Submitted by Confused_Electron t3_ybmppu in MachineLearning


English is my second language. When I'm reading ML papers, especially when writers are non-english speakers (generally Chinese), I see phrases that I have never seen before and I just don't get what they are trying to say. For example, today I have seen this (emphasis mine):

"It utilizes tensors as the fundamental scheduling units to consist with the layer-wise computations enforced in DL performance primitives cuDNN [7]. "

What does it mean? Nothing comes up on Google when I search. Too many times I have skipped sentences and failed to understand papers completely because of things like this. Is my English not adequate or does committees miss typos(?) like this?

DOI: 10.1145/3178487.3178491



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idrajitsc t1_ith7tyr wrote

It means to be consistent with, essentially they designed their system to be compatible with cuDNN. That usage is grammatically correct, but it'd be very uncommon for a modern native English speaker to phrase it that way.


Confused_Electron OP t1_ith85tq wrote

Can you point me to a source, a dictionary maybe, that shows the phrase?


idrajitsc t1_ith8ogn wrote


malenkydroog t1_ithax0f wrote

Huh, native english speaker here (American). I was completely unaware of the 4th usage in your link - I can't say I've ever heard it used that way. Learned something new!


idrajitsc t1_ithe8pk wrote

Yeah non-native speakers can expose you to some fun quirks of English, either because they learned it more formally or because it's analogous to something in their first language. 'Obtain' as an intransitive verb is another one that non-native speaker academics like and native speakers never use.


IluvitarTheAinur t1_ith8prt wrote

I think you are not reading academic papers correctly. It's not useful to get obsessed with every turn of phrase.

In this particular instance, they most likely wanted to say "scheduling units to be consistent with the layer-wise computations enforced in ..." .You can easily realize this by checking section 3.1 of the paper.

The introduction of any paper is generally the least useful and most vague component, it is useful for context and when you are writing a paper but not for understanding the contents of the paper itself.


simiananomaly t1_itic16r wrote

I would say though the intro is the most important part. People with little time will read only the intro, especially the last paragraph of it, to get an idea of what the authors wanted to do and why, and read the rest only if really interested. This meaning it should be the part written with most care and clarity.


IluvitarTheAinur t1_itio97a wrote

I disagree, once you are in the field, you look at abstract->figures->conclusions.

Introductions are useful if you are reading a paper outside your field or if you are hunting for citations to write your own paper related to the topic.

So as far as getting citations is concerned, introductions are pretty low priority


simiananomaly t1_itl49eu wrote

Right if you know what it's going to be about, abstract and figures on top, agreed (and titles in the ML domain go a long way it seems). We often read papers in a very wide range of domains and applications and well-written intros are a very good parameter to decide what will be read or not, I suppose for people writing overarching reviews it tends to be the case too.


fastglow t1_ithc1il wrote

I think it is also true that this sentence is very poorly phrased, and that this can be a barrier to comprehension.


IluvitarTheAinur t1_ithduvu wrote

This is true, but also we can't expect papers to adapt to us, we have to adapt to them and build practices that will help parse them quickly.

This is definitely an error but blaming the author doesn't get you anywhere so might as well learn how to mitigate the issues.


fastglow t1_ithe11n wrote

Fair enough, but as a reviewer, I would point out those errors and expect them to be corrected.


idrajitsc t1_ithfwh0 wrote

It's not an error, it's grammatically correct. It's unusual phrasing, which can be confusing, but it's not wrong and the meaning is pretty clear from context anyway.


fastglow t1_ithh6eu wrote

>primitives cuDNN

That is not grammatical


Confused_Electron OP t1_ith9v0e wrote

I admit my reading skills are sub-par. I tend to re-read sentences multiple times because it doesn't stick to my memory. So I try to fully comprehend before moving on otherwise I tend to get lost due to snowballing.

I'm trying to follow this to decide which papers I should fully read so I'm doing only the first pass (abstract+intro+conclusion).


IluvitarTheAinur t1_ithdfmo wrote

The mutiple pass approach is good, but it would help to dynamically switch between passes when you get stuck somewhere or just mark where you are stuck till the next pass.

The first pass will leave you with more questions than answers, your job is to judge whether the questions are interesting enough for the next pass.


Confused_Electron OP t1_itherrh wrote

>dynamically switch

Do you mean to move on to second pass if I get stuck on first?


IluvitarTheAinur t1_ithfdpj wrote



Confused_Electron OP t1_ithfohm wrote

That would take too much of my time tho. For example I don't need to know the specifics of the papers I'm reading currently.. Broad ideas are enough for me.


IluvitarTheAinur t1_ithgfs2 wrote

Then you have to make peace with not understanding all the phrases but only the gist of the problem the paper is tackling.

If you are interested enough in a question to ask on a forum, it might be a better idea to go through the paper in the second pass first.

Reading papers, at least initially is slow and hard, but you will pick up pace and learn to navigate it with enough effort.


entropyvsenergy t1_ith6v4w wrote

That sentence doesn't make any sense to me as a native English speaker either.


Confused_Electron OP t1_ith73o2 wrote

I think they meant "correspond" but I don't now about primitives in CUDA DNN library (cuDNN) so I'm not sure.

Edit: Also maybe they meant something along the lines of (emphasis mine) "(...) primitives in/of cuDNN."


dark-ascension t1_itk7orf wrote

This reminds me of one time, I was halfway through reading a very important paper and in the model architecture part, they had used certain references to some data preprocessing steps from earlier. But, the 'subtrees' being referred to in this section were not the same as the 'subtrees' from the preprocessing part. Usually i don't feel satisfied until i understand every step in a paper that's imp to my work. I was staring at the same paragraph for an entire day. That day was an L.

Next day, my senior had one look at it and asked me if the authors were Chinese and they were. He said it's common to have such unclear statements in Chinese papers but most of the times, the maths also checks out, so not to worry.


DanoPinyon t1_ithe5em wrote

>"It utilizes tensors as the fundamental scheduling units to consist with

The editor and reviewers missed this error.

I just reviewed a paper from an Asian speaker and ignored odd turns of phrase and noted the errors. Most University reading isn't done to contemplate every word and errors in papers exist.


rehrev t1_ith7qns wrote

That means the reviewers didn't read the papers with attention, the authors either don't know their own level of competency(because they didn't proof read or ask someone to proofread) or don't care. I'm sorry if the paper is interesting but it is probably not very good either.


Confused_Electron OP t1_ith8fvh wrote

I'm trying to compose the ideas in the area so it's good enough for me at least.