For current DAL Ph.D. students

Preparation of research papers
DAL students actively (and aggressively) participate in writing research papers. Our common venues for publication are data mining, artificial intelligence, and big data conferences and journals (for example, ACM SIGKDD, IEEE ICDM, CIKM, SDM, AAAI, IJCAI). Students are suggested to talk to their Ph.D. advisor well ahead of time for paper submissions. Speaking of well-ahead-ness, no time is ever enough to submit a research paper. Therefore, it is suggested that all students talk to their advisor regularly about submitting papers. Your advisor will be able to give you a significant amount of time and feedback only if you produce the results, at least a month before the deadline. It does not necessarily mean that you will be able to submit if you present the paper to your advisor a month before the deadline. It means that you will have the time to go through the agony of addressing your advisor’s feedback. Your paper will not be blessed by your advisor for a submission unless it goes through this agony.

Attending a conference
Speak with your advisor well ahead of time about funding sources for travel. Funded research projects and graduate school are the sources of travel funding. Planning on time allows you to enjoy early bird registration fee, reasonably priced accommodations, and cheap airfare. Many of the accepted conference papers now-a-days are not published if they are not presented. Check for such conditions, especially for venues outside USA. Keep your passport and I-20 up to date at all times if you are an international student. For international travels, make sure that your visa has not expired for a re-entry. For citizens and permanent residents, keep your passports up to date.

It is suggested that you seek for research-intensive internship opportunities. While your advisor encourages internship to strengthen your research expertise, the act of informing your advisor about internship after you receive the offer may lead to an interrupted research project. You should and must keep your advisor apprised of the entire interview process. Make sure to discuss with your advisor to secure funding for the Fall semester before leaving for Summer internship. Keep in touch with your advisor while you are in the internship program and make sure to submit your camera-readies if your submitted papers get accepted meantime. Make sure to respond to those who take over your project during your absence in the summer.

Agony vs strength
You are pursuing a Ph.D. not because you will get a job afterward that demands less work, rather it is quite the contrary. You are doing a Ph.D. so that you can do more critical tasks with limited or no stress. The bottom line is, a doctorate degree will make you a leader who can handle stressful situations quite easily. A position that requires a Ph.D., either in a company or a research lab, or in an academic environment, demands a leadership role. You need to become an expert in handling stressful situations while you are pursuing a Ph.D. degree not after, especially because you will not get much time to improve your skills after you complete your Ph.D. It is needless to mention that your research has to be robust to build a strong and attractive profile.

DAL professionals believe that professionalism is nothing but common sense. Any act of unprofessionalism cannot be explained by plausible deniability of a common sense matter. Some examples of unprofessional activities are, purchasing a plane ticket for a month long vacation without informing the advisor, letting your advisor know about internship after you receive the offer and not when you are applying, not sharing codes and data with the team, and not informing the advisor while sharing lab resources (code and data) with outsiders. These are just some examples, the bottom line is, your heart (common sense) will definitely tell you what is not a professional act. Trust your instincts and talk to your advisor when your antenna captures something. Be proactive in communicating with your advisor.