December 2019 Research Updates

December Calendar (November/January)
This is an ongoing post of research updates during the month. Updates are provided every few days, and you can easily reach the update by clicking the link in the calendar.
12/2/19 – Another Month

I came in this morning to find the 200 m depth python code I had running over the summer was still running. Unlike with MATLAB, I don’t know how to measure its progress. I am going to let it continue and when I need a figure I may have to use an existing result from the previous set up for the meeting on Thursday. In the meantime, I need to finalize the presentation and the annual report write up.

Goals: Work on the report and presentation over the next two days. I intend to have the written report done by EOB on Tuesday and the presentation by the end of Wednesday. The last couple days of the week, I will work on the manuscript edits.

Return to Calendar.

12/5/19 – Vicious

Okay, so the annual progress report meeting with my committee was today. It was vicious. I’m writing this the following Monday, so luckily I’ve had time to let it all sink in. Nevertheless, I’ve got a ways to go. I am not prepared for comp exams in February and it is being pushed back until April or May. I do not have a sufficient understanding of how the code I am using works. Granted, I reviewed it at the start of the year, but after I got to Georgia Tech it became hands on. I made the necessary changes and everything after that was about getting the necessary results. In any case, this has been an eye opener.

Catherine, has given me some recommendations on how to try and improve my understanding of the novel (e.g. replicate pieces of it in Matlab). I’m working on that. Even on my first review, I recognize the discussion makes more sense this go around having been hands on with the model, so I am hopeful moving forward. I won’t pretend it wasn’t embarrassing and shameful to be told, “you are not at the point you should be at the stage in your PhD (~16 months in).” It was tough but necessary. I’m not about to give up. As long as I am offered a path forward I am going to take it, and I must say, I feel better despite what happened. Obviously, I’ve felt like I should be further along. It sucks to have that confirmed, but it means I have more guidance to get on track.

There was some criticism in regards to my Annual Progress Report. Apart of choosing not to pass it by Catherine first, I don’t regret how I approached it. There is literally one line even addressing the need for an Annual Progress Report on the Earth Sciences requirements page. I used the template I was given a couple years ago that asked for Background and Progress to date. I knew it was an abridged document and made a conscious decision to include references in text, in case the reader wanted to dig deeper, but this wasn’t my proposal. Therefore, I opted not to provide a full list or a complete run down of the model. I did the same thing for my first report.

Obviously, my lack of details on the model was representative of a greater problem, but it is frustrating that there aren’t more details on this provided by the department. I recognize this may have been resolved, at least in part, if I had reached out and included Catherine in the process. Unfortunately, I wrongly presumed to think that wasn’t necessary because I had been through the process before. I am trying to make a point to reach out to her more often.

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12/9/19 – Tomato Timer

I’ve taken to using the tomato timer. It has helped me focus a good bit, but I’m also faced with quantifying all the time I could be working. I can fit 15 pomodoro’s in an 8 hour day. Of course, things come up, so my goal is at least 10. I have yet to achieve this. I spent a good deal of time studying the model and making notes/writings in my proposal. Unfortunately, I lost focus later in the day Monday. Then Tuesday didn’t go much better. In any case, I think it is a good thing to work towards. my tasks/goals: continue studying model/editing proposal, edit manuscript, work on LPSC abstract, and a bunch of administrative tasks.

One thing I think might help to keep me focused. If I get the urge to do something distracting, I can log it as a personal pomodoro. While still a distraction, hopefully this will help me regain focus after the 25 minute segment is up.

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12/13/19 – Model Review and LPSC

I’m still getting the hang of using the Pomodoro timer. That is to say, I am not reaching my goal of 15 Pomodoro’s, but it does help me focus. Of course, things come up (meetings, problems and helping others). My minimum is 10 that I try to strive for. I have room for improvement, but I made good progress on reviewing the model. I’ve been doing a lot more back reading. I haven’t applied any of it to MATLAB yet; I am trying to review the different models the Planetary Ice Model (Buffo et al. 2019) builds on. I am getting a much better senses of the assumptions I have to make here and how the code works in general. In regards to my LPSC abstract, I’m roughly half way through it which I feel good about.

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12/16/19 – Model Review and LPSC Continue

I’m still spending a good deal of time reviewing the model. As I do so, I am finding which assumptions are being made where. I haven’t started trying to replicate the code yet. I think what I might do is use what I have, making note of what assumptions are where such that I can return to them later while still getting along with doing hands on work with the code.

I’ve been trying to get a good figure for my LPSC abstract. That means I’ve been frantically trying to get the analytical fits to work with the model results I have but have to get more results each time. I have a final exam tomorrow to proctor (and start grading), and I am beginning to worry about my abstract because I really wanted this done today with the exam the next couple days then traveling home on Thursday.

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12/18/19 – Exam grading

I finished the grading. I ended up staying up late last night to get it done, but it left me with time to finish packing. I leave tonight at ~3 AM. I think I should have time to finish my LPSC abstract by Friday, and I am hoping I can get my manuscript finished by Monday.

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12/23/19 – LPSC and Manuscript

Its proven much harder to get the work done. Family get together over the weekend didn’t leave a lot of down time. Then, yesterday, my computer crashed, so I’m using my iPad and an old laptop with a broken key board. Imagine typing with an on screen keyboard (not a touchscreen). I’m working on the abstract and should be done by the end of the day. The manuscript is taking longer than I would like. It will likely be Friday before I get it done.

Return to Calendar.

12/30/19 – LPSC and Manuscript updates

I got the updates back and am working on those for the LPSC abstract. I finished the updates on my manuscript (a little later than I had hoped). Luckily, it was also not as bad as I was expecting (I just had less free time than I had hoped). I have this week to do the revision on the LPSC abstract. I can do that.

This has been a busy break. I’ve barely done any reading let alone blogging about my reading, so I’m ready to get these edits done so I can finally do a bit of that 😊. Even these updates, I’m making them in the new year based on memory because I just haven’t had time for it. Luckily, things are beginning to lighten up. It’s a new decade and a new year. I’m excited. Its a big year (comps) of my PhD and hopefully of reading. I’ve got a reading goal of a 100 books, and that’s fairly conservative considering the pace I’ve been reading at. Be sure to check out my end of year stats post for the books I read last year (still in progress)!

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