I have finally decided upon my dissertation topic. The thesis title will be "An approximately optimal strategy for procrastinating in graduate school". It is easy to see that finding the exact optimal strategy is undecidable. The proof is by contradiction: First of all, you cannot procrastinate indefinitely, otherwise good sense will prevail and you will be kicked out of the department. Now suppose there is an optimal strategy that enables you to waste "x" amount of time during the course of your PhD, while leaving room to convince the professors that you are actually doing some work. Then surely you can waste "x + \epsilon" amount of time for arbitrarily small "\epsilon" and no one will notice. Thus, the strategy you chose was not optimal to begin with, and we have reached a contradiction.
The good thing about this project is that I can provide experimental evidence supporting the claims (citing my own procrastinating journey through graduate life) in addition with theoretical results. The work will have serious practical impact and this in turn will increase the chances of me getting a job after graduation.
Announcement: From today onwards, I will be posting once a week (possibly every Sunday). It should help the viewers better digest and dissect the intelligent opinions propounded by this humble author.
2 weeks ago