[Haskell-cafe] PhD at age 45?

Kristopher Micinski krismicinski at gmail.com
Wed Dec 4 16:41:15 UTC 2013

On Wed, Dec 4, 2013 at 2:57 AM, Dennis Raddle <dennis.raddle at gmail.com>wrote:

> On Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 7:47 PM, Kristopher Micinski <
> krismicinski at gmail.com> wrote:
>> I can think of a few potentially relevant points:
>>  - The only reason to do a PhD is because you want to learn how to do
>> research on a very specific problem.
> Thanks, Kristopher, you really made sense. What I hear you saying is that
> you get a PhD to do research on a problem that fascinates you. You
> shouldn't get a PhD if you are only doing it for what happens afterward.
> Are there any MOOCs on reasoning about software correctness? I just
> remembered that I've always enjoy proving my programs correct (with the
> limited resources I had) but I don't know anything formal about this. This
> also seems like a practical topic... seeing how much of the vital world is
> run by software.

I don't know of any MOOCs, but there are lots of resources to learn such
things.  I mentioned a few of them in my last post, but learning about
program verification / certified program development is a fairly huge and
well researched area.  The "Software Foundations" book is very helpful.

> In the meantime I still have a lot of free time so I think I'm going to
> get out my calculus and discrete math books and start reviewing. Then I'll
> look over courses normally required for the BS and make sure I'm solid on
> them. Along the way I hope to run into a topic I like. I'll look up the
> local professors and see if they are looking for assistants, or even just
> volunteer tutoring.

You might try looking at their projects.  They are very unlikely to be
looking for tutors, since few tenure track faculty at research universities
need tutors for their classes (they already have TAs).

There might not be any local profs doing software verification/correctness
> proofs so maybe I could find someone out of the area who would be open to a
> phone call and working by email.

I would also look into open source projects.  Not to be too much of a dream
killer, but professors are unlikely to want to work with a non grad student
at their university, simply because of a lack of free time and
accessibility to you personally.  (At the very least, this seems like
something that most faculty I know would be hesitant to do because it's not
at all in their best interests...)

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