Grad Guide:

Rohit Khare


1) I absolutely, positively need to go to graduate school.

* I have lots and lots of information...

* ... but relatively little understanding

2) I could go into the business world, but why?

* I really love research, as a job and as a moral obligation.

* You can't come back; at least, not to a scientific education

Mission Statement

The NSF asked for a two-line summary. I didn't have a particularly good answer:

* I have the enthusiasm, research skills, and too much raw information to contribute to the field of Computer Science. I intend to use my graduate experience to acquire the discipline to cultivate an understanding of the emerging discipline of Software Architecture.

The truth is:

* As a scientist, I believe deeply that I have at least one really good idea in me. I have amassed a vast heap of facts (c.f. Professional meetings, below), but I need a few years of careful discipline and direction to cultivate my understanding of CS.

* I think I'm really good at this. I like what I've been doing, which has essentially been a graduate role for the last two years.

* If I really believed it would be possible, I'd commit myself to a future academic position. I think I would love to do research and mentoring as a faculty member in CS -- but I think the field is getting so saturated at that level that I dare not let myself believe it. I come from a long line of scientists (I'd be the eighth Dr. Khare in the family), and I believe it's a very noble and prestigious calling.

Recommendation Letters

For each request, please prepare the form, attach your letter, and seal it in the corresponding envelope, and return them to me, either in person, or at Box 103. Exception: the NSF letters, which are stamped and ready to be mailed directly.

Materials in this file:

* This guide

* Complete list of previous work/research experience

* Complete list of classes taken and summary NSF sheets

* Three crude essays prepared for the NSF:

* Personal Statement

* Previous Research Experience

* Proposed plan of Study/Research

* A resumé template.

Go ahead and draft a generic letter; the NSF and Berkeley ones are the most urgent, but why not just get the whole batch done with? I am planning on leaving Dec. 20th, and am hoping to get everything mailed out before then. If you can have them done by then, great!

More information will be available at

What are my strengths?

1) I can't stand bad design.

* From my exposure to a wide variety of sciences at Caltech, challenges in industry, arts & software craftsmanship, I am beginning to synthesize a personal ethos of design. A well-rounded designer should be able to posit a solution and begin iterating for any design problem -- at the very least he or she should know what questions to ask.

* This means my work is relentlessly perfectionist. I do sweat the details, and I do put elegance above hackery. I try and spread the gospel by helping others with design issues.

2) I'm interdisciplinary

* I have a voracious appetite for information (Daily New York Times, > 200 books/year, probably two dozen periodicals/month), and an insatiable curiosity (pure science, industry trades, finance, management, history, travel).

* Coming from Caltech, I have a sense of science as a whole, and as a transcendent human enterprise, not just programming or inventing.

3) My personality

* I'm a fairly open, enthusiastic guy. I can be an engaging speaker, one-on-one or in groups. I can lead when it's called for, or follow along just as easily. I am absolutely fearless of saying what's on my mind.

What are my weaknesses?

1) I can't stand bad design.

* This means I tell people so. I can't work well in pursuit of any goal that doesn't seem elegant.

* My work is so relentlessly perfectionist that it rarely gets done well. Either it takes too long, or is too ambitious by half, as with some of my talks and papers.

2) I'm interdisciplinary

* This is a code word in academia for ``equally weak in a variety of fields.''

3) My personality

* I'm brusque, loud, and nosy. Not to mention a bona-fide nerd (and proud of it!)

What are my limitations?

1) I can't stand bad design.

* I may have deep=seated problems actually acting. I can often be paralyzed by my desire to study a problem and its literature completely before embarking.

2) I'm interdisciplinary

* I won't be able to focus well enough on one field to make a name (and a home base) for myself.

3) My personality

* I'm never going to succeed at politics. I might be able to lead by dint of overweening technical competence, but not by charisma.


Deadline: January 15

Why: Why ask Why? This is my absolute #1; I have assumed this was my destiny since kindergarten.

Who: Barbara Liskov (Thor, OODB). John Guttag (LARCH). Tim Berners-Lee (WWW). Tennenhouse (Telemendia, Networks, and Systems). Kaashoeck (¦¦ & Dist. OS). Sussman (simulation). & more...

MIT-Media Laboratory

Deadline: January 8

Why: Stewart Brand's The Media Lab is drew me into CS instead of Aero. I love the idea of the place.

Who: Michael Hawley (Personal Info. Architectures). Pattie Maes (Agents). Henry Lieberman (OO, UI).


Deadline: January 15

Why: The best systems shop in the country. One of the broadest. Tops in user interface, software engg.

Who: Brad Meyers (UI, Garnet). Mary Shaw (Software Architecture)


Deadline: January 1

Why: You can't get any closer to the Valley. I love the campus.

Who:Cheriton (¦¦ systems), Hennessy (DASH), Smart Valley & ARPA design-capture (eNotebook). The SELF project is closing up shop here; it would have been my absolute #1 project to join.


Deadline: December 15

Why: Clearly a leader in the field of computer science for many years. Brand-new building (Soda Hall).

Who: Distributed systems, networked multimedia. Several interesting ``systems'' projects


Deadline: January 10

Why: Solid projects, reputation, & location. Wonderful attitude. Slightly better chance of acceptance.

Who:Borning, Chambers (OO experts). Sanella (Constraints). Nancy Leveson (Safety). NII research.

U Illinois-Urbana

Deadline: January 15

Why: It's large, highly ranked, and has NCSA on hand.

Who: Ralph Johnson (Choices -- ¦¦ OO OS; believes strongly in OO). Gul Agha (Actors, CIT alum)


Deadline: January 10

Why: Everyone in my family in the US has a degree or a job from Cornell. Even me: Snoopy Group '76

Who: Don Greenberg (graphics, multimedia -- already has a program identical to eText in place). David Gries (Theory, Polya prog. env). Carl Lagoze (WWW). John Hopcroft (Design Research Inst.)


Deadline: January 2

Why: The leading house of hypermedia, OO, and software visualization

Who: Andy van Dam (eTextbooks, hypermedia). Peter Wegner (OO theory). Steven Reiss (Prog. env.)

Caltech -- Master's Program

Deadline: January 15

Why: Escape clause: I would like the degree to vouch for my research work at Caltech, especially if I don't go on to graduate school (Probability of rejection: 95%8 = 66%)

Who: The grad office wants to see letters on file with them for the BS/MS application.

How: I will finish the MS class load without a hitch: only 60 units to go. eText will be at the core of my thesis, which will be done by June, hopefully in draft form in time to circulate to adm. committees.

NSF Fellowship

Deadline: December 2

Why: Hey, it's free. I submitted a very creative packet...

What: Need recommendations to go out ASAP, mailed directly to Oak Ridge.

Go Up (Parent):
[Graduate Plans]
See Also (Siblings):
[Addendum] [NSF Fellowship] [Scientific Elites & Scientific Illiterates]

GradGuide was converted on Sat Sep 09 22:58:22 EDT 1995 by the eText Engine, version 5, release 0.95