Read A Paper With Me: Introduction

Introducing a new blog series where I read and break down white papers in the tech world, aiming to have them be more accessible to engineers and create discussion around tech both new and old.

Long-form articles and peer-reviewed journals have always interested me. I learned how to code through doing astronomy research, so a lot of time was spent both reading new papers as well as reviewing/discussing new papers with journal clubs and other interested parties within the astronomy department. Even more exciting was having the paper’s author(s) come visit the university, talk about their research, answer questions/expand on certain areas, and talk about what’s next.

A while after I left research/academia (I wasn’t there for long, but long enough to build a love of reading papers!), I found myself missing the depth and expertise contained in the papers. Sometimes they’re a slog — there’s a lot of specificity and domain knowledge tucked into these papers, and rightfully so. It wasn’t until I read An Elegant Puzzle by Will Larson and came across his list of favorite technical papers that I both was reminded of this former passion and enlightened to the fact that the papers didn’t go anywhere — they were just in slightly different places and about slightly different subjects.

One thing didn’t change: approaching a paper from a new field is daunting. There’s assumptions made about prior knowledge and new lingo to familiarize yourself with to understand the important takeaways from the paper itself. I’m starting the “Read A Paper With Me” Blog series with the hopes to both break down some of the lore around papers being too hard to read/consume and to create discussion around papers both new and old in various technical fields — I’ve always learned better through discussion, myself.

To the discussion end, in lieu of traditional comments, each post will have a dedicated topic in my new Microsoft Flip group: (fun fact: this is the product I’ve been working on for a while, now!). I’d love for this to be a space to discuss the papers, add additional context, find answers to questions I had (I know there will be plenty), and build a sort of async journal club around each paper.

I’m excited to start writing more, reading more papers, and hopefully building a small community around interesting work happening in the tech space!