Tutorial: Reading

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Why reading is important

  • Find interesting problems.
  • Know the literature.
  • Learn methodologies.

Challenges for amateur readers

  • Lack of background fundamentals.
  • Dive too deep into details.
  • Lose focus.
  • - Too many papers.
  • - Treat all materials as equally important.
  • Lack of critical thinking.

Tip #1: What-why-how

Follow the logic flow, and go directly to the target part.

Tip #2: Top-down

  • Overview -> Details

Most papers are written following the ``Overview-details policy. One can skip details and grasp the skeleton of the paper.

  • Claims -> Reasons

First claim, then reasons. If you have doubts about a claim, usually, you can continue to the following explanation. If a claim is intuitive and reasonable, you may stip the explanations.

Tip #3: Problem-driven

A good paper is organized with intuitive problems. It is a journey of solving problems, instead of introducing endless points.

  • Motivation: Why the problem is important and challenging
  • Aim/Goal: What is the paper's main goal and the rough idea to address the challenges.
  • Solutions: Details to implement the proposed idea.

Understand the examples

If a detailed example is used in the paper, try to fully understand that example. That would save a lot of time understanding the soul of the paper.

Critical thinking: questions while reading

  • Is the problem really important and necessary?
  • Do the challenges/assumptions hold? Why existing works cannot handle it.
  • Are the problems really solved by the proposal.
  • Do the reasons presented explain the observation/problem statment.