Sunday, March 4, 2012

Three cheers for Professor Moon

Few days back when I read in my Facebook news feed an update from Professor Sue Moon that she is now tenured Professor at KAIST, I was immensely delighted. This post is a special tribute to Prof. Sue Moon from a student that did not get to spend much time with her but whatever time I spent with her played a huge role in my learning path. It all began in Spring 2009 when I took up Professor Moon´s course on Advance Networking. At first she sounded hard to impress but then I figured out it´s her way of teaching the students. The Advance Networking course she was teaching us was special, it turned out to be one of the toughest and yet greatest learning experiences of my life. She had specially designed the course keeping in mind the struggles young researchers have to face. Throughout the semester we were expected to read papers, write a critique of the paper and present some of the selected papers in class as if they were our own papers. This activity turned out to be quite hectic and each student used to dread the day when he/she had to present and one strong reason for that was Professor Moon´s fiery questions about the technical aspects of the paper. She used to spend hours in polishing our presentation and paper reading skills asking us to read papers from a critical angle so as to highlight its strong and weak points. She taught us a skill that is very valuable in the scientific community and that skill was captivating the audience when giving a technical talk, this rare skill is seriously lacking even among the best scientists of our community.

The semester ended and we all got back to our busy research life at KAIST but then in later parts of my Master´s degree I realized that her teaching and the way she groomed us in that course was extremely helpful. She literally taught us how to fall in love with research: an ability quite rare even among graduate students in world´s top universities. She keeps these technical how-to talks on her Web page and I have gone through all of them, I would definitely recommend these for all aspiring Computer Science researchers out there.

I want to particularly thank Prof. Moon for all she gave me. Knowledge, in my opinion is a priceless gift by itself and I am out of words to express my gratitude to her. Thank you Professor Moon for playing a role in my research path, your training has proven to be a great gift for me. Although my own Master´s advisor Professor Kyu-Young Whang taught me the most during my stay at KAIST (his training has also been invaluable in shaping me up as a researcher) but Professor Sue Moon is special due to the fact that she is one of the most outstanding women in Computer Science I have known. This field surely needs more inspiring women like her. I hope to meet her some day in order to thank her in person.