Onboarding at the CUSP Lab

Welcome to the lab! Thanks for being part of our work and journey. This page will help you set up all the necessary and useful things to have a fun, productive and collaborative work environment. If you are also new at TU Delft, see the end of this page for more information.



Communication

We use various forms of communications channels. Before the pandemic, we used to often walk into each other’s offices, or the standard lab room to discuss new ideas or problems, ask for coffee or lunch, or schedule meetings into the future. However, since we all started working from home and found new ways to adapt to this situation, we have been relying on a lot of tools to stay in contact. We have finally settled on Microsoft Teams for individual meetings, a university-supported Jitsi service called VideoBelPilot for group meetings, and Email and Slack for written communication.

Lab Meetings (weekly online on VideoBelPilot)

Lab meetings are the soul of this lab. The objective of these meetings is to grow and learn from each other by leveraging the diverse skills and experience of lab members. This will ultimately lead to the successful completion of our projects and advancements in Computational Urban Science & Policy.

We can host a useful and practical meeting by,

  • establishing a participatory and democratic research culture
  • sharing our ideas and helping transform and develop the objectives of our research
  • practising our communication and presentation skills
  • providing support and integration to all group members
  • practising team problem-solving and decision-making
  • fostering critical thinking and creativity
  • celebrating individual and team achievements
  • disseminating essential and timely information

Weekly lab meetings are a chance to tackle all of our problems as a team. You are expected to introduce a problem or a result of your analyses to the group in 5 minutes. An excellent way to utilise this time for feedback and discussions is to start with a clear and high-level but brief description of your problem/analyses and a question posed to the group. All lab members come from diverse backgrounds with individual experiences that may offer a solution to your problem.

These discussions could be anything among,

  • Data collection
  • Problematic data, confusing results
  • Analysing, visualising or interpreting results
  • Analyses that didn’t work – Analyses that worked
  • Building models
  • Coding or model structures
  • An idea for a project
  • An abstract for a conference submission
  • A paper you read
  • A paper outline you have to write
  • A literature review
  • A tutorial on a technique you mastered
  • Something you learned in class
  • Talking to decision-makers and stakeholders of your project
  • Disseminating your findings
  • Designing a tool for decision-makers

You are as important as any other member of this lab, so your participation is necessary for the growth of the collective work we do. Please make sure that when you speak to the lab members, you are addressing everyone, and they understand the big picture of what you are describing. Only then will they be able to help you in those 5 minutes. Likewise, when something is not clear, ask others who are describing their problem. Understandably, we all have different educational backgrounds, so it is okay to ask a follow-up question for clarifications.

To participate and benefit from these lab meetings, you may be asked at some point in time to,

  • organise and/or manage a lab presentation schedule,
  • arrange an engaging speaker you want to hear from,
  • approach an organisation for collaboration
  • take responsibility for some activity in the lab
  • facilitate a meeting, or
  • provide feedback on a project or problem

Individual Meetings (online on Microsoft Teams)

You are going to have weekly individual meetings with me so we can dive deeper into the contents of your research and problems you may be facing. Please read this article on how to make your supervision meetings more effective and successful for yourself. We must set a plan for each session, and this article is an excellent resource to achieve that.

Email

Use email if you want to communicate with me. Please do expect some delays during teaching quarters Q1 and Q3. If you want to archive your conversations, this is the best channel of communication.

Slack

We use Slack for daily and impromptu discussions. Conversations are not archived here. Let me know with a short email what email address you prefer to use for Slack and join the lab group here.



Documenting your research

Keeping notes

You must keep thorough notes of your research in an archivable manner. This will make it easier for you to keep track of the things you have done in the past, what you want to and need to do in the future and important references that will support you in your work. By taking notes, you can account for your own actions and become a more disciplined researcher. Besides, we will learn a lot from you sharing insights from your notes at meetings. There are many great ways of keeping notes: Google Docs, Evernote, Word, Notepadd++, Atom, Pages, Jupyter or iPython notebooks, etc. Choose whichever tools fit best into your workflow, but make sure there’s an easy way of sharing your notes when you need to (e.g. a PDF).

You should also take notes during meetings so you can easily track the progress of your project.

Writing papers

We usually write our papers in LaTeX on Overleaf. With your TU Delft email address, you can upgrade to a professional account for free. With this, you can use Dropbox and GitHub integration, track changes in collaborative writing projects, manage private projects with invitations, and more.

You will find some useful writing tips here.

Blog

Blog posts are a great way of disseminating your research using approachable and straightforward writing. It publicises your efforts quickly and occasionally brings attention from other academics and policymakers to your work. We have a blog hosted here where you could contribute as and when you like. It also helps us clarify our research for the general public, people who are funding our research.



New at TUD

A wiki is in development. We will assign you a buddy who can be your friend when administrative tasks become complex or what you need to do is not clear because it is hidden in all the red tape. We have all gone through it, and it is likely as easy as asking that buddy for the right link.

Wifi

The best wifi to use on campus at TU delft is eduroam. You can access it using your netid and password.

VPN

If you want to access resources on campus, like servers, computational nodes or articles accessible through university memberships, you should set up a VPN.

E-services

For anything related to your personal information at TU Delft, the first point of information is your e-service portal. If you need more information, contact the service-desk through the self-service portal.



Computation

This is work under progress. We are trying to set-up a high-performance cluster for the university/faculty/lab. As one will become available, we will release more information here.