Archive for the ‘life’ Category

Find cheapest flight

April 26th, 2018

I booked a direct flight (non-stop) from San Francisco to Beijing for my father last October. The cost is ~$300. It’s fairly cheap.

The tool I used was If your departure date can be flexible, this website will give you the price on a range of days. Then I would pick up the cheapest date, and view details such as airline names/time.

You can’t book tickets on this website directly; but with the names of airlines you can go to the website of airlines and book there.

ITA software

ITA software

Author: Xu Cui Categories: life Tags:

Recommend 3blue1brown

April 24th, 2018

When I was in high school and saw the following equation, my mind was blown!

Why is Pi here? Isn’t it supposed to show up only in circle related problem? But the left-hand has nothing to do with circle. And it’s Pi squared!

Even today I still do not have an intuitive understanding why the above equation is true, until I watched a visual explanation from 3blue1brown. This video provide an elegant and visual proof of the equation. Go ahead and watch it:

The link is:

Author: Xu Cui Categories: life, math Tags:

Jobs available @ UCSF

May 30th, 2017

Posted for Fumiko Hoeft, Director of BrainLENS at UCSF:

Join us at UCSF Hoeft Neuroscience Lab and Precision Learning Center, a multicampus science of learning initiative consisting of 6 Univ. CA schools (Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, LA, Merced, SF) and Stanford.

We are expanding and hiring!

(1) 2 RESEARCH SCIENTISTS or POSTDOCS. Experts in signal processing, neuroimaging and big data analytics
(2) 2-3 RESEARCH ASSISTANTS. Interested in neuropsychological assessment (English, Spanish, Cantonese)

UCSF is situated at the heart of San Francisco, CA, and is a premier biomedical research institution, ranked second in the world for Neuroscience and Behavior by US News.

Author: Xu Cui Categories: life Tags:

RA and Postdoc position at Stanford

April 19th, 2017

Brain Dynamics Lab ( is a computational neuropsychiatry lab dedicated to developing computational methods for a better understanding of individual differences in brain functioning in healthy and patient populations.

Current projects include – [1] Characterizing spatiotemporal dynamics in brain activity to develop person- and disorder-centric biomarkers; [2] Understanding the role of brain dynamics for optimized learning and performance in individual and team settings; and [3] Developing methods that use network science (or graph theory), connectomics, machine learning, and signal processing for better understanding of brain dynamics.

To apply for either position — please email your CV, names of 3 references and a cover letter to

——RA position——
Applications are currently being invited for a Research Assistant position in the Brain Dynamics Lab @ Stanford, under the direction of Dr. Manish Saggar.

Responsibilities for this position include:
Developing neuroimaging experiments, collecting neuroimaging data, processing and analysis. Imaging modalities to be handled include functional and structural MRI, EEG, and fNIRS.

Job Qualifications:
[1] Bachelors in Computational Neuroscience, Cognitive Science, Computer Science, or other related scientific fields.
[2] Proficient in programming in Matlab, Python, and other related computing languages
[3] Experience with neuroimaging data collection (fMRI and/or fNIRS)
[4] Experience with one or more MRI/EEG/NIRS data analysis packages (e.g., AFNI, FSL, EEGLAB, HOMER etc.) is preferred, but not required.
[5] Ability to work effectively in a very collaborative and multidisciplinary environment.

—— Postdoc position ——
A full-time postdoctoral position is available in the Brain Dynamics Lab @ Stanford, under the direction of Dr. Manish Saggar.

The postdoctoral fellow will lead computational neuroimaging projects involving multimodal neuroimaging data (EEG+fMRI/fNIRS) to understand the role of fluctuations in intrinsic brain activity in healthy and patient populations. The fellow will participate in collecting and analyzing multimodal neuroimaging data, training and supervising students and research assistants, preparing manuscripts for publication, as well as assisting with grant applications. The position provides a unique training opportunity in computational modeling, neuroimaging, network science and machine learning.

Job Qualifications:
[1] PhD (or MD/PhD) or equivalent in computational neuroscience, computer science, psychology, statistics, bioengineering or a related field.
[2] Strong writing skills demonstrated by peer reviewed publications
[3] Proficient in programming in Matlab, Python, and other related computing languages
[4] Experience with one or more MRI/EEG/NIRS data analysis packages (e.g., AFNI, FSL, EEGLAB, HOMER etc.) is preferred, but not required.
[5] Familiarity with advanced data analysis methods, multivariate statistics, machine learning, data mining and visualization, and cloud computing is a plus.

— — — —

Author: Xu Cui Categories: brain, life Tags:

Postdoc position available in our lab at Stanford

August 24th, 2016

Our lab is hiring a “sports neuroscience postdoc”. See the detail below. If you are interested, please contact Reiko Riley (mentioning that you heard about this position from Xu’s blog):


A sports neuroscience postdoctoral fellowship is available in the Division of Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences (CIBSR), Stanford University School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry, to study the neurobiology of cycling-based exercise using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS).

The postdoctoral fellow will have the opportunity to develop and contribute to an innovative project in sports neuroscience, investigating the contribution of cycling exercise to brain function and cognition. The fellow will be involved in the development of a cycling exercise program protocol, brain-computer interfaces and computational methods to process and analyze data across multiple scientific levels. Successful candidates will have the opportunity to investigate whether cycling exercise can be used as a tool to improve attention in individuals with cognitive dysfunction such as ADHD, and the utility and feasibility of biometric tools to complement fNIRS. The trainee accepted into the program will work collaboratively with a program mentor (or mentors), who will help to define, enhance and monitor the trainee’s research program and career trajectory. The CIBSR team dedicated to fNIRS research includes Drs. Allan Reiss (CIBSR Director, Clinical Neuroscience and Neuropsychiatry), Hadi Hosseini and Ning Liu (Bioengineering), Jennifer Bruno (Developmental Neuropsychology), Manish Saggar and Xu Cui (Computational Neuroscience), and Joseph Baker (Experimental Psychology). The training program also offers didactic courses and activities (e.g., journal club and career lunches) as well as opportunities for diverse industry and academic collaborations to promote professional development. The Stanford School of Medicine is ranked #2 in the U.S. News & World Report rankings, with the highest NIH-funding-per-faculty ratio in the United States.

Requirements: M.D. or Ph.D. in neuroscience, cognitive science, computer science, biomedical engineering, biostatistics, physics, psychology, kinesiology or a related/relevant field. Applicants should have (or anticipate having) a Ph.D. and research background in computational neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience and/or functional brain imaging. Applicants with experience conducting Near Infrared Spectroscopy studies and data analysis procedures will receive preference. Experience in sports neuroscience is also a plus. Responsibilities will include manuscript preparation and grant preparation. The successful applicant will have well-developed problem solving skills, be able to manage several projects simultaneously, lead and mentor students and research assistants, have excellent computing as well as verbal and written English skills, and an aptitude for writing manuscripts and giving scientific presentations.

Application Materials Required - submit via email to our training coordinator Reiko Riley (

Current CV
Post Doctoral Application (link:
Research Statement (description on page 2 of the application form below)
2 - 3 Letters of Reference

Official announcement link:

Author: Xu Cui Categories: life Tags:

Remote Desktops

July 25th, 2016

I have quite a few devices now: one computer (PC) at Stanford, one (PC) at home, one Macbook Pro laptop, one iPhone and iPad. I am sometimes at work, sometime home, sometimes travelling, sometimes meeting people. One thing I always want to achieve is to be able to access the computers from anywhere.

I did some research and Google’s Chrome Remote Desktop is a good choice. It is also free. It is a plugin of Chrome browser. For iphone/iPad, Google also offers an app. I installed Chrome Remote Desktop on all my devices, and now I can access any computer from any other devices.

remote desktop

remote desktop

This is what I hoped for - a full connection. But at this particular moment I can’t use the home computer to remote others. I got the famous “some required components are missing” error and don’t know how to solve it. If you know a solution, please let me know.

Author: Xu Cui Categories: life Tags:

3 monitors

July 18th, 2016

To be more “productive”, I recently upgraded my work space. I used to have 2 monitors side by side. Both of them are View Sonic but they are of different size and one is old. So I purchased two monitors (Dell U2415). Together with one original View Sonic monitor, now I get 3 monitors on my desk.

3 monitors

3 monitors

The left one is the original view sonic one with resolution 1920 x 1080. I make it vertical because I write a lot of codes and a vertical placement allows me see more lines of codes at the same time. So this monitor is almost dedicated to writing codes.

The right two are Dell U2415 with resolution 1920 x 1200. According to some people, “Dell UltraSharp series is a gold standard in excellence which programmers have used and loved for years”. I myself do love it a lot. These monitors have a very thin bezel, which is ideal for side-by-side placement. I use the middle screen for the current job (Excel, browsing etc), and the right screen for supportive function (e.g. wechat, FileZilla, QQ, windows explorer etc).

Of course, to make the 3 monitor setup possible, I need a trip-monitor stand. The one I use is SIIG 13″-27″ Articulated Freestanding Triple Monitor Desk Stand. It does an OK job. One of the reason I chose it because it does not need a grommet. I am using varidesk and there is not much space under the table.

Overall, I like the 3 monitors a lot. I do feel I am more “productive” :)

Author: Xu Cui Categories: life, technology Tags:

Stork is my best research assistant (2): Grant alert

April 15th, 2016



  1. Does my boss have money?
  2. I am looking for a postdoc position; does my future boss have enough funding to support me?
  3. How much money was awarded to my field (e.g. NIRS)? And who got the money? What are they going to do with the money?

Have you ever wondered these questions? In the early years as a graduate students, I rarely asked “money” questions. It does not sound what a “true” scientist should care.  I was even puzzled when I realized my boss spent more than half of his time writing grant applications - shouldn’t he spend most of his time doing experiments and write papers?

As a postdoc I found myself spend a lot of time writing grant applications; and realized my career is critically depending on the success of securing enough funding. I also see a few colleagues had to leave academia due to lack of funding.  It would be nice if there is a tool which can notify me of the funding situation in a timely manner.

Stork is such a tool.

I entered some keywords into Stork, including “pearl chiu” (my former colleague) and “nirs brain” (my research field). Below is a letter I got from Stork:

Stork notifies me of awarded grants

Stork notifies me of awarded grants

With the information Stork provides, I know who in our field got grants and what they proposed. In fact the 3rd one is my colleague Manish who is interested in using NIRS in resting-state brain network study. I also got to know Pearl got a big gran, so I sent her a congratulation note.

Compared to journal papers alert, grants alert helps me to know the trend of my field much earlier. This is because publications are usually a few years delayed from grants.

If you also want to be the first one to know new grants in your field, why don’t you give Stork a try? I’m sure you’ll be delighted!

Author: Xu Cui Categories: brain, life, programming, stork, web, writing Tags:

今天看到好视频:老树画画 《做一个梦》

February 10th, 2016




Author: Xu Cui Categories: life, opinion Tags:

Stand-up Working

January 2nd, 2016

When working, I spend most of my time in front of a computer - writing emails, programming, data analysis, powerpoint, web browsing etc. For many years I always use one position in front of a computer - sitting, similar to this picture:



Since last month this has changed. I bought Varidesk’s product and put it on my table. Varidesk makes it very easy to adjust its height. Now I spend quite some time a day standing while working.



The one I bought is called “Height-Adjustable Standing Desk - VARIDESK Cube Plus 40 - White”. It costs $375, which is not cheap. However, considering this is a life-time investment, I still feel it’s worth it.

Author: Xu Cui Categories: life Tags: