Improving Your Research Skills
A Mini-Workshop for Graduate Students
Prof. Lui Sha
University of Illinois at Urbana Champagne, USA
March 14th — March 17th, 2006
Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna
RETIS Lab - Area CNR
Via Moruzzi, 1 — 56124 Pisa, Italy
The course is free and can be attended by anyone intersted in the topic.
This is an intense mini workshop. You must be willing to work hard
as a team and openly express your ideas.
To excel in research, you must sharpen your skills in learning and research.
In this course, I want to share with students what I have learned on how to
do research. I have a lasting interest in understanding how we learn, how
we formulate and solve research problems, and how we communicate.
To me, research means re-search: searching again and again in the product space
of problem formulations and solutions until potentially high impact technologies
is found. The efficiency of any search depends greatly on the methods that we
use, no matter the search is for oil under the ground or for new knowledge.
In this mini-workshop, I will share with you my research on research and
Students will learn how to organize teams to create and improve research plans.
The research plan presented in this workshop should have the potential to be
realized. However, students are not required to carry it out unless encouraged
by his/her advisor.
The course will be held at the RETIS Lab of the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna,
Area CNR, Via Moruzzi 1, 56124 Pisa.
The course consists of 4 meetings, of two hours each, from Tuesday,
March 14 to Friday, March 17. Each meeting will be from 15:00 to 17:00.
- Meeting 1:
To excel in research, we must sharpen our skills in positioning
R&D strategically, identifying and formulating high impact problems,
and communicating ideas and results effectively.
- Meeting 2:
Each student gives a 5 min presentation (up to 5 slides) on the
relevant global emerging R&D trends, his/her interests and his/her
strengths. Students are organized into 3 – 4 person study groups
and identify candidate research topics.
- Meeting 3:
Each team presents a chosen research topic along the following
22 min presentation, 8 min questions.
- The trends: How the idea relates to research trends, and key related
works (5 min). You need to have a list of links on at least 10 related
papers or web links.
- The strength and limitations of each member: Does the research plan
formulation optimally uses each member’s talent? (5 min)
- How do you plan to substantiate your claimed enhancement?
- The challenges: What needs to be invented, what is the estimated effort
on analysis/proof and/or estimated efforts on experimentation and
evaluation (5 min).
- Expected impacts and the nature of the impacts (see Elements of
Research Skills) (3 min)
- The candidate conferences/workshops to submit your paper: time
to deadline, acceptance ratio, favorite topics and styles (2 min)
- Rank the proposed topics (2 min)
- Question and answers (8 min)
- Meeting 4:
Discussions on skills to improve research.
Note about the teacher
Lui Sha graduated with a Ph.D. from Carnegie-Mellon University (CMU),
Pittsburgh, PA in 1985. He was a Member and then a Senior Member of
Technical Staff, Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie-Mellon
University; August 1986 to July 1998. He has been a professor of
Computer Science at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,
Urbana, Illinois since 1998. He was the Chair of IEEE Real Time
Systems Technical Committee from 1999-2000, and serves on its
Executive Committee since 2001.
Sha’s work on real-time computing is supported by nearly all the
open standards on real-time computing and was cited as a major
accomplishment in the selected accomplishment section of the 1992
report, “A Broader Agenda for Computer Science and Engineering”,
by the National Academy of Science’s National Research Council
(p.193). He is active in dependable real-time systems and is a
member of National Academy of Science’s study group on software
dependability and certification.
Honors and Awards
- Fellow of the ACM for Contributions to Real Time Systems, 2005.
- Award for Outstanding Technical Contributions and Leadership in
Real-Time Systems, IEEE Technical Committee on Real-Time Systems,
- Fellow of the IEEE, elected in 1998 “for technical leadership and
research contributions which enabled the transformation of real-time
computing practice from an ad hoc process to an engineering process
based on analytic methods.”
- Teachers ranked as excellent by their students, UIUC, 1999 and 2000.
- GE Scholar, Academy for Excellence in Engineering Education, UIUC, 1999.