[Beowulf] Degree

Ellis H. Wilson III ellis at cse.psu.edu
Wed Oct 24 13:25:26 PDT 2012


On 10/24/2012 03:00 PM, Eugen Leitl wrote:
> Not at all, in hard sciences the Ph.D's are all the same.
>
> Of course a Ph.D. in computer science is quite different
> from mandatory Ph.D. and postdoc degrees like in life
> sciences and chemistry.

Feel free to elaborate.  Having worked for two years with PhD students 
and a few advisors in Temple University's Center for Applied Photonics 
Research and now working on my own Comp Sci PhD, I noticed very few 
differences between what those guys did in their day to day and what I 
now do (aside from the dismal comparison where they got to shoot lasers 
all day, while I'm stuck studying how to store a 0 or a 1).

The most notable difference (to me at least) is the frequency of 
publication in CS being extraordinarily high relative to most other 
sciences, particularly in the engineering-leaning areas 
(storage/OS/networking/etc, rather than pure CS theory areas).  I just 
view this as an artifact of the rapidly changing landscape in CS 
compared to other fields, largely in part due to it's relative youth. 
But I wouldn't even allow this difference to call a CS PhD "quite 
different" -- the basic components are all the same from what I can tell 
not having done a physical sciences PhD myself.

Just my (admittedly biased) 2c of course, but I am very interested to be 
corrected here if there are some secret society components to a "hard 
science" PhD I'm unaware of.

Best,

ellis


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