The Secret Lives of Millennial CS Assistant Professors (Part 1)

Tandem paragliding at Torrey Pines over the gorgeous beaches of La Jolla. Yes, that is me in the front. :)
Slide from an overview talk about my research “The New DBfication of ML/AI”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8OUnzgfkWY

Lesson: Freedom of problem selection is one of the most important differentiators of academic life. Use it prudently. Balance exploratory and exploitative work. Stay aware of the state of practice. Weigh potential for impact.

Salient statistics on my proposal submissions from my blog post “On Rejections in Academia”: https://thedatadossier.blogspot.com/2021/05/on-rejections-in-academia_2.html

Lesson: Most reviewer feedback, including negative feedback, will be helpful in some way. Get some distance first. Then keep improving with humility. Volunteer to review NSF proposals as soon as you start as Asst Prof.

Slide from an overview talk on Project Cerebro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERKyvLT4Wik

Lesson: Choose collaborations carefully based on relevance, impact potential, enjoyability, time, and funding. Learn to say no well. Kill projects as needed.

Huge thank you to all these sponsors of my group’s research! Thank you also to my past research sponsors: Opera Solutions, NVIDIA, and the Hellman Foundation.

Lesson: The CS field is fortunate to have a large and innovative industry. Pursue relevant industry funding and collaborations to amplify research impact.

Follow me on Twitter @TweetAtAKK if you do not already. :)

Lesson: Research conferences are just one dissemination avenue. Leverage social media, blogging, and industry visits/conferences to raise your work’s visibility.

Salient statistics on my paper submissions from my blog post “On Rejections in Academia”: https://thedatadossier.blogspot.com/2021/05/on-rejections-in-academia_2.html
Welcome to the era of the bloated ML/AI/cloud whales! A slide from my talk at the KDD’21 Deep Learning Day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UP9__WsfSuc Enjoy the memes and limericks! :)
Thankfully I do not need to be a DeWitt because the ML/AI industry does not seem to have an Ellison. :) Read the fun story here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_DeWitt

Lesson: Freedom of speech is integral to academic freedom. Use it prudently to improve research, practice, and community. Go beyond reviewing for service.

At the inaugural SoCal DB Day in Fall 2018: https://sites.google.com/eng.ucsd.edu/socaldb18 We had DB folks from 6 SoCal schools — UC San Diego, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, and USC — and from 6 companies with DB area presence in SoCal— Amazon, Couchbase, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, and Teradata .

Lesson: Grow your research group prudently over time, governed by funding and project rationales. Use a high bar to avoid needing to let advisees go later.

With some of my research advisees (and our spouses) at a farewell dinner in La Jolla for some of the students.

Lesson: Students are not paper-producing machines. While productivity does matter, an advisor must go beyond that to respect and train holistic individuals.

Some junior faculty of CSE (and one spouse) at the quarterly drinks/dinner on campus in Fall 2018.

Lesson: They say it takes a village to raise a child. Asst Profs are similar. Choose a nurturing department. Lean on your colleagues. Form diverse support networks.

The Database Lab contingent at ACM SIGMOD 2019 in Amsterdam. With 6 research papers, UCSD was tied with Wisconsin as the largest academic DB group in the research proceedings that year! Blog post on our papers and more: https://adalabucsd.github.io/research-blog/research/2019/06/23/sigmod2019.html

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