Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Status Update

Time to break my silence. Well, time to get around to posting something on my blog. There are several things that have happened since the last time I posted, in no particular order.

We got a paper into AISTATS 2014. Our paper, "A Geometric Algorithm for Scalable Multiple Kernel Learning" that I wrote with Suresh Venkatasubramanian, Avishek Saha, and Parasaran Raman will have a poster at AISTATS in Reykjavik. This is my first big conference paper where I'm "first author" (and also literally the first author, since my last name comes first in the alphabet). I'll post an arXiv version very soon and it will get a link here.

My student coauthors are no longer students. Avishek graduated some time ago and Parasaran graduated in December. Both are now at Yahoo. I'm now the most senior PhD student in the lab and I'm feeling the pressure.

I did an internship at Google last Summer. I may have talked about my age before, but it's no big secret -- I had my 37th birthday while I was at my internship. Since the movie The Internship came out last Summer, I of course got the receiving end of the jokes since I'm not that far behind Vince Vaughn chronologically. I know I'm not really "supposed" to be doing an internship "at my age," but I don't really care because I feel like I made the right decision to reboot my career.
I also did an internship in 2010, and my age kind of made me feel isolated. This time it was different. It was really amusing to talk to the twentysomethings and laugh when I started putting things in perspective for them. I got over the fact that the vast majority a large fraction of PhD students were born in the '90s. They haven't had a chance to feel old when the kids born in 2000 are going to be college freshmen in 5 years. It's delightful to see their reactions.

I didn't just poke fun at the youthful, I also got some work done. My work at Google NYC was in burst detection in topic streams, and it was a lot of fun. My host and I are orbiting around a paper for the work as well.

I interviewed at Google in February for a full-time position. This was my "conversion" interview related to the internship above (to "convert" from an intern to a full-timer). I believe that it went well and I've heard the same from my sources, but I have yet to hear a final decision. Fingers are crossed though.