Sunday, August 15, 2010

Research and Research Topics

First of all, let's answer the question "what is research?"

Well, the answer depends on whom you ask.

Wikipedia: "the search for knowledge, a systematic investigation to establish facts"

Undergraduate student: "what I am going to do, to become rich and famous"

Post doctoral researcher: "what definitely cannot make you rich and famous"

Senior professor: "what everybody thinks that I do while others do that for me"

Like that, research can be defined in many ways. Anyway, let's stick to the Wikipedia answer for now :o)

One more note. We in Computer Science don't count Market Research as research. Most of us think market research is making a report and a slide show to prove your point by collecting only the facts that support it :-p . Market researchers,please forgive us if this is false, for our mistake. Please also forgive us if this is true (for making fun of the truth). In either case, have a good laugh.

So, how we search for new knowledge is by selecting a problem (also called "research topic") that is useful to solve, thinking of new methods to solve it. To test if our methods work, we have to conduct experiments or evaluations of some kind. And we are supposed to publish the results using long passive voice sentences :o)

A research topic cannot be a problem that is too easy to solve and has already been solved. For example, "How to Make a Guy Go Crazy" is not a research topic. This has been solved by many girls, in several ways, and proven it everywhere on the planet under all sorts of conditions. On the other hand, "Keeping a Girl Continuously Happy for 30 Days" is not a recommended research topic. Every guy knows that it is impossible.

Her are some interesting research topics that I found interesting. I am not making these up, you can find them with a Google search:

1. "What do Great Tits Reveal about the Genetics of Personality?"
(well, Great Tits are a type of birds; Sorry if we disappointed you)

2. "Jingle Bells: Solving the Santa Claus Problem in Polyphonic C♯"

3. "Analysis of Breast Motion" (this is how we motivate guys to join grad school, when they can do real jobs and get rich :-p)

4. "Scallop Detection from Sand-Seabed Images for Fishery Investigation" (you tie a webcam to a fishing rod and put it in the sea, then the computer tells you if there are scallops. Just kidding :-p)

Wanna join?


  1. Aha! Some hints why you may've decided to continue your education.

  2. You got me there. Right now, I have a research topic that entitles me the right to search for and look at images on the Internet for as long as I want to :o)

  3. Right, images. I can only imagine. Those guys! ;-) I wonder what your papers are about. Ha.