A few of my favorite things

These are a few of my favorite papers and books, as general references for me and my students... as researchers, writers, and reviewers. And, some useful career advice as well!
-- David Kotz

I really like Mike Locasto's page about what it takes to be a good grad student, and links to other resources. I also admire David Evans' Advice for Prospective Research Students. Also useful is Nick Feamster's Great Research blog.

You can also grab the BibTeX file.

Experimental technique

Vern Paxson. Strategies for sound internet measurement. In Proceedings of the Internet Measurement Conference, Taormina, Sicily, Italy, October 2004. An excellent paper, worthy of reading by all experimentalists, especially those that conduct measurements.

Edward R. Tufte. The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Graphics Press, 1983. Still the best book about visualizing data.

Edward R. Tufte. Envisioning Information. Graphics Press, 1991. Not quite as relevant to researchers.

Writing and reviewing

The writing guidelines I provide my students, including some general references about writing.

Elizabeth Jakob, Adam Porter, Jeffrey Podos, Barry Braun, Norman Johnson, and Stephen Vessey. How to Fail in Grant Writing, Chronicle of Higher Education, 5 December 2010.

David Kotz. How not to write a MobiSys paper.

Roy Levin and David D. Redell. An evaluation of the ninth SOSP submissions; or, how (and how not) to write a good systems paper. ACM Operating Systems Review, 17(3):35-40, July 1983. Still a must-read for anyone writing a systems paper.

Michael Ernst. Choosing a venue: conference or journal?. Online.

Peter Gutmann Common Problems with Conference/Journal Papers. Online.

Alan Jay Smith. The task of the referee. IEEE Computer, 23(4):65-71, April 1990. Read this before you review conference or journal papers.

Harold S. Stone. Copyrights and author responsibilities. IEEE Computer, 25(12):47-51, December 1992. Useful explanations and advice about copyright law and about what you can and cannot use in your scientific papers.

Should you review papers for journals from for-profit publishers? Complicated question. Read this Chronicle editorial.


Patrick Winston. How to speak: Lecture tips from Patrick Winston. Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, Harvard University. Vimeo. A great resource for learning how to give a good talk.

PhD Comics on "your conference presentation"


Job search: Edward D. Lazowska, The Ph.D. Job Hunt - Helping Students Find the Right Positions

CV preparation: Julie Miller Vick and Jennifer S. Furlong, The CV Doctor is Back: a brief discussion of how to prepare a successful academic (or non-academic) c.v.

Job interview: Show them you really want the job -- advice on how to interview effectively for a faculty position.

Graduate school: Marie desJardins, How to Succeed in Graduate School: A Guide for Students and Advisors (Part 1), (Part 2). ACM Crossroads Magazine, Volume 1 number 2 (Winter 1994) and number 3 (Spring 1995).

Graduate school: Karen Kelsky, Graduate School Is a Means to a Job, March 2012. Skewed toward academic careers, and maybe less oriented toward the sciences than would be relevant to my students, but still some good stuff here.

Research career: David A. Patterson, How to have a bad career in research/academia, 2001. Originally presentated at OSDI, October 1994. Funny and informative.
See the video version presented at Google in 2016.

Industry lab career: John Wilkes, Is work hell? life in industrial research. Technical Report HPL-SSP-97-1, HP Laboratories, January 1997. Slides for a presentation at CMU's `emigration course'. A great complement to Patterson's lecture.

Tenure: Getting-- and not getting-- tenure -- An excellent series of articles.

Corporate research: Google's Hybrid Approach to Research

Advising: David A. Patterson, Viewpoint: Your students are your legacy. Communications of the ACM, 52(3):30--33, March 2009, DOI 10.1145/1467247.1467259.

Advising: Jeffrey D. Ullman, Viewpoint: Advising students for success. Communications of the ACM, 52(3):34--37, March 2009, DOI 10.1145/1467247.1467260.

Other stuff

John Ousterhout's favorite sayings