Materials for Prospective Students
I'm currently working mainly on statistical-relational learning, so an ideal background would be a combination of logic and statistics. It would be great if you knew both what d-separation means and what an Herbrand interpretation is. Or at least what a Bayes net is and how a well-formed formula is defined.
The best research, in my opinion, combines a theoretical foundation with empirical evaluation (simulations) and good scientific writing. I understand that you may have gaps in any, or all, of these areas. After all, you are coming to graduate school because you want to learn and improve. Still, how far we can go in our work together depends on where we start. So if you send me material about yourself, please include the following.
- The hardest proof you've ever done. Original research is best, but even a course assignment is informative. If you haven't done any hard proofs, just note that. If you have more than one, just pick one. I can always ask for more.
- The best English you've written. Preferably scientific English but other kinds of prose are fine. Or even poetry.
- The best code you've written. Any common programming language is fine. A brief explanation of what the program is supposed to do (input-output) would be helpful. Please don't spend your valuable time explaining it in detail, I just want to see what
you've done already. Hopefully the comments and documentation you wrote when you produced the code will explain it well enough.
- I would also appreciate a brief statement about your motivation. Sometimes the motivation is just that you find research fascinating and want to spend time doing it. However, in my experience students often have more specific career goals, for example: I want to get into a Ph.D. program, obtain a faculty position, gain a teaching position, go into industry but not into development etc.