Giving Talks

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Some principles about how to give talks.

Heilmeier Catechism


  • What are you trying to do? Articulate your objectives using absolutely no jargon.
  • How is it done today, and what are the limits of current practice?
  • What is new in your approach and why do you think it will be successful?
  • Who cares? If you are successful, what difference will it make?
  • What are the risks?
  • How much will it cost?
  • How long will it take?
  • What are the mid-term and final “exams” to check for success?

Overview and Introduction of Papers

A list of things to look for when critically reading and discussing papers:

  • Give intuition behind the method. What led up to this idea?
  • Selling a paper vs. Giving an unbiased overview
    • Make sure to mention limitations and weaknesses
    • What parts of the problem can still be improved?
    • What problems are still unsolved by the technique?
  • Quality vs. performance
    • If the paper only mentions one, it probably suffers in the other.
    • "A few milliseconds" How many? 5ms? 500ms?
    • "High-resolution" How high? 64x64? 8k?
    • Usually there is a trade-off between quality, performance, and robustness.
      Papers can improve on one, sometimes sacrificing another, but rarely all three.