We will follow the role-playing format described here. Significant portions of the text in this page are taken from this description. We are likely to dedicate one meeting for each paper, but may spend more than one meeting on a paper if it requires further discussion.

This format is experimental. If it does not work well, we will switch to a conference reviewing format similar to the one we used in fall 2020.

Very General Reading Guidelines

Most important: think deeply about the papers we read, and try to learn from them as much as possible (and then even more). If you do not understand something, we should discuss it and dissect it together. Whatever you think others understand, they understand less (instructor included), but together we will get it.

  • Identify the key questions the paper studies, and the answers it provides to these questions.
  • Consider the challenges of the problem or scenario studied, and how the paper’s approach addresses them.
  • Deconstruct the formal and technical parts to understand their fine details. Note to yourself aspects that are not clear to you.

Discussion Guidelines

Each student will discuss each paper within their role. The student may use slides to be added to a collaborative slidedeck before the class. Depending on the role, the presentation may also use screen sharing (e.g., to show demos or browse data). Using slides or screen sharing is not mandatory, but each student should create a placeholder slide for their role in the shared slidedeck and put some bullets outlining their within-role thoughts at a minimum. You can create multiple consecutive slides, with a maximum of 3–4 slides.

Role Guidelines

For each paper, each student will be assigned a role from this list. Not all roles will be assigned for each paper, because not all roles fit each paper.

πŸ‘©πŸ½β€πŸ”¬ Scientific Peer Reviewer

The paper has not been published yet and is currently submitted to a top conference where you’ve been assigned as a peer reviewer. Complete a full review of the paper answering all prompts of the official review form of the top venue in this research area (e.g., NeurIPS for Deep Learning and ACM SIGGRAPH for Geometry & Animation). This includes recommending whether to accept or reject the paper.

🏺 Archaeologist

This paper was found buried under ground in the desert. You are an archeologist who must determine where this paper sits in the context of previous and subsequent work. Find and report on one older paper cited within the current paper that substantially influenced the current paper and one newer paper that cites this current paper. Please try as much possible to thread the two papers into a single research narrative.

🍜 Academic Researcher

You are a researcher who is working on a new project in this area. Propose an imaginary follow-up project not just based on the current but only possible due to the existence and success of the current paper. When reading a paper outside of your area of research, it is advised to design a follow-up project in your area, or at least closer to your area of expertise.

πŸ’° Industry Practitioner

You work at a company or organization developing an application or product of your choice (that has not already been suggested in a prior session). Bring a convincing pitch for why you should be paid to implement the method in the paper, and discuss at least one positive and negative impact of this application. If the paper is does not present a new method (e.g., analysis or human study), instead of implementing consider incorporation of findings and/or proposed framework. Try to keep your discussion concrete, for example by advocating for a specific product or application.

πŸ‘Ύ Hacker

You are a hacker who needs a demo of this paper ASAP. Implement a small part or simplified version of the paper on a small dataset or toy problem. Prepare to share the core code of the algorithm to the class and demo your implementation. Do not simply download and run an existing implementation – though you are welcome to use (and give credit to) an existing implementation for β€œbackbone” code.

πŸ•΅οΈ Private Investigator

You are a detective who needs to run a background check on one of the paper’s authors. Where have they worked? What did they study? What previous projects might have led to working on this one? What motivated them to work on this project? Feel free to contact the authors, but remember to be courteous, polite, and on-topic. Please do not depend on author response though.

🌎 Social Impact Assessor

Identify how this paper self-assesses its (likely positive) impact on the world. Have any additional positive social impacts left out? What are possible negative social impacts that were overlooked or omitted?