Why We Do Research

Condensed version of "Why We Go to the Woods" by Dan Reed, Computing Research News, March 2007.

What do we want to do with our lives? Do we get up each day and go to work merely to pay for groceries and make mortgage payments? We tend to become immersed in the minutiae of life and lose sight of the big picture. When we give it some thought, we realize we are driven by the desire to make a difference, to make the world a better place today than it was yesterday. The impact we make is driven by our passions and desires, not by external expectations. If you love what you do and you are passionate about it, it will pay enough. If the passion isn't there, the tasks become drudgery. Today, in almost every case of exploration and discovery, computing research is revolutionizing our approaches, and we are a part of it. Computing research is driven by the same creative impulses that shape art, music, literature and the other sciences. We are artists in that most malleable of media, the world of computing.