Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Publish or Perish: MIT Prank Paper Shows All You Need is Dense Jargon

Three MIT graduate students,Jeremy Stribling, Max Krohn, and Dan Aguayo, have cracked the "publish or perish" code.
Sometimes jargon really is gibberish.

Take the "scientific" papers generated by a computer program and submitted by three MIT computer science students to a scientific conference. One of the papers, "Rooter: A Methodology for the Typical Unification of Access Points and Redundancy," was accepted by World Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics 2005 as a non-reviewed paper. "The Influence of Probabilistic Methodologies on Networking" was rejected...

[Their] paper's acceptance proves their point, Stribling said. Their computer program generates research papers using "context-free grammar" and includes graphs, figures and citations. The program takes real words and places them correctly in sentences, but the words used don't make sense together....

Their once-accepted paper's abstract says: "Many physicists would agree that, had it not been for congestion control, the evaluation of web browsers might never have occurred. In fact, few hackers worldwide would disagree with the essential unification of voice-over-IP and public-private key pair. In order to solve this riddle, we confirm that SMPs can be made stochastic, cacheable, and interposable."

Random gibberish, just like it sounds.
The students may be lauded by their fellows at the Parallel and Distributed Operating Systems Group at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT, but they were not as successful as the famous 1996 prank in which physicist Alan Sokal persuaded a Duke University journal called Social Text to publish a bogus article titled "Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity."
Here my aim is to carry these deep analyses one step farther, by taking account of recent developments in quantum gravity: the emerging branch of physics in which Heisenberg's quantum mechanics and Einstein's general relativity are at once synthesized and superseded. In quantum gravity, as we shall see, the space-time manifold ceases to exist as an objective physical reality; geometry becomes relational and contextual; and the foundational conceptual categories of prior science -- among them, existence itself -- become problematized and relativized. This conceptual revolution, I will argue, has profound implications for the content of a future postmodern and liberatory science.
Sokal's purpose was reportedly to "see if they would publish any nonsense which 'flattered the editors' ideological preconceptions'." Stribling, et al set their targets a bit lower. "Our aim is to maximize amusement, rather than coherence."

Want to amuse yourself scientifically? Have to publish or perish? The SCIgen website lets you author your very own jargon-laden paper.

I fully expect my own paper, "SMPs No Longer Considered Harmful," to be a hit at the next conference I hear of in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Abstract: Many researchers would agree that, had it not been for IPv7, the emulation of the World Wide Web might never have occurred[1]. After years of significant research into public-private key pairs, we disprove the deployment of checksums, which embodies the extensive principles of electrical engineering[2,1]. Arillus, our new algorithm for neural networks, is the solution to all of these obstacles.


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Blogger samraat said...

4/03/2010 10:11 PM  

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