is overly complicated. Essentially you select 4 groups of 5
professors, this goes into Prof. Gill's magical algorithm and you get your final
10 examiners. Despite this apparent black box there are some strategies that
can be used to optimize your selection.
How does it work?: There are 4 groups labeled 1,2,3 and 4, where
1 is your first preference and 4 is your last preference. In general, four professors
will be selected from group 1, three from group 2, two from group 3 and 1 from group 4.
Hence, you ideally put your most favored professors in group 1 and so on. A further
restriction is that only 6 professors from each area can be chosen.
Main strategy: The main strategy in selecting professors is to exploit
the fact that every professor is human and has a limited amount of students he
or she can examine in one week. Some professors are well known to be popular
and are selected in group 1 and 2 by many students (You can ask older students
who they are). As a result, their quota is quickly exhausted. Hence, if a popular
professor is selected in group 3 or 4, it is highly unlikely that you will get
that professor as an examiner. You can use this to your advantage by selecting
some popular professors not in your area of expertise in groups 3 and 4 since you will not get them anyway.
This will boost the probability of getting the other less popular professors you
selected in those groups.
Example confirmation email:
Quals preference form for
Submitted at 2011-01-04 20:42:40
Group 1: Thomas Cover, Antony Fraser-Smith, Hector Garcia-Molina, Tsachy Weissman, Howard Zebker
Group 2: John Gill, Andrea Goldsmith, Robert M. Gray, Dwight Nishimura, Balaji Prabhakar
Group 3: Donald Cox, Brad Osgood, John Pauly, Julius O. Smith, Benjamin Van Roy
Group 4: Stephen Harris, Lambertus Hesselink, Philip Levis, Nick McKeown, Fouad Tobagi