The French mathematician Évariste Galois solved a three and a half century old standing problem on the solvability of polynomials. He also laid the foundations of group theory and galois theory somewhere between that time and his untimely death at 20. [More on Galois]
On the other hand, I spent the night of my twentieth birthday studying (and struggling to understand) very simple undergraduate linear algebra miles away from any of Galois’ accomplishments. Not all of us are Galois or anything close to him. That doesn’t mean we can’t strive to reach his level. If not at twenty, then maybe by the time we are fifty.
Luckily, there are plenty of exciting problems to be worked on in my research area and solving them will require a solid knowledge-base and understanding. Here is how I would rate my knowledge of some of the sub-fields I need to know at this moment in time:
- Internet Architecture: Working Knowledge
- Datacenters: Some Knowledge
- Internet Measurements: Good Working Knowledge
- Distributed Systems: Little Knowledge
- Network Security: No Knowledge
- Wireless Networks: No Knowledge
- Internet Censorship: Working Knowledge
I am currently in the third year of my undergraduate programme. In the ideal case, before the start of the first year of my graduate programme (if any grad school miraculously agrees to take me in as a PhD student), I should have a “Good Working Knowledge” of all the above categories.
Needless to say this requires developing adequate background in Distributed Systems, Network Security and Wireless Networks (which hopefully will pave the way for perhaps some interesting Internet of Things research) along with brushing up more on Datacenters. Let’s see how things work out. Lots of exciting work ahead. As Carl Sagan would say, “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known”. 🙂
Side note: The frequency of my posts has undoubtedly decreased as I focus more on exciting research projects and graduate-level courses. In fact, the only reason I had the time to post this today was because I have a mid-semester break. Sorry about that.