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Paper discussions

The goal of the panel discussion is to analyze the paper from a variety of different vantage points. During each panel discussion, there is a panel of 4-5 students, each with an assigned role who will provide one particular perspective. Everyone in the class should participate by commenting and asking questions. The panel discussion will be moderated by one of the instructors.

Each student should sign up for at least 2 panels.

Each panel role covers one aspect of critically assessing an academic paper. Many of the roles are taken from or inspired by Colin Raffel and Alec Jacobsen’s role-playing paper-reading seminars.

  • Archaeologist: You’re an archeologist who must determine where this paper sits in the context of previous work. Find one older paper cited within the current paper that substantially influenced the current paper and be prepared to discuss what is new. Trace each aspect of the paper (e.g., model, training, data) back to prior work.
  • Social Impact Assessor: You are an auditor of the societal impact of the paper. Identify how this paper self-assesses its real-world impact (both positive and negative). Have any additional social impacts (especially negative ones) been left out?
  • Industry Practitioner: You’re a hard-nosed, dirt-under-the-fingernails kind of person who just wants to make good products. How will this paper influence what you do? Look at the experiments carefully - are the experiments compelling? Will you adopt a new method over a tried-and-true baseline? Is it worth the complexity and cost? Does it make you think differently?
  • Researcher: You are on the test-of-time award committee and are trying to assess the impact of this work after its publication. Find newer papers that cite this work and were substantially influenced by the current paper, or if the current paper is relatively new, think of possible new directions that the current paper could inspire.
  • Salesperson: You are an author of the paper during the rebuttal period. Convince others why this paper should win a best paper award.
  • Bug Hunter: You are reviewer #2, who wants to dig into the details of the paper. Your job is to uncover any issues with reproducibility, rigor, correctness, and clarity.