This should have been announced last week. I do not yet have the wrangling of CMPSC 580 completely "down". You will have more notice in future weeks; this is "my bad." (I think I got completely carried away presenting about presentations last Friday.)
On Thursday, I would like for us to discuss three papers, with a primary focus on the first of these three. They are currently linked in from the Readings page. Will has agreed to lead the discussion of the first paper.
The process we will be modeling is that of an academic reading group. If you find yourself in a research group, it is common for there to be an ongoing thread of reading, presenting, and discussing papers. In CMPSC 580, we hope to provide you with some of that experience as well.
Although Will is going to be leading the discussion, I believe that these tips (stolen from here) provide a good strategy for critical reading of a research paper.
Some tips for reading research papers
- Read the paper 3 times.
- First read the abstract, the introduction and the conclusion and look through the references. If the paper is well written, you should now know what problem the authors are addressing, why the problem is important, what the authors solution is, what their solution contributes to the area, and how the authors demonstrate/prove that their solutions works and that it improves on other solutions in some way(s).
- Next read through the entire paper starting with the abstract again. Don't skip over figures, re-read parts that you don't understand. Write down questions you have as you go along.
- Finally, re-read the paper critically. Did the authors do what they said they were going to do? What are the important ideas? (just because an author says something is important doesn't mean it really is) Do their results make sense? Are their methods sound? What assumptions are they making? How does their work fit in with other similar work? What improvements/extensions do they contribute?
- Make an outline of the paper
The idea is to create some organized information about the paper that will help you sort out the details
Highlight the major points of the paper
This can be as detailed as you need it to be
- Create a list of questions
about parts that you don't understand
about parts where you question their solution/proof/methods/results
- List comparisons of this paper to other related work with which you are familiar.
The first paper (by Brooks) foundational. The second is an example of the outcome from a final-year student project exploring Brooks's ideas on a small, mobile robotics platform using a novel programming language. The last paper will be interesting for us to critique, as it reports on a project-in-progress. In terms of focusing your time, your most critical reading should be spent on the Brooks, and the latter two papers should provide fodder for discussion, but should not be the focus of the brunt of your reading.