What is the importance of a PhD degree for me?

As I was mentioned in my previous blog post, I started to my Ph.D. study. Actually, what the world expects from the Ph.D. students is that they should invent something in their own research area. Actually, it is not easy as writing these lines.. It may never happen, it is a total uncertainty.

In the recent five years, I contributed to various Data Science products at Vodafone Turkey R&D. They were all very important projects having own characteristics. But we were not inventing something new there; we were just applying what the prominent data scientists already show. Mostly, their approach had good results, but sometimes, like in Louvain algorithm in community detection, it didn’t work and we had to implement our own algorithm. As a result, we published our novel algorithm in one of the most prestigious conferences of Data Mining.

After leaving Vodafone and starting to my Ph.D., I feel myself alone but on the other hand, I feel stronger because I have my own freedom to determine to my focus area. During these days, I read many papers in Data Science, and I observed what the award winner Ph.D. students did in their dissertation around the world.

Here, I discovered that one of the paths could be:
 1- Learn Deep Learning by understanding what is going on behind
 2- Observe the important research areas in Information Retrieval, Knowledge Discovery
 3- Find huge datasets in the field of interest
 4- Apply Deep Learning approach to somewhere new, and compare its results with existing approaches.
 5- Discuss the results with the subject matter of experts, make optimizations and keep finding the best result

If the output of step 5 is negative, then return to step 2.

To be honest, I am not looking for a strategy to be graduated. I was already knowing while I was doing my Master and my work at Vodafone that Deep Learning brings great new opportunities for almost every domain. But I was unable to deep dive into Neural Networks due to the fact that I was not able to spare time to learn such a complex field of study.

Now, I am extremely motivated that I have time to learn… As I always say, learning never ends. I will surely keep saying it again when I am 75 years old.

Finally, this is a great illustration of what Ph.D. means for the world and for the people. Inventing something new does not mean that you are the most powerful man in the world. You only succeeded as the size of a single bit in a world of huge matrices.

And I think there are more dimensions in the world; rather than having two dimensions like the illustration below. Poverty, wars, modern arts, space, family, health, beliefs, voluntary works, kindness, ethics…etc. So being a good person at all is more important than anything else.

Originally published at Emre Calisir.

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