Saturday April 16th

Incredibly busy week

This week was insane

  • I am up after midnight because of a wave of stress for things I have to get done, but I’m chipping away at things slowly. I am making progress is all I can celebrate for now.
  • This upcoming week isn’t too bad, but some things are due in the next few days and there is still the stress of getting things in on time. So most of this week was my retreating silently and just being around so I could either rest in the afternoon to get up late and work on things or not being around so I could work on things. I was supposed to meet up with a handful of persons, but I was only able to do so with a fraction of that group of individuals this week. There are other things that just need to get done with higher priority right now. I did catch up with a PhD graduate friend (who lives in the Bay) on Monday evening and it was so worth it for the perspective. Most of these people are managers or doing their own thing, so it’s nice to see what that looks like after grad school.
  • This week, I spoke to quite a few individuals who manage several teams. It’s fascinating because often, we think of managers as either being in charge of one group of people, or being in charge of a branch of a tree hierarchy of people, rather than several branches or groups of people. So their process for managing has to be scalable, and they certainly cannot (at this stage) afford to micromanage. At the same time, they have to be aware of what is going on on their teams in a way that doesn’t lead to a breakdown by the time issues come up. So they also have to be aware of employee happiness or dissatisfaction, productivity, while keeping sight of the big picture. I was listening to a host this week on a podcast who said that what many persons refer to as businesses are in fact side hustles, because they don’t have employees (besides the person who claims they run a business), and a real business is scalable. Regardless of whether or not you agree, I think the idea of scalability of managing is super interesting. Many engineers who “manage(r)-up” in tech can barely manage a single employee (laughs in agile).
  • This week I learned a bit about the Research Scientist recruitment process (for full-time) at one industrial lab from a mentor (who is also a manager at a different FAANG and manages several teams: so scalability came up again and by definition their bar for hiring must be high for things to work). If there was ever a way to heighten one’s stress level, this helped, is all I can say. I wish more persons had access to this knowledge because wow, are so many students at schools unprepared for the reality of the market. It’s interesting that one thing that used to bounce around as an Academic joke before I started grad school was that if things didn’t work out, one could “get a job at (insert FAANG company name)”. Now, I think about how that is kind of silly. Competitive places take work to get into, full-stop. It doesn’t matter if you think it’s easy, if you don’t clear the bar, you will not get an offer. There is also a bit of luck involved in these processes, too; sometimes you just get a trash interviewer, or maybe someone switched their coffee for decaf.
  • One of the things my mentor also spoke about was the cost of a bad hire, and how long it takes to exit an employee at a large company, because of labour laws. They also spoke about how they have to sign off on the hire of an employee, which goes to the VP, so they often err on the side of someone who is well-qualified, because if it goes all the way to the VP and they start asking a lot of questions about the quality of the hire and their qualifications, it can be a ding on a manager’s own reputation. It’s fascinating thinking about the context of what this means for “risky” hires or non-traditional hires, too. What sort of other metrics and measures of risk that correlate to success can be used? Do companies internally measure this with their own data? And what sort of metrics might be anticorrelated?
  • I’m trying out one of those pillow spray things, which has done wonders for my ability to get restful sleep. In the past, it’s been pretty rough.
  • Yoga saved my neck this week; I would have tipped over easily this week and crashed and burned if I didn’t stick to practising during the week.
  • I am going to a conference next weekend (yes, it’s a Pure Maths one)! I will try to post a photo or two of my time there. It should be very fun!!

Stuff we covered this week:

  • Algebra: Primary Decomposition, Colon Ideals
  • Random Prob Graphs: Lovasz Local Lemma (started working on homework for this tonight)
  • Number Theory: Continued Fractions
  • Elliptic Curves: Lattices, Eisenstein Series, beginning Modular Forms soon!
  • Combinatorics Seminar: Higher Categorical Associahedra, Parenthesization of words (bracketing), 2-associahedra, Loday Associahedron, creating fans from polytopes, Fukaya categories and braid arrangements
  • Math Grad Seminar: I heard it was a talk on Matroids but I ended up burning out and went home to nap instead.
  • Went to the end of a seminar on Cayley Graphs
  • Went to a weekly probability seminar I attend on Moments and Conditional Dependence.
  • Went to a Grad Symposium on the ABC Conjecture. Surprisingly, I saw some elliptic curves stuff in there, and was able to follow along! Yay!

One of my Pure Maths friends gave me an origami gift!

  • It folds on itself three times.

  • I also learned that apparently elliptic curves are the “cesspool of Maths”. So I am studying post-quantum safe endomorphic cesspool encryption. Nice! I literally couldn’t be happier :)

And that’s it!

Written on April 16, 2022