Perverse Incentives in Academia

A perverse incentive is one that has unintended consequences. The world is full of these and the Wikipedia article has some great examples. Academia seems particularly prone to perverse incentives. Incentive Intended Effect Actual Effect Researchers rewarded for increased number of publications. Improve research productivity. Avalanche of crappy, incremental papers. Researchers rewarded for increased number […]

Putting Oneself Through College

A lot has been written lately about the rising costs of higher education. Is it still possible to put oneself through college without working full time? It’s certainly not easy. For example, the Utah minimum wage is $7.25/hour. If a student works 20 hours per week for 50 weeks, the resulting $7,250 doesn’t even cover […]

Guidelines for Teaching Assistants

I’ve been teaching university-level courses for the last nine years, usually with the support of teaching assistants (TAs): students who get paid to do things like grading, office hours, fielding email questions, making and debugging assignments, proctoring exams, and perhaps even giving a lecture when I’m sick or traveling. At the start of each semester […]

Better Testing With Undefined Behavior Coverage

[The bit puzzle results are based on data from Chad Brubaker and the saturating operation results are based on data from Peng Li. They are respectively an undergrad and a grad student in Utah’s CS program.] Klee is a tool that attempts to generate a collection of test cases inducing path coverage on a system […]