Academic Dissertations in the News

Saleforce’s chief data scientist, Richard Socher, puts his dissertation theory to work

11 December 2018

Richard Socher, who’s now Saleforce’s chief data scientist, demonstrated in his dissertation "that deep learning — layered mathematical functions loosely modeled on neurons in the human brain — could solve several different natural language processing tasks simultaneously, obviating the need to develop multiple models. At MetaMind in 2014, using some of the same theoretical principles, he and a team of engineers to produce a model that achieved state-of-the-art accuracy on ImageNet."

Read article by Kyle Wiggers at

Graduate Student Solves Quantum Verification Problem

10 October 2018

Urmila Mahadev spent eight years in graduate school solving one of the most basic questions in quantum computation: How do you know whether a quantum computer has done anything quantum at all? ... Finally, she had the makings of a “very beautiful Ph.D. dissertation.”

Read more at Quanta Magazine.

Articles, Not Books

25 September 2018

New study suggests that science dissertations increasingly are research article based, not book-length studies, reflecting the professionalization of the Ph.D.

Not every dissertation has to be a monograph. That’s what disciplinary associations in the humanities have been saying for years, as they advocate for a broader definition of what constitutes the doctoral capstone. But what about the natural sciences? New research from North Carolina State University suggests that math- and science-oriented institutions are seeing a big shift toward article-style dissertations, and that the trend is likely to continue.

Read more at Inside Higher Ed