"Every perception is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination."
-- Gerald Edelman, Second Nature: Brain Science and Human Knowledge
7 Using Anki to thoroughly read a research paper in an unfamiliar field9 Using Anki to thoroughly read a research paper in an unfamiliar fieldUsing Anki to thoroughly read a research paper in an unfamiliar fieldPart I: How to remember almost anything: the Anki systemAugmenting Long-term Memory2020-09-24Journal
After five or six such passes over the paper, I went back and attempted a thorough read. This time the purpose was to understand AlphaGo in detail. By now I understood much of the background context, and it was relatively easy to do a thorough read, certainly far easier than coming into the paper cold. Don't get me wrong: it was still challenging. But it was far easier than it would have been otherwise.
After doing one thorough pass over the AlphaGo paper, I made a second thorough pass, in a similar vein. Yet more fell into place. By this time, I understood the AlphaGo system reasonably well. Many of the questions I was putting into Anki were high level, sometimes on the verge of original research directions. I certainly understood AlphaGo well enough that I was confident I could write the sections of my article dealing with it. (In practice, my article ranged over several systems, not just AlphaGo, and I had to learn about those as well, using a similar process, though I didn't go as deep.) I continued to add questions as I wrote my article, ending up adding several hundred questions in total. But by this point the hardest work had been done.