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Anti-Disciplinary: doing a PhD when you like too many things

B6ff5f798c18a3367b2770aa3ada0730?s=47 Chris
September 03, 2017

Anti-Disciplinary: doing a PhD when you like too many things

PLMW 2017 keynote



September 03, 2017

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  1. anti-disciplinary doing a PhD when you like too many things

    Chris Martens PLMW 2017 Oxford, UK
  2. about me • Assistant professor (UK equiv: lecturer) at 

    North Carolina State University • Postdoc UC Santa Cruz, 
 Expressive Intelligence Studio • PhD CMU, Principles of Programming Group
  3. about me, real talk • went to grad school thinking

    i only liked theory, no applications • assumed i probably wouldn’t finish • couldn’t stop playing with logic-based encodings of interactive fiction games, you know, for fun • turned it into a thesis, graduated, got a tenure- track job
  4. about you • PhD, BS, masters, industry?

  5. about you • 1st academic conference?

  6. about you • 1st academic conference? • Giving a talk?

    • …for the first time?
  7. about you you’re in a beautiful city with fellow nerds

    relax and enjoy your time! 
 take down time if you need it.
  8. how many of you have felt like…. You can’t decide

    on a thesis topic because too many things are interesting?
  9. how many of you have felt like…. You can’t decide

    on a thesis topic because too many things are interesting? Or, you’re not quite sure if [name of your department] totally describes the thing(s) you want to focus on?
  10. my research computational narrative
 procedural generation
 programming language

 formal methods (algebra, logic)
 game design
  11. my lab

  12. research my thesis: Ceptre, a linear logic programming language that

    I showed could be used for modeling interactive narratives my 1st PhD student’s project: using epistemic modal logic to codify how agents’ beliefs and meta-beliefs inform their goal-directed actions
  13. research undergrad projects: * creating an executable model (in Ceptre)

    of how group conversation works based on sociolinguistic theories * modeling the mechanics of Minecraft and showing how the achievement tree can be algorithmically derived from their structure
  14. research active projects: * Villanelle, a framework that aims to

    democratize AI for narrative designers, enable them to create virtual worlds with autonomous agents * Using linear logic programming for mathematical models of biological systems (w/Belinda Akpa)
  15. research fields that currently or aspirationally inform my research: -

    visual narrative theory (comics, film)
 - cognitive science
 - systems biology
 - linguistics
 - sociology
 - history
 - theater
 - category theory
  16. too many things! hard to fit into disciplinary boundaries

  17. in search of a label computational creativity? human-computer interaction? (they

    want human subjects eval, not proofs)
  18. in search of a label PL? formal methods? (more concerned

    with the minutiae of programs than in what they are enabling)
  19. in search of a label AI? (synonymous with machine learning

    in most people’s minds; ambiguous connotations)
  20. anti-disciplinary a phrase I stole from Golan Levin (CMU) who

    stole it from the MIT Media Lab i think
  21. anti-disciplinary not combining 2+ disciplines but lying outside of discipline

    boundaries entirely overlapping or containing other “established” disciplines
  22. anti-disciplinary who winds up here? anecdotally:
 often people who already

    feel like outsiders in traditional disciplines (women, URMs, LGBT+)
  23. identify your values some of mine: * basic research *

    fields outside of CS (and STEM) have valid and valuable research methodologies
  24. what’s worked out so far 1. LUCK: the US job

    market was really bullish for digital games research when i entered it 2. PEOPLE: i’ve found kind, inspiring collaborators & mentors who helped me out a lot 3. INTEREST: students flock to my lab; lots of public interest (i.e. Twitter) in my work; people know to ping me if logic/PL + creativity comes up
  25. what’s still hard 1. what grants to apply for? what

    conferences do i submit to? (ALL OF THEM) 2. is it even fundable? 2. where are like-minded collaborators? 3. language barriers: identifying connections between fields means having to explain yourself 2+ times in different ways
  26. Q&A / discussion Chris Martens
 http://go.ncsu.edu/martens twitter: @chrisamaphone