Another meeting?

Another killing weekly meeting next week before thesis audit. Minggu ini tiada meeting which is yahoooooo!!!!! But Jon will never leave us without work ( kilos of work !!!! )

Current tasks:

  • Corrected Thesis Audit Document; until now it seems that I am  still working onsome amendments based on Jon’s comment
  • Simple granuloma formation algorithm need to be discussed!!!!! —> adoi la…cammana? hopefully this week boleh concentrate dengan sharing energy!!!!!
    • Then need to explain on extending according to signature based algorithm, have to write the algorithm and another week to extend the algorithm

Note to self: In order to add the chapter of a book that contains a collection of articles by different authors  to a BibDesk database, use the template incollection.

Printing comments in Acrobat

Acrobat has a lot of great commenting tools, but what good are they if you can’t print them out? In Mac OS X, we use SKIM to print out comment ( Jon likes to add comments!!! )…So, if you find that your comments are not printing just follow these easy steps:

1. Open a PDF with comments

2. Go to File > Print

3. For the Comment and Forms option choose Document and Markup

4. You’ll see that the Preview Window now shows your comments and if you click Print you will now have a complete document with comments.

How (and How Not) to write a technical paper:: Tips to myself (Part 1)

I would like to provide guidelines to myself. After writing qualifying dissertation, progress report, thesis audit and thesis outline. I have to prepare on writing my own thesis (the big book later).  I am planning to start writing in a little while. The overall thesis structure is there but writing is a complicated process especially when English is not my first language, limited vocabulary and the difficulties in expressing what I really wanted to say.  My assessor is very meticulous, every single sentences every single word, every single comma every single figure, leaving me with lots of frustration. It must look perfect for her, if I managed to feast her eyes in the documentations, she will be very happy. I want to write like them, I have to learn on how I can write and expressing my research so that they will understand.  I never had any steps in writing, leaving me with lots of papers to refer, not sure about the content, everything is scattered in my memory. It’s time for a change I guess.  It might be wrong, or not complete but then it is a good start for me.

I presume in writing, there are several steps

  1. Preparation
  2. Research
  3. Organisation
  4. Writing a draft
  5. Revision

Preparation: Before I sat down to write this paper, I asked myself some questions,  then, I discussed and asked Jon,  to conform. Things that I need to clarify:

  • the purpose of the document
  • the audience
  • the scope

Research: The purpose of the paper is to convey information. In order to convey information, I have to understand it. – but can I explain it?. This is a major problem….If don’t have the gist of the paper, that I cannot really explain it. Here, collection of references are needed and must be accurate.

Organisation: I understand that a poorly organised documentation may in fact be worse then I really thought it will be. I have to remember about what I need to tell users and how the information can best be conveyed. I need to choose the method that best suits my topics and my purpose. Fiona always mentioned that in writing you have to explain each sections and how the sections work together and general-to-specific writing manner. In general-to-specific writing manner, you begin with general/broad information about your research and move to more specific information in tha latter sections.

So now, I need to  prepare an outline based on the organisation that I have in mind. This will provides a road map for my writing.  Personally, I use an iterative approach: I start with a very broad outline as follow ( it’s not easy as I am stuck few times to relate each sections, to maintain coherence of the paper..:( ) I then go through my outline and break categories into sub-categories and sub-sub-categories until I feel I have a clear enough map.

  • Introduction
  • Swarm Robotics
    • Fault Tolerance
  • Swarm Taxis Algorithm
  • Experimental Setup
    • Initial Result
  • Proposed Solution
    • General Ideas
    • Algorithm
  • Conclusion
  • References

Writing a draft: I am now ready to begin writing. I need to expand the outline into paragraphs. I save the introduction for last, so that I will have a better idea of what is covered in the body of the document. There is also a need to write a conclusion to the paper later – I should remember the basic rule of technical writing:

Tell them what you’re going to tell them. (Introduction)
Tell them. (Body)
Tell them what you’ve told them. (Conclusion)

Revision: Finally I need to check for completeness and accuracy.

  • Check for conciseness, and covers a topic clearly.
  • Check spelling and grammar. I use spell check
  • Review abbreviations, acronyms, and initialisms expanded at their first usage?

Conclusion: So finally, I need to tell them what I’ve told them.

In preparing a technical paper, key points discussed were: establishing the purpose, assessing the audience, determining the scope, and selecting the appropriate medium. The research section covered the reasons for research and strategies for writing a paper. In organisation, methods of development were introduced such as  division, classification, and general-to-specific writing manner. Outlining was also discussed. Finally, strategies for writing and revision were covered.

Table issues…

I am writing to those who are facing the issues on displaying long table in latex. The default table environment in LaTeX does not work well if the data to be displayed in your table spans more than one page — the text cuts off and may flow outside of the normal page margins. The solution to this is to use the longtable package, which allows tables to take up multiple pages, and enables table row headings that span page breaks.

Declare the use of this package \usepackage{longtable} in the preamble, which should be installed already in your LaTeX setup. The skeleton of a long table looks like this:

\setlongtables % keeps the width uniform across both pages
\caption{Spurred species and their pollinators}\\
Flower species & Pollinator species & Family & Functional Group \\

Flower species & Pollinator species & Family & Functional Group \\
\hline \hline
{\it Aquilegia canadensis} & {\it Trochilus} & Trochil. & Bird \\

{ ….

add more


{\it Habenaria leucophaea} & {\it Chaerocampa} & Sphing. & Lepidoptera \\ 

What have I been doing lately?

I have been busy, very …… the sense of lots of submission this month..including a thesis audit document, a conference paper and need to update code. The energy, aggregation, upgrade to 3.2, segmentation fault issues (which is just resolved)…alhamdulillah. Enjoy the movie, its only about robots. Based on the previous aggregation work that I have been doing in implementing the problems that I need to solve, I added few things to the simulation …including energy and a charger. Each robot are given a fixed energy, and if their energy is low, they will move to the charger which is on the left side. I am using pioneer2d robots, need to change to linuxbot and epucks later…finally, alhamdulillah all the issues are resolved and it works fine…

What’s next? we are planning to implement the following

  1. lets update the algorithm in 3.2
  2. the granuloma algorithm will be divided into few stages
    • Implement energy reduction
    • Isolate them
    • charge

Lets’ hope next week will be progressive one!! enjoy!!!

I am planning to sleep real late today…since I need to prepare for my thesis outline documents…Soalan-soalan yang agak sukar di jawab….must have evidence for each and every questions, soalan sangat simple….jawapan sangat payah….:(

  1. Is the overall content and structure of your thesis still as envisaged in your thesis proposal? [Any fresh topics, or abandoned topics?  Any insertions, deletions or replacements in the chapter sequence?
    1. Based on Thesis Outline that has been submitted, we proposed to have 7 chapters in the thesis. There is no fresh or abandoned topic included and the chapter sequence will remain the same. We include the structure of the thesis with this form to be discussed with supervisor and assessor for any amendment. (Need to prepare chapter summary for each and what I have done so far…to feast fiona’s eyes…she likes this!!!)
  2. To what extent is your technical research work for the thesis?
  3. What stage have you reached in writing the thesis? [Briefly indicate the state of each chapter — eg. `first draft complete’, or `to be based on a published paper’ or `not yet started’.  Give an estimate of how long you will need to finish writing each chapter.  Provide your assessor (and supervisor ifnecessary) with a copy of whatever thesis material you already have.]
  4. How firm is your target submission date? [Express this as an interval: give the earliest and latest dates that you consider reasonable (barring miracles/disasters!).
    1. Earliest sumission date will be on June 2011 and latest submission date will be on September 2011 ? I think So…:P
  5. Is there any other aspect of the preparation of your thesis that you wish to comment on?
    • Currently, all work is based on player/stage simulation. We estimate that work on real robots would start around April 2010, once we finished the simulation work.
Submitted the thesis documents to Jon today….alhamdulillah, waiting for feedback…need to update and prepare for discussion with both of them. boleh ZZZZzzzzzZZZZZZZ

Writing a paper ….

I am struggling to write the paper… So first, I need to clarify what is the purpose of the paper and what I am going to do. This outline maybe useful in the future.

We are planning to write a paper to the 3rd IFIP Conference on Biologically-Inspired Collaborative Computing (BICC 2010). We plan to desrcibe on the experimental design and result that we have obtained so far. Based on our previous discussion, this paper highlights more on the analysis, literature and work in progress. Main contribution of the paper is to odentify what are the potential properties from immune systems that can be instantiated to the problem that we have in mind. In writing the paper, the first thing I should have to remember is to relate my paper with the conference theme….

Lets make this as exercise, a guideline to myself, so that I have a clearer mind in my writing


Writing abstract

When writing the abstract, some questions that I need to ask

  • What is the purpose of my paper? This should, as with any abstract, be a general definition statement about the objectives of the paper.
  • What approach am I using? I.e. am I reviewing the literature, describing a case study, supporting a research hypothesis, and if the latter, what is my research design and research methodology?
  • What are my findings?
  • What is the import of my findings?

Outline the content of the paper

General Questions that need to be answered in writing the paper.

  • Part 1: Specify what problem (topic) is being addressed: Why is the problem (topic) interesting!
  • Part 2: What is the current state of the art of solutions? Or, how is the topic currently being addressed in the literature?Why is the current literature inadequate?
  • Part 3: What is the proposed solution?What is the motivation?Why is it interesting?
  • Part 4: Discussion. How does the proposed solution compare with others? In theory? In practice? What are the weaknesses?
  • Part 5: Conclusion. Summarize proposed solution and why it is interesting.Summarize weaknesses.Identify open questions.


Collecting reference again

I realised my references are somehow outdated, and updation is required upon submission of my conference paper. Collection is tedious. 50% of references that I have collected in my first year is not referred at all since during my first year the area of research is still broad. It is a good idea when I started writing a conference paper in my third year as I start to look back on al the references that we have. Jon has suggested that we wrote a paper ( publishable or not every month, so I can start identify the hole in my research, things that I consider important or not should be identified prior to my thesis writing). Having the general outline of thesis is helpful, and as we move on we know which references are important and start writing literature on a specific title. I collected all the bibtex entry and update. Consistency is important while writing the entry, cannot really copy and paste it. I updated and collected my bibitem using BibDesk but for this conference, I have to rewrite since I have difficulties in getting the format that the LNCS provided, there is but it goes crazy with by .bib file.  Below, is the seven standard styles in latex, I prefer to use the apa standard format (author, year) format

Seven standard style

Every computer with LaTeX comes with the following seven standard styles. While they work, we recommend the natbib interpretations below. NatBib is a citation package that standardizes citation commands across many different bibliography styles, so you can switch from using plain.bst to acm.bst without having to change your in-text citations.