Well it happened, the date for my qualifying exam has been set. I’m nervous, I’m excited, I’m mostly just anxious to get it done. Quite frankly I’m exhausted, so it will be nice to get one thing off my to-do list. Let’s look at how I need to get ready.
I don’t normally leave my computer on 24 hours a day, but it has been hard a work, so it hasn’t been off in days. Training a model can take some time, as I am finding out and while I’ve made progress on the resulting model, it’s still not where I want it. Let’s talk about what has been going on.
I’ll let you in on a secret, I’ve been doing science outreach on a regular basis for the past 3-4 years now. Specifically with Skype a scientist I’ve volunteered every term since it was pretty much first started. My secret, if not horribly kept, is this… I am ALWAYS nervous to give my talk. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it and let me explain why.
There I was patiently waiting for my data to finish being processed, an hour, two, time kept moving as did the little animation letting me know that the algorithm was still doing its thing. Then it was done, I had a new, more complete model and it was glorious… until it wasn’t.
Today is going to be a long day. I’m training a model using some data I’ve collected. Now, depending on your background that sentence either meant something to you or was complete gibberish. In either case, let’s talk about what I’m doing, even though I can’t get into specifics about my data.
I have funding for an experiment. Well let me rephrase, I’ve had funding for an experiment. It’s new, it’s exciting, it’s everything I wanted it to be… but there is a catch. My PI and I don’t see eye to eye regarding the experimental protocol. It’s not a matter of a fledgling PhD student thinking he knows better, he is well know for losing sight of the big picture in favor of collecting as much data as he possibly can.
As promised from last post, I have an update regarding my QE. This will be brief, but there are a few final things I need to get done before I can do my presentation so let’s talk about that!
It never occured to me that this was unique to the American higher education system. However, when I was having a conversation with an overseas collaborator at the Bristol Robotics Lab in the UK, I got a confused response when I mentioned I was getting ready to do my qualifier.
Well it looks like it’s another day without a post, don’t worry I’m not making it a habit, but I’ve had some personal issues come up today that I needed to deal with. Not to worry though, I’ll be back at it tomorrow.
Until next time, don’t stop learning!
Today is going to be a busy one. Not for me exactly, but my computer will be busy cracking away at the code I wrote. Unfortunately it takes FOREVER to run, but it got me thinking about MATLAB and how we write code for everything. More to the point, it got me thinking about how I organize my files.
Getting a PhD is a weird process. Sometimes it seems like everything is falling apart and somehow (hopefully) it comes together in the end. To that point, in an academic setting, deadlines tend to group together. For instance I have not one, not two, not three, not even four, but five deadlines coming up back to back. Today, let’s talk about why that is in my case.
You don’t want to do it. I don’t blame you, I wouldn’t want to do it either. So what do you do when the work is piling up and the weight of things in your to do box is so massive that you feel like you can’t move? Well first, remember you’re not alone. Next, …well that depends on you.
Today is Halloween, my favorite holiday! I don’t usually do anything too spectacular for the day, it’s more of an excuse to binge horror movies and enjoy the halloween candy I bought. In the spirit of halloween, I don’t plan on posting anything major today. We can get into it tomorrow, but as I’ve mentioned over the course of the last 72 days, taking a break can be a good thing.
If you are looking for a ghoulish reading treat, I recommend my yearly post on the REAL zombies of nature! Be warned, it’s not for the squeamish, that’s for sure! In lieu of my usual sign off, let’s just say
Fun fact, no one ever enjoyed sending an email. Least of all an email to someone you’ve never met, not just an email, a cold email. In the spirit of halloween, let’s talk about the scariest thing I can think of outside of the horror of finding no significance in your data.
A quick update since I have a lot of work going on today. Originally, I has some outreach planned for the day, but that had to be rescheduled. I also had a very thorough review of my qualifying exam project with some very exciting results. Once I reschedule for the actual QE, I’ll talk more about that research, but I typically devote an hour or more to writing these posts and I cannot do that today. I anticipated this though and even included it in my original post, in any case, I have another Skype a scientist session scheduled for tomorrow, but I should have more time to devote to the blog after (or maybe before, who knows).
Until next time, don’t stop learning!
Some days I feel zero motivation to do anything. Usually I indulge those feelings because if I don’t it won’t go away, more importantly if I don’t then I sit in front of a computer/book/etc. and get almost zero accomplished. Frankly, I think trying to power through the feeling and get work done just isn’t healthy and experience has shown it does absolutely nothing for me. This brings me to the topic of the day, goal setting!
This week we’ve taken a break from the math (well statistics if we want to be exact) and have looked at some of the other things that go on when doing your PhD. Tomorrow we (may) get back to the concepts, but today let’s talk about the perfect daily routine.
All work and no play… well you know how the saying goes. Here in the US we have this mindset where it’s work all day every day. That is probably one of the reasons we have such high rates of depression (we as in people pursuing a PhD). Sure one of my hobbies is blogging, I enjoy it and it is a great way to review the things I’ve been learning, but I have others and today I think we should talk about why that is important. (more…)
I figure we can finish out the week by talking about yet another project that doesn’t involve my research. I’m a student chair for a workshop for neurotech entrepreneurs. Fun fact: I’ve never done this before. Yep, there has to be a first time for everything you do and this will be my first time attempting to run one of these things. Let’s talk about what that looks like. (more…)
It has been a busy week, as you’ve seen I’ve had not one, but two Skype a scientist sessions in one day, then we did some outreach with some local 4th graders, yesterday I even posted photos of the event. Yesterday I also had a conference call to help set up an event that I’m helping run for neurotech entrepreneurs. If you follow me on twitter, you know I’ve pushed people to apply for it. So let’s talk about what I’ve got going on today!
As you may have seen, yesterday we had our lab tour group come through. So today I just wanted to share a few photos from the time they had with us, it was a lot of fun and hopefully we inspired a few kids!
When doing your advanced degrees (Masters or PhD) you end up with a lot of different responsibilities that have nothing to do with your education. That isn’t to say that it isn’t an important thing or that I hate doing it, you just don’t learn anything with regard to your study subject. Today is one of those days, let’s talk about it.
Today is Skype a Scientist day! Every term I volunteer my time and try to explain my journey, my research, and my pitfalls with students all over the US. Technically this is my second session (of six!) this term, but I wanted to talk about why I do what I do today. So if you’re interested in what it’s all about, keep reading.
Like we did with question 1, this will be the solution to the question we posed in the last post, if you haven’t tried to solve it yet, go give it a shot. If you have and are dying to check your answer, then let’s look at the solution.*
For those of you who have been following along, today we are going to post another question and in the next post we will give the solution. This will be another two random variable question and we’ve covered everything you need to solve it in our previous posts. So with that, let’s get to today’s question.*
Hopefully if you’re reading this you saw our last post, where we gave the question we will solve today. If you haven’t had a chance to try and solve it, please feel free to stop and give it a shot. If you’re ready to see how we solve it, then let’s get started.*
Well now that we’ve had a minute to take a breath, let’s try out something new. In this post I will give the question and in the next post we can work out the answer. For those of you playing at home, this will be a good way to check your knowledge and for me, it will give the the chance to do the same.*
We will pick back up tomorrow most likely. Today however is one of those much needed rest days. Don’t worry, we’re still going to get into it, just not today.
Until next time, don’t stop learning!
A brief word, since I don’t have time for a full post today. If/when you start down the path towards your PhD or Masters, remember that you need to balance work and life. That isn’t to say you need to find a super exciting hobby, more like you need to unwind every once and awhile. There is a lot of burnout in academia, students often find themselves overwhelmed and have a higher rate of depression than the average public. It’s okay to need help, it’s okay to say you cannot do something, and most importantly, it is okay to take time for yourself.
Okay quick example, still not super difficult, but one we can work out to a complete solution. We’ve gone over a few examples now, but we’re going to go over a few more for both my benefit and yours. So let’s dive in.*
Well our last post we took a break and talked zombies! While I would love to do a whole month of halloween topics, this year is not the time, maybe next year. In any case today we are going to go over another example of a single function of two random variables. This is going to be slightly more complex than our first example, however it won’t be extremely complex (we’re working towards it). So let’s take a look shall we?*
Time for a break from stochastic processes, at least for the moment. Every year here we update and post our favorite Halloween tradition! So today we bring you the science fact and fiction behind the undead. Zombies, those brain loving little things are everywhere. Sure, we are all familiar with the classic zombie, but did you know that we aren’t the only zombie lovers out there? It turns out that nature has its own special types of zombies, but this isn’t a science fiction movie, this is science fact! Sometimes fact can be scarier than fiction, so let’s dive in. Let’s talk zombies.
Hopefully at this point we’ve demystified more than just a few concepts at this point. Today we are going to look at one function of two random variables. Originally I was going to break into a joint CDF example that involved dependent variables, but it turns out my book doesn’t cover that! Oops, guess I should’ve read ahead. In any case let’s talk functions!*
Well here we are again, today we are talking functions of two random variables. If you’re looking for the beginning, this isn’t it, but you can read the introduction here. If you’ve kept up, then you’re ready to go over the example we have today, so let’s get started.*
As promised, today we are going to talk about two random variables that are not independent. This means that the individual probabilities don’t sum to be equal to the joint probability (like they did yesterday). Like our normal CDF, we can find a CDF for two random variables, but let’s take a look at how this works.*
I was debating about not posting anything today. It’s been a bit rough for me these past few days. However, I’m going to write a little something today and tomorrow to introduce two random variables (so we don’t skip a day). This is going to be a lot like our single random variable examples, but (of course) more complex, let’s take a look at what I mean.*
Well maybe yesterday was confusing, maybe it wasn’t. In any case, today should clarify some things for you if you are confused and should make things more clear if you are not. Today we are going to go over a quick example of what a function involving one random variable looks like. Now you may notice I keep saying one, that’s because you can technically have as many variables as you want, but since this is fairy complex stuff, let’s just stick with the one for now.*
Now that we’ve looked at conditional probabilities we can talk about other things we can do with random variables. If you’ve been keeping up with us so far, then this shouldn’t be too crazy of an idea, really all we are going to do today is take a random variable and transform it somehow. Interested? Let’s go!*
Up to now we’ve been dealing with single variable pdf and the corresponding CDF. We said that these probabilities relied on the fact that our variable of interest was independent. However, what if we knew some property that impacted our probability? Today we are talking conditional probability and that is the question we will be answering. It’s going to be a long, long post so plan accordingly.*
Maybe we shouldn’t phrase it this way, since there is still quite a few days left of 365DoA, but you made it to the end! No, not THE end, but if you’ve been following along the past few posts we’ve introduced several seemingly disparate concepts and said, “don’t worry they are related,” without telling you how. Well today, like a magician showing you how to pull a rabbit from a hat, let’s connect the dots and explain why we introduced all those concepts!*