Basser Seminar Series

Writing as an Intellectual Tool

Dr Kurt Akeley
Assistant Managing Director, Microsoft Research Asia

TUESDAY 28 November 2006, 1-2pm Note: different day/time

School of IT Building, Lecture Theatre 123, Level 1


This talk is about communication, especially written communication. But it isn't another enumeration of writing tips and techniques. Instead I'll argue that written communication is a critical part of the process of research and development. Writing well is difficult, and valuable, exactly because it requires clear thinking. Doing the hard work of organizing, clarifying, and presenting your thoughts identifies weaknesses and leads to new insights. Great papers not only report high-quality work, they are a critical component in the intellectual processes that generate such work.

I hope thinking of communication in this way will help you tackle the hard work of writing with less dread; perhaps even with some enthusiasm. And I promise better research results if you do.

Speaker's biography

Kurt Akeley is assistant managing director at Microsoft Research Asia, located in Beijing, China. His research interests include graphics system architecture, high-performance computing, and the design of displays that better accommodate human visual requirements. He joined Microsoft in July of 2004. Kurt co-founded Silicon Graphics in 1982. During his 19 years at Silicon Graphics he led the development of several high-end graphics systems, including GTX, VGX, and RealityEngine. He also led the development of OpenGL, an industry-standard programming interface to high-performance graphics hardware. His last full-time position with Silicon Graphics was senior vice president and CTO. Kurt is a named inventor on fourteen patents, is a fellow of the ACM and a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and in 1995 was the recipient of the ACM SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Achievement Award. He graduated with a BEE degree from the University of Delaware in 1980, an MSEE degree from Stanford in 1982, and a PhD in electrical engineering from Stanford in 2004.