Learning With Errors

a theory student blog

New Theory Blog

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We’re starting a theory student blog! The idea is, this is a collaborative blog about theoretical computer science, where people can post about interesting things they’re learning / have learnt. The goal is to help everyone learn from each other, and also have a forum for student discussion.

Hopefully this will help make TCS concepts more accessible: Sometimes reading the original paper is not the best / most efficient way to learn something, and there are several perspectives or proofs of the same thing that are not explicitly written down in the literature, but are known in the community. We hope this blog will be a way to share this knowledge among theory students.

One important aspect is, we want this to feel like an informal place to learn and discuss – think more like chalk talks than STOC talks. It’s fine to have rough calculations, sketched figures, etc – the emphasis is on explaining things nicely. And we want to encourage asking clarifying questions and discussing in the comments.

On posts:

  • Posts can be about anything technical that other students may find interesting or learn from. Anything from current research to classical results.

  • The length and thoroughness can vary, anything from “survey of this field” to “summary of cool paper” to “interesting technical lemma” to “something cool I learnt this week”, etc.

  • You don’t need to be an expert on the topic to write about it (as the name suggests, there may be some errors, but hopefully also some learning).

  • The aim is to convey interesting or useful techniques and intuition (e.g. try not to just announce a new result without explaining the ideas behind it)

Contributing:

Everyone is welcome (and encouraged!) to contribute – including non-students, and generally anyone interested in TCS.

The easiest way is to simply write a LaTeX or Markup document, and email it to me (preetum [at] berkeley). There is also a harder way.

Ideally, both readers and writers would get something out of this blog. (Personally, I like to present topics to make sure I understand them fully. And of course, we can have an interesting discussion about it.)

Comments and Subreddit:

We have comments below each post, which we encourage people to use to discuss the post.

We also have the subreddit r/LWE, which we hope can be used as a more general forum among theory students. Feel free to use this for both blog-related things and general theory questions. Let’s see how this works.

Initial Posts:

We’re launching with posts on:

Thanks especially to the above people (and all future authors) for contributing.

Conclusion and Open Questions

When conceiving this blog, we had some other ideas for things that should exist, such as a set of collaboratively-edited pages on “How to best learn topic X”. Are people interested in contributing to something like this? In general, any suggestions for things you would like to see (regarding this blog, or otherwise)?

Feel free to use the comments section below.