Simone Campanoni

Tenure-track assistant professor
Department of Computer Science at Northwestern University

Simone Campanoni

Department of Computer Science
Northwestern University

For Ph.D. students

Advice for Ph.D. students in Computer Science
Advice for Ph.D. students in Computer Science at Northwestern
  • CS 496: Fabian Bustamante teaches an amazing class all incoming Ph.D. students should take.
  • CSPAC: self-organized group to represent Ph.D. students of Northwestern.
  • Graduate study manual: additional and specific requirements for Ph.D. students in system are described in Section 4.1
  • Northwestern CS class catalog: classes you should consider taking to have a peek on other areas of Computer Science.
  • Student resources: find here opportunities you can take advantage of while you are a Ph.D. student
  • Orientation: here you can find information about being a Ph.D. student at Northwestern, deadlines, and an F.A.Q..
Advice for Ph.D. students in Computer Science in compilers at Northwestern
  • CS 322: Take this introductory class to learn (and build) modern back-end and front-end compilers.
    Warning: this is a challenging and demanding class.
  • CS 323: Take this introductory class to learn (and build) modern middle-end compilers.
    Warning: this is a challenging and demanding class.
  • CS 397/497: Take this class to learn the latest research in compilers.
Advice for Ph.D. students in systems at Northwestern
Next are my personal advice to anyone that wants to pursue a Ph.D. in systems.
  • Never forget Edison: Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.
  • Practice your organisational skills and time management.
  • Never forget the worst feedback you can get is your work is great! . Corollary: learn how to take criticisms.
  • Tools are your friends: become an expert in using state-of-the-art tools to develop, debug, profile, test, and integrate your solutions.
  • Listen to your advisor: we have more experience in common pitfalls (especially true for system research).
    Also, do not forget we are here to help you succeed. Your success is our success.
  • Do not be blind: do not accept what others (including your advisor) suggest without convincing yourself about their validity.
    If you are not sure about the reasons behind a certain suggestion, ask!
  • This is your Ph.D.: always listen to your advisor while embracing the fact this is your Ph.D.; put yourself inside the ideas/designs you will follow through the program.
    The work behind your Ph.D. thesis should reflect you, your mind, your skills, and your values.
  • Do not wait to do research: start doing research the first day you arrive at Northwestern. Take classes while you do research.
  • Be prepared to work hard: a Ph.D. is not a regular job, it is more like a vocation to expand the human knowledge in a specific field. You will have a lot of flexibility, but very likely you won’t do 9 to 5 like in most jobs.
  • Expect to fail, but fail fast, so you will have the time to succeed.
  • Stay confident: a Ph.D. is hard (it is the highest level of education for a reason), which will lead you to have a roller coaster of emotions throughout the program. Sometimes you might feel it is too much and that you cannot do it.
    Stay confident: you have been selected by a committee to join our Ph.D. program for a reason.
    We see great potential in you and we think you will succeed.
    Stay confident and believe in yourself.

For master and undergraduate students

Coming soon

For all students (and beyond)

Sexual misconduct of any kind is unacceptable. If you have experienced sexual misconduct, please seek help and support from your community.
For Northwestern students, please do not hesitate to use the following links to seek help:
  • To report sexual misconduct: link
  • Reporting obligations postcard: link
  • Resource guide for those who have experienced sexual misconduct: link
  • Confidential support for survivors: link
External links:
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