I am currently working (not in academia) after having graduated from college recently. I hope to apply to PhD programs at the end of the year.
I worked with a professor on a paper about a year ago and it got published in a top-5 AI conference. I was hoping to ask them to write my letter of recommendation when I apply for PhD programs. In fact, my first choice would be to work in their lab doing research similar to what I did with them earlier.
I wanted to explore the idea in my paper a little further and see if I could improve it on my own time. My paper presented a new AI algorithm to do a task that performed better than the baseline method. While doing this exploration, I realized that the results obtained in my paper with my novel algorithm could also be obtained with a slightly different, trivial baseline that behaves randomly. The baseline used in the paper behaved uniformly.
So, basically, my novel algorithm does just as well as a baseline method performing randomly. Nothing in the paper that got accepted to the conference is wrong, but it seems like the new algorithm I presented actually isn't all that effective.
What do I do? I'm obviously hesitant to tell the professor I worked with since they would be my strongest recommender and I want to work in their lab. I also know of other groups that want to use this algorithm. Should I tell them that they might as well use this random baseline?