We'll be holding a panel discussion on Friday Jan 31, 1:30 to 2:30 pm in Room 32-124.

Research, LEGO™s and some glue, just in case.

Well-designed engineering systems are typically built out of simpler subsystems designed with extensibility and modularity in mind. To what extent could (and should) we apply these principles to our research? After all, even theory-building for the purpose of analysis can be viewed as a problem of design.

What are the design principles for producing research that interfaces well with other people's work, and is more likely to be reused and built upon? At a more personal level, how might we organize our own thoughts and research processes in a way that also builds insight in a flexible, modular way? How might experienced researchers teach these things to research students? What approaches seem to work? What tends to fail spectacularly?

On the other hand what are the limitations of working (or aspiring to work) in this way? Does it disincentivise tearing up the foundations (either of an entire field or of one's own thinking) and starting again, or does it make it clearer when such action is necessary?

The panel will be moderated by Prof. Pablo Parrilo, and composed of: