep network for images at that time. They were all portable features. What about portable features? I feel that there is also a ceiling, and the text feels that the ceiling is not so clear, because there are so many problems to be solved, and at that time, it is like filtering and classification in public opinion, including some sensitive and harmful information. The more you do it, the more you feel that there are still a lot of challenges to be solved, and after some new methods come out, you will obviously see some of its relatively big progress, and then you will become more and more concerned about it. Interested.

If you ask me a question, why choose text and not images? Actually… That’s it. It’s not that I didn’t belong in this field or this circle, but suddenly let me enter this circle and let me choose between text and images. This may be another problem. But as far as I am concerned, it is actually passed down in this way, and just like the issues just mentioned, I feel that when doing this kind of processing of the text,the challenges in it are good, or I Some of the problems that can be solved, the feedback brought to me makes me very happy, so I can always move forward, so in fact, it is still an inner drive that keeps going further and further in this direction.

7.What difficulties did you encounter in the process of scientific research?

SUM:(1)Break down the goal into the next step,(2)really should communicate more with the tutor,(3)express ideas, even if they feel naive


Did you encounter any setbacks or difficulties when you were doing scientific research? Or is there any lesson?


There must be a lesson. In fact, as I said just now, the most important thing is to be clear. I think it is the same whether you are studying for a Ph.D., going to graduate school, or working. Many times you are confused, procrastinated, or feel helpless. Or low, often because you don’t have a specific goal. More precisely, “Do you want to decompose this goal into your next actions?” This is very important. I think if I realize this earlier, there will be less delay and confusion, and the progress will be faster. I think this is actually the biggest feeling during the entire PhD study period, including graduate school, including after graduation.

Then another one is, I think it might be proactive, which of course is related to the goal just mentioned, because your goal is not clear enough, so you don’t have so much thinking and there are not so many problems, so you just There is not such a strong need to communicate with your mentor, so the next point I want to say is, “You really should communicate more with your mentor.” If you don’t take the initiative, others won’t know what you’re thinking or Know what your current problem is, right? So I think that the meaning of communication may be very important is to inspire each other.

Whether it is at the doctoral level or after graduation, every time I discuss it with Mr. Guo, I actually feel that there are some new inspirations. Of course, there are some random ideas that can also inspire Teacher Guo. This process will make you feel very good, and now that I am a mentor, one of my biggest feelings is that sometimes you really don’t have to think too much. Sometimes I feel that the method I think is too simple, or a naive and naive idea, I think I might as well discuss these with the teacher. So when I was a student, I felt that there were many ideas that could be discussed together, “Don’t express yourself or discuss it because you think your ideas may be too simple or naive. This may end up burying a lot of good things. Ideas.” So share and discuss more. Whether it’s with the teacher or with the classmates around you, I think this is also very important, that is, communication. From the inside, you have to clarify your goals and directions. From the outside, you have to be more. Pay attention to communication. On the one hand, there must be a wide range of sources of information. On the other hand, it must be discussed, verified by multiple parties, and inspired by multiple parties.

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