The perfect abstract

Posted April 5th, 2002 by Deepa and filed in Uncategorized
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I have been trying to write an abstract this week. Try as I might I couldn’t write a “conscise” “comprehensive” and “informative” one. After umpteen attempts I finally managed to write one which (I thought) had all the required information and sent it to Mark for verification, Mark promptly reworded the whole thing and sent back the comment that “write it more clearly, explain all steps and basically rewrite it” . So I sat there and made a list of ALL the steps of my algorithm and wrote it down. This time I very wisely decided that I’ll send Seejo a copy of my abstract for a dose of constructive criticism. A few minutes later I got a call from Seejo.. “Can you explain what exactly you have done in your algorithm . For a second I thought I sent him the old version. Checked that…No, it was the revised version.

Then I proceeded to explain to Seejo exactly what I was doing. It took me 19 minutes. I counted …it was my daytime cell phone minutes. Finally comprehension dawned on Seejo.  He reworked whatever he understood into the abstract and sent it back, so all I had to do was check for grammatical errors, link all the statements up, pepper it with the right technical words and send it to Mark. By this time, it looked pretty much like a classic American operating instructions set ( hold the jar in your left hand, Hold the can opener in your left…..) by the time I finished that but didn’t Mark say put it as much detail as you can…………??!!
I sent it off to  Mark with a flourish. 2 hours and no reply. Went and peeked at his door.

“Mark,  did you get the abstract I sent you” .
“Yes, I am working on it”
On his screen was a document with so many changes that I was tempted to run far away from Mark’s room.
“I think we have to rework this, although I know what you have done, it is not easy to understand”
Whew!! Now what?? Although I was sure he was grossly underestimating the intelligence of the average reader, it seemed a better idea to humor him. After all I needed it in exactly 24 hours.
In the meantime I also sent a copy of this to Pulkit for a “layman’s” point of view (oops!!!).
Pulkit came online shortly and pinged me to tell me “Wow! Deepa amazing paper…well written and I didn’t follow a thing!
It was time to make changes then!! I looked at the revisions Mark had made, added some of my own, and clarified all the doubts he asked and sent it back to him for a cursory check. Unfortunately I think I did a better job than I had bargained for. Came the summons to his office.
“Deepa, I didn’t realize you were doing blah blah blah…”
“But,Mark I told you that was the problem…”
“Yeah but you can’t submit an abstract with this data,why don’t you change your code to get the effects of the background blah blah blah…”
It was 8 pm. I had to modify my code, run it on atleast 4 data sets , rewrite the abstract all by next day morning!
Somehow I managed that……….no more abstract writings for me….
Thank you!!
For those who want to see what the final product looks like, here it is

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