The glass is half empty right now

Maybe this will be therapeutic…

I’m still really bummed about finding out all the research I was doing on coming up with a more efficient implicit scheme for the Immersed Boundary method using some kind of projection method variant[1] was all for naught. I believe I can argue pretty convincingly that it is very unlikely anyone could find a very efficient scheme using such methods, at least for the type of problem we are considering. So, instead of finding a really cool method and explaining that one method, I get to explain a ridiculously over-generalized set of possibilities and state why people shouldn’t waste months/years of their time looking for an efficient method within that mess (and point out the specific things that would need to be fixed in order to obtain an efficient scheme using such methods). Oh, and I get to try out a few more methods that don’t fit into that general classification and compare them as well. *sigh*

It also negatively affects our (my?) previous paper a bit too (I did about 95% of the work, so problems with it bother me more than the others involved). I thought that paper was a pretty big result, as it pointed out that some “common knowledge” held in the community was in fact just myths. It answered some questions that have been outstanding for a decade or more in the community, and was supposed to greatly assist in finding an efficient implicit scheme. But, unfortunately, all those results are merely academic unless an efficient implicit implementation can be found. Yeah, I know, I’m a mathematician so it’s supposed to be okay (and even desirable according to some mathematicians I’ve talked to) for practicality to be orthogonal to my work. But I just don’t work that way. If it has no practical use, who cares?[2]

In an effort to cheer me up, Bob has told me a couple of times that “negative results are undervalued too much; they’re still results.” And, well, writing up this stuff should still allow me to finish this calendar year. So the glass isn’t completely empty. Maybe just halfway. ;-)

[1] I need a name for this that more accurately specifies what I mean. But I don’t have anything better right now.

[2] Yes, that might sound a bit odd to those who have read closely and know more about my area of study. The practicality of my research to society, even if I had been much more successful, would still be relatively low. It’s one of the things that has bothered me the most about my doctoral studies, and is one of the things I’m determined to change when I finish up this year, one way or another.

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