February 13, 2007

24: Conference Submission

Lawrence Saul has obtained a plot summary for the FOX network's new series 24: conference submission, which begins


Midnight - 1:00 am
Paper exists in skeletal form, with preliminary results. All seems well until hero exposes shadowy bugs in implementation of core routines.


1:00 am - 2:00 am
Hero assembles crack team of students and postdocs by email. Suffers moral anguish knowing that one or more will need to be sacrificed for greater good.

and ends

21 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Background section cut and pasted from previous papers. Double-column format forces re-typesetting of all equations.
22 9:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Rumor of extended deadline is picked up on Internet chatter. Sources are tracked down and ultimately discredited.
23 10:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Figures and references added to paper, which consequently overflows to ten pages. Frantic pruning. Rough draft submitted at 10:58 pm.
24 11:00 pm - Midnight
Proofreading reveals extensive typos and sign errors. Paper teeters on brink of eight page limit through multiple revisions. In act of ultimate sacrifice, hero removes all self-citations. Final submission: 11:59:59 pm.

Lawrence observes that this story arc is "frighteningly realistic".

Fernando Pereira's comment:

I prefer the art-house version in which the hero is convinced by older, slower colleagues of the futility of conference deadlines and the subtle beauty of carefully baked theorems, and agrees to take the time to write a journal submission and enjoy the warmth of family life.

Posted by Mark Liberman at February 13, 2007 07:36 AM