Prank Research Paper Makes the Grade
Sometimes jargon really is gibberish.
Take the "scientific" papers generated by a computer program and submitted by three MIT computer science students to a scientific conference. One of the papers, "Rooter: A Methodology for the Typical Unification of Access Points and Redundancy," was accepted by World Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics 2005 as a non-reviewed paper. "The Influence of Probabilistic Methodologies on Networking" was rejected.
Graduate students Jeremy Stribling, Max Krohn and Dan Aguayo had doubts about the standards of some conference organizers, who they say "spam people with e-mail."
"We were tired of getting these e-mails from these conference people, so we thought it would be fun to write software that generates meaningless research papers and submit them," said Stribling. All three of the students are doing research in the Parallel and Distributed Operating Systems Group at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT.
The paper's acceptance proves their point, Stribling said. Their computer program generates research papers using "context-free grammar" and includes graphs, figures and citations. The program takes real words and places them correctly in sentences, but the words used don't make sense together.
"Our aim here is to maximize amusement, rather than coherence," say the three on their web site.
They were so amused when the paper was accepted that they told their story on the web, asking people for donations to help them attend the conference in Orlando, Fla., July 10-13 to present the "Rooter" paper.
"Our current plan is to go there and give a completely randomly generated talk, delivered entirely with a straight face," say the three on their web site. "However, this is very expensive for grad students such as ourselves. So, we ask that you consider making us a small PayPal donation to help us toward this dream of ours."
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