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Happy 2019

Happy Summer and congratulations to all Stanford graduates. I look forward to several work related and personal trips

this summer and catching up with my research collaborators and my colleagues in Earth Sciences. And, we are getting

ready for WiDS 2020, our fifth global Women in Data Science conference, and the second season of the WiDS podcast.


WZZN: No, you cannot optimize life

This week I met with recently admitted graduate students. We talked about research, the various programs on campus, and choices. These students are really lucky: they have more than enough choices for graduate school. You would think that in a situation like that, the students are very relaxed. What can possibly go wrong if you have the opportunity to not just study at one good school, but multiple. But no, there is significant stress amongst them because of one misconception, the misconception that life can be optimized. 

WZZN: First quarter jitters

We are 3 weeks into the new quarter and around me there are plenty students with a severe case of the first quarter jitters. These are affecting more students this year than before, I have noticed. Probably to do with the feeling of discomfort and anxiety around the heartbreaking events of the last three weeks: Puerto Rico, Las Vegas and the Wine Country fires that are pretty close to home (for example, one of our MS students is a fireman in Sebastopol and has been on duty this last week). 

WZZN: So you aspire to be a grad student at Stanford

In my dreams, we (at ICME and partner departments) can accommodate all passionate and dedicated students who are interested in studying with us. Alas, the admissions rate is small. So, what is a prospective graduate student to do to increase his/her chances of getting accepted? Quora is full of questions like this, and if you are such a prospective student I recommend that you spend a bit of time exploring answers there, as not all graduate programs are organized in the same way. 


WZZN: In search for the perfect PhD and advisor - Do's and Don'ts

(ps although some of this blog is applicable to prospective students also, the advice re finding the actual advisor is tailored to graduate students already on campus)

This blog is about the search for the perfect advisor who gives you the perfect project that will revolutionize your field and launch your illustrious academic career.  If only.


WZZN: Designed it? Now try to break it

For years, friends of mine and I have joked about creating a new "Journal of Failed Approaches" in computing or modeling. We should really do that. Currently, journal papers rarely report shortcomings of (new) algorithms and models, and there is a great reluctance to publish negative results. This is a real bummer. If wrong tangents, failed approaches and misconceptions are not openly and frequently discussed, the same mistakes are repeated again and again by researchers/students entering the field.


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