Tuesday, June 17, 2008

On Being a Tomato

Applied Algorithms Researchers are caught between on one hand their drive to be problem-solvers and theorem-provers, and the other hand, the need to peel away the stated motivation and peer behind it to become familiar with the application. Danger is, they may become a tomato which is neither a fruit nor a vegetable.

ps: I really liked a paper on String Folding, by Mike Paterson and Teresa Przytycka, where the authors show great integrity by resisting the temptation to call it "Protein Folding". Do this mental exercise when you read a paper: replace the affective name for the problem ("finding network anomalies" or "signature" or "suspicious people") by its effective name ("the IP address that sent most traffic" or "most frequently visited websites" or "clique in a communication graph"), and see what ensues.

pps: To those who care, the name Las Ketchup is derived from their father, who is known as El Tomate.


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