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Dear Every Computer Science Department Ever... - Lindsey Kuper [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Lindsey Kuper

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Dear Every Computer Science Department Ever... [Aug. 19th, 2006|01:02 am]
Lindsey Kuper
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Argh. I don't want to sequence DNA and I don't want to build robots. I just want to move symbols around on pieces of paper. In fact, most of the time I'm content to just think a lot about what would happen if I were to move symbols around on pieces of paper.

That's what I want to do: think about symbols. Is that so weird? Where is everyone hiding the Thinkin' About Symbols group? I guess maybe their stuff doesn't photograph so well.

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: cerulicante
2006-08-19 02:30 pm (UTC)
I don't like sequencing DNA either. That's why I pay other people to do it.

We think about symbols, too, but mostly chemical ones. Microbial biochemistry is a pain in the ass. I hope your symbols are easier to fiddle with than ours.
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[User Picture]From: cerulicante
2006-08-19 02:31 pm (UTC)
But those people keep asking you for an application because theory doesn't equal funding unless it can be directly applied. If it has no commercial value, it's a lot harder to get money.

Make up a reason. It's OK to change it when you get there, but if you can't impress upon people your desire to do science that can be turned into cash, it hurts your chances of finding a prof.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-08-19 07:24 pm (UTC)
You're right, of course -- and I'm mostly being facetious, and I've actually found a number of places whose research seems right up my alley.

It's just that, looking around at these places, it sometimes seems like the same conversation took place at all of them: "Gosh, our website here at the Center for Cognitive Knowing and Computational Reckoning just isn't very appealing. What do we do?" "We need more pictures of robots and DNA. Lots and lots more pictures of robots and DNA!"
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[User Picture]From: cerulicante
2006-08-20 03:42 am (UTC)
It's probably the cheapest clip art you can find at the stock photo collections...plus, it's immediately labeled as "cool" instead of "what the hell are those crazy symbols?"


It's the same reason why only the best-looking EMs make the cover of microbiology journals.
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[User Picture]From: glowing_fish
2006-08-19 03:21 pm (UTC)
At Free Geek, we have robot DNA. Lots and lots of robot DNA.
I suppose since it combines two things you don't care about, playing with robot DNA is not your thing?
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[User Picture]From: dan_o_m
2006-08-19 07:15 pm (UTC)
If I may wax pseudo-philosophical....

Our lives are full of symbols. Language is comprised of symbols. So are our stories and art. From one perspective, wouldn't AI involve highly complex symbol manipulation, as a way to mimic (though not actually create) thinking and creativity?
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-08-19 07:30 pm (UTC)
wouldn't AI involve highly complex symbol manipulation

Definitely. And, in fact, the robot-building and DNA-sequencing people do a whole lot of that. It's just a matter of knowing where to look for it, I guess.
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[User Picture]From: cerulicante
2006-08-20 03:41 am (UTC)
Help build a robot that dances and call that dance the "human."
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-08-21 03:54 am (UTC)
I love you guys.
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[User Picture]From: leadsynth
2006-08-20 02:04 am (UTC)
I think you should build a robot that moves symbols around on pieces of paper.
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[User Picture]From: necromagus
2006-08-20 10:28 pm (UTC)

You should come to UCSB and hang with me

I am most likely going to UCSB and getting a PhD in CS.

Plus it looks like they have got what you want.

http://www.cs.ucsb.edu/research/
http://www.cs.ucsb.edu/~bultan/vlab/

but be aware, most people I talk to tell me that getting funding for Theory side of things is very hard.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-08-21 12:39 am (UTC)

Re: You should come to UCSB and hang with me

I am most likely going to UCSB and getting a PhD in CS.

No way! What happened to physics?
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[User Picture]From: necromagus
2006-08-21 06:14 pm (UTC)

Re: You should come to UCSB and hang with me

I am both Physicist and Computer Scientist, I have to satisfy both parts of my personality. This group:
http://www.cse.ucsb.edu/
does that. I'll still be doing mostly physics type work, I'll just be taking CS classes, and end up with a CS PhD.

Santa Barbara is a great place, and their CS program is really awesome. You should definitely check it out.
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