Saturday, July 16, 2011


On the afternoon after the SODA deadline, my office mate asked me:

- Are you working right now?
- No, just putting together receipts for getting refunded from trips
- Oh, doing that counts as work
- Not really. It doesn't have any value except monetary
- Well! What has value if not money!?

But as we know, money does not have any value in itself. Then, what does have value? In our work, I think it's knowledge. When we read a paper, understand a new lemma or algorithmic idea, we learn something, and no one can take that away from us. That has value. When we discuss a problem with a student and he or she acquires some of the techniques, they learn, and that has value. When we teach a class and students get acquainted with some computer science topic, after that, they know more. That has value. When we make progress in research and discover some new structure or have an insight, we learn something new that no one knew before. That has value. Knowledge has intrinsic value.


  1. I can see your 'office mate' bowing to you after reading this post!

  2. Or perhaps he has more imagination and can visualize some wonderful things that can be obtained with money.


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