I am a PhD student in the Systems Research Group (SRG) at the University College Dublin. The groups contains people working on pervasive computing, vizualization, and software verification. SRG is part of the Complex and Adaptive Systems Laboratory, which includes geologists, mathematicians, electrical engineers, and who knows what else. The point of putting all of us under one roof is to foster interdisciplinary research. In fact, at the last week's SRG Away Day we have been encouraged to engage strangers into conversation during lunch. I am a rather introvert person so I find such an action to be quite odd but, oh well, maybe I'll try.
What is an SRG Away Day you ask? It is like a team building trip, except it is less fun. It happens every six months somewhere in Dublin. We start with the Three Minute Madness. Each PhD student is supposed to condense six months of work in three minutes and then say a bit about future plans. Then the lecturers start preaching on some random subjects, such as "have a publication goal!" and "try to engage in interdisciplinary research!". The whole thing is quite boring. Then we go on a pub crawl. Or not — in case you have a deadline the next day.
Anyway, after my three minutes talk Aaron asked how do the things I do help with my PhD. I talked about three things I've done during the last six months: FreeBoogie, reachability analysis for annotated code, and edit and verify. In those two seconds I was formulating an answer to Aaron's question I might have well come up with the subject of my PhD thesis — the efficiency of software verification tools.