As the third installment of the series in which Fellows of the EATCS provide their advice to the budding TCS researcher, I am posting the advice from Giuseppe Italiano. Happy reading!
The advice I would give to a student interested in TCS There’s a great quote by Thomas Huxley: “Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.” When working through your PhD, you might end up focusing on a narrow topic so that you will fully understand it. That’s really great! But one of the wonderful things about Theoretical Computer Science is that you will still have the opportunity to learn the big picture!
The advice I would give a young researcher in TCS Keep working on the problems you love, but don’t be afraid to learn things outside of your own area. One good way to learn things outside your area is to attend talks (and even conferences) outside your research interests. You should always do that!
A short description of a research topic that excites me at this moment in time (and possibly why) I am really excited by recent results on conditional lower bounds, sparkled by the work of Virginia Vassilevska Williams et al. It is fascinating to see how a computational complexity conjecture such as SETH (Strong Exponential Time Hypothesis) had such an impact on the hardness results for many well-known basic problems. (Editor's notes: You might be interested in the slides for the presentations given at this workshop that was co-located with STOC 2015.)