Oh, the Places You'll Go

As a PhD student, I get to travel quite a bit. In just the last two years, I’ve been to Atlanta (a few times, once as a visiting researcher to GaTech for 3 months), Austin, Vienna, Dagstuhl, and — most recently — Tokyo. I get to meet interesting researchers on every trip, whether it be during a conference coffee break (where “meeting” people occasionally feels like getting interrogated about research) or by running into each other while meandering through a national park.

These trips are largely work. I listen to talks on the latest research and imagine ways to connect them to my own. I introduce myself to more senior researchers (usually hesitantly) in the hopes that they’ll remember who I am once they’re through answering my questions. I stay up way too late the night before my talk polishing my slides to (what I hope is) perfection. I scribble all over whiteboards, drawing (mostly) intelligible pictures when working out new ideas with collaborators.

Need to update “slides” with a link to the talk I gave at WSSR.

But then there’s the beauty of getting to go to new places because I have to. As an introvert and someone who’s pretty happy being in one place, travel is definitely not an itch I need to scratch (to me, “wanderlust” often feels like a made up word fellow Millennials use to describe the need for jealousy-inducing Instagram content). But my PhD has helped me learn that there’s a lot out there to see and understand, and somehow the difference and uncertainty and novelty of it all makes me feel hope.

So, until we meet again, Tokyo.

Joshua J. Daymude
Joshua J. Daymude
Assistant Professor, Computer Science

I am a Christian and assistant professor in computer science studying collective emergent behavior and programmable matter through the lens of distributed computing, stochastic processes, and bio-inspired algorithms. I also love gaming and playing music.