Will I submit my PhD thesis for examination before 1 January 2024?
Dec 31

This question resolves YES if, before 1 January 2024, I submit my dissertation for examination at the Australian National University and post proof of this submission to a public source (eg, the comments of this market). The thesis does not need to be examined or accepted in order for positive resolution (ie, I do not need to graduate or be awarded the degree by 1 January 2024), but it must be submitted.

A daily log of my writing progress is available here.

I will not trade on this market.

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shankypanky avatar

Market or no market, I'm pulling for you! 🙌

Hope your health journey takes a positive turn and your thesis chugs along, and that you're celebrating both things soon.

NicoDelon avatar
Nicopredicts YES

I couldn’t find the answer below. What’s the word count target?

Lorxus avatar
Lorxus Mathfoxpredicts NO

@NicoDelon 60k words

Gabrielle avatar
Gabriellepredicts YES

@Lorxus You just need two more days like February 26th, and you'll be done!

Joking aside, I wish you the best with it!

Binaryworks avatar
Binary Worksbought Ṁ250 of YES

You have absolutely got this. It’s never easy but all things that are worthwhile require a struggle. Wishing you all the best with the migraines. It’s something that a few people in my family struggle with so I’m very invested in seeing you succeed!

RobertCousineau avatar
Robert Cousineau bought Ṁ50 YES from 19% to 20%
Conflux avatar
Confluxpredicts NO

Two questions about the thesis submission process that will get more relevant if we get into Nov/Dec:

(1) Is this the kind of thing that you could submit at 11:59 on New Year's Eve? Or is there some sort of process that has to happen for it to be considered "submitted"?

(2) Suppose it's down to the wire - late December and it's tantalizingly close to completion. Would you prioritize getting it done in 2023 as opposed to early 2024 for the sake of this market if it came at the cost of health/other goals? Or do you want this market to reflect the "natural" submission date?

galen avatar

@Conflux Sorry it took me so long to reply to these, but—
(1) I looked into this at the start of the year, and weirdly, now: yes! The process for it being considered 'submitted' is now a single web form.
(2) Probably not? I'm maybe 30% likely to rush towards the line? In the past I've had a tendency to 'push myself too hard' and underestimate the costs of doing so. I'm trying to correct this, and my supervisor (who is aware of this tendency & has a vested interest in me being energetic for other work with her post-phd) seems strongly against me trying to "smash it out".

galen avatar

Quick Update: as close-observing forecasters might have already worked out, my health continues to be by far the biggest challenge to my writing & submission. My super-subjective view is that this market is slightly overpriced right now; however, given how poorly calibrated I seem to be w/r/t questions about my own life, I defer to the market on this one!

While I'm very reluctant to go into much more public detail than I already have about my health in the comment section of a random (if delightful & remarkably friendly!) forecasting website, I also really value having an external assessment — and, as I've said before, I subsidised liquidity on this market in the hopes of encouraging accuracy.

Essentially: I've been getting pretty crippling migraine headaches most days & have been in and out of hospital a bit as a result. I've ruled out most of the Catastrophic Things that might be causing them. Unfortunately, I've also found the first-line treatments to be ineffective, and I don't have a clear sense of how long it'll take to address.

Forecasters are very welcome to contact me privately if they feel that more detail would help them make an accurate judgment.

OllieBase avatar
Ollie Basepredicts YES

@galen Sorry to hear that, wishing you a speedy recovery!

NicoDelon avatar
Nicopredicts NO

@galen Good luck! Prioritize your health you've already made a lot of progress.

KatjaGrace avatar
Katja Gracepredicts YES

@galen Good luck recovering!

If you are in the market for third-line migraine cures, here are non-obvious things that help me, though I get much milder migraines than you:

- play guitar (large effect, not just like 'eh, a bit relaxing')

- beer (actually no longer helps me, but did for a while)

- xanax (not with beer)

- migrastil migraine stick

- chili nasal spray (e.g. sinus plumber headache nasal spray)

- eat spicy food

- heat on head (ok maybe obvious)

Conflux avatar
Confluxpredicts NO

@galen Oh no! I somehow forgot about this market for months and am only now coming back to it. I get (non-migraine) headaches and really hate them, so I'm rooting for you to overcome your headaches and get your dissertation finished by 2 Jan :)

Gnostic avatar
Gnosticbought Ṁ20 of YES

I'm rooting for you!

galen avatar

@Gnostic Thanks so much; I appreciate it!

AlexanderLeCampbell avatar
Alexander Campbell

how many pages we shooting for here?

Ouroboros avatar
Calibrated Chameleonpredicts NO

@AlexanderLeCampbell IIRC the goal was stated as ~60k words earlier

galen avatar

@ChemChameleon Yeah, that’s accurate. ~60k.

Conflux avatar
Confluxsold Ṁ1,883 of NO

sorry for pointless bets, was inflating unrealized profit since I was on the border of league promotion (ended up losing by M$10 lol) (yes, bad incentives, etc)

Ouroboros avatar
Calibrated Chameleonpredicts NO

A few questions:

1) Can you give us some sense of what you envision a reasonable timeline might look like at the moment? E.g. start writing in July, get preliminary feedback in August, finish writing in October, send to PI & get edits in early November, final draft by mid-December? If you have some sense.

2) Also, how much/how many rounds of editing do you plan to do?

3) Do you have more notes you plan to draw upon, or will it be more new writing now?

4) What do you consider the greatest risk to your goal of submitting by the end of the year?

galen avatar


1. The timeline you're outlining there is basically what my supervisor and I agreed on. She seems much more confident than I am in "not many edits needed" based on what she's seen so far of my earlier notes, drafts, papers etc. My plan is to get preliminary edits (per chapter) from August thru October, then spend November tightening & doing additional edits, and then submit.

2. I expect no structural edits — the chapter outlines are basically in place — but do expect two rounds of edits.

3. All of the writing I'm doing is drawing on existing notes & significantly more chaotic drafts. Me saying this probably gives you a false impression, though, as I've found my notes/drafts pretty much all need rewriting to be useful: there's not much copy/pasting, unfortunately, and a lot of "turning 2000 words of nested dot points into 500 words of coherent prose".

4. I see three main sources of risk:

- Health. I've pushed myself pretty hard to complete a tonne of non-thesis work (also with my supervisor) over the past few months, and that's definitely highlighted the fact that my health still isn't at 100%. The fact that I've been able to push myself so hard is a good sign, but I'm conscious of the fact that I'm planning on an extended period of intense work while still having migraine & fatigue issues that are pretty significant compared to Me From Three Years Ago.

- Reconnecting with the literature. I feel extremely apprehensive about having spent so long not adding any words to The Thesis Document, especially given the pace of some of the work related to my thesis topic. I don't currently have a good sense of how much of a time/attention penalty I'll need to pay for my distance.

- Paperwork. There's a lot of bureaucratic requirements that need to be met before any thesis submission, and the process has changed at my university recently. At this point, I'm kinda just trusting that my supervisors & I haven't missed anything in the new process. Given the horror stories I've heard from some friends/colleagues, though, my sense is that a single missed form/requirement — discovered from this point onwards — could be more than enough of a time suck to derail a December submission.

KatjaGrace avatar
Katja Gracepredicts YES

@galen any update on your intentions?

galen avatar

@KatjaGrace Yes! I made a pretty explicit plan with my primary supervisor in ~April: we agreed that I would to front-load/prioritise non-thesis work until somewhere around the 17th July. I'm still on track in that respect — my last work deadline is the 14th; the main event is tonight — so my intention is to start looking at the thesis again over the coming week, and then focus almost exclusively on writing from late July onwards.

NicoDelon avatar
Nicobought Ṁ20 of NO

@galen What’s the thesis about?

galen avatar

@NicoDelon The thesis aims to develop a more precise account of 'representations' in artificial neural networks. (I'm in a weird interdisciplinary space, but mostly CS & Philosophy.)

At a super high level, I'm arguing that — if we take the current 'mechanistic interpretability' literature seriously — we need a new vocabulary for describing the internal contents of trained models & what 'objects' those contents map to. While lots of the philosophy work in epistemology / 'models in science' was useful when describing 'simpler' models, that work is not fit-for-purpose when describing ANN architectures. Trying to use common 'philosophy of scientific modelling' vocabulary causes people to be predictably confused & surprised (in practice) when dealing with current state of the art models. I argue that most of the reason the existing frameworks fail is because of equivocation / loose talk about what counts as a 'representation'.

NicoDelon avatar
Nicopredicts NO

@galen Pretty cool!