CPW 2008 @ MIT – Awesomeness Guaranteed (Guest Entry) by Snively '11
On things that other colleges (namely their dean of admissions) will never letyou do.
By Joseph Colosimo ’12
So, I’m Joseph Colosimo. I’m a amateur blogger, coder, gamer, and web designer (rather, I try to be). I came from distant lands (Lexington, Massachusetts) to attend what is hailed as one of the best college events in the nation—Campus Preview Weekend at MIT. While I was there, I met old friends, made new friends, lifted a few bloggers (this one needs to be explained later), and learned quite a bit about the school that I’ll be attending in just a few short months.
My CPW story can be summed up in three pictures.
From L to R: Stu Schmill, Kim Vandiver (Dean for Undergrad Research), and me
Speaking of pictures, I apologize in advance for the poor quality. Most of the time, the issue was due to my own ineptitude, but the fact that my camera lacks image stabilization doesn’t help… Also, if you don’t want to read all of this boring stuff, skip right on over the stuff about Meet the Bloggers. This entry is way too long and I don’t have the heart to cut out any part of it. Feel free to just look at the pictures.
So, without further ado, the CPW story of an already-enrolled MIT “enginerd”.
I arrived at the campus at around 9 and almost immediately met up with a few friends, including one I haven’t seen in almost two years.
MIT’s cylindrical chapel
The “Little Dome”
A view down the side of one of the buildings
I then met my host, Nick, a course 6 major, dropped my stuff off at his room and attended 6.006–Intro to Algorithms, a course located in the Stata Center. As for the building, some love it, some hate it, but nobody can deny that the architecture is really, really creative.
Then, it was off to a Chinese food truck for some lunch, back to another class (6.004—Computation Structures), and to Kresge for an info session about residential life.
More pictures of the Little Dome and the Student Center
Then, the real fun began. We headed to Random Hall (guided by the awesome sidewalk chalk designs) for some liquid nitrogen ice cream. It bore a strange resemblance to Dippin’ Dots.
At 5:30, I joined my host and his fraternity as they took a group of us pre-frosh out for some Chinese food (yes, more Chinese food) at Mary Chung’s.
The girl on the far left is Ming. She’s a guest-blogger, too! We had an argument about the organization of the menu… she won.
Later, two Burton-Connor denizens gave us a tour of their beloved dorm. I may or may not have had the privilege of seeing Snively’s room… The suite style living system is a unique feature of this residence hall. Another unique feature is the extensive use of catwalks, roofs, windows, and other exterior features to move around the building.
After the tour, my friends and I joined the rest of the pre-frosh at the Welcome and Icebreaker. With awesome acts from the brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha, the Logs, Stu Schmill, and more, the welcome event and group games that followed were a great way to start off an unbelievable weekend.
Video is here.
The birthday boys and girls!
Soon, the marching band led the way to the CPW Festival.
And a conga line followed.
There was a ton of awesome stuff to look at, including a system that took a live webcam feed and rendered real-time transformations on it. This little gadget (involving multiple expensive projectors) was designed by Dmitri, a brother of tEp. Star Simpson was also giving rides on the “tall bike”.
People waving into a camera + really awesome algorithms = graphical goodness
Later, I went up to the Baker Rooftop Party and took a few pictures (8 second exposure times ftw).
Lastly, I went to a firehose lesson on physics (and also saw Dr. Wolfgang Ketterle’s laboratory) and crashed shortly afterwards.
My host was still asleep when I got up (I wake up early…). I started my morning by grabbing a bite to eat at Burton-Conner (the BC folks gave me a mini beach ball, which my cat loves). After breakfast, I took some random pictures.
Food brings everyone to the table.
Baker and its crazy staircase
The front of Baker
Yet another picture of the Student Center and the Little Dome
I enjoyed President Hockfield’s welcome and Amy Smith’s keynote lecture on the engineering and implementation of cheap, simple, and robust devices for developing countries.
Amy Smith and her team explain some of the devices that they have brought to developing countries.
The Pantonic Steel Orchestra (video) gives an awesome performance outside the Student Center.
The UROP Discussion Panel provided me with a nice introduction for my UROP tour (which was later in the day).
CSAIL, MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, hosted a really spectacular series of brief lectures and a tour of their projects.
Roberto Carli talks about his experiences at MIT and his choice to focus in Digital Systems Design.
There are two of these robots. One “talks” to the other, giving it dance instructions. Take a look at this video.
I went to the academics/arts fair and got a ton of free stuff (pens, food, flyers, more food, magnets, poker chips, more pens…). I was having so much fun that I was late for the UROP tour (luckily, they still let me in). The tour leader, Jill, showed us around the Laboratory of Organic Optics and Electronics and discussed the potential use of fluorescing materials in real-world applications.
The EECS Department open house was the last academic event that I attended that night. I picked up some more free stuff, and listened to a few lectures by EECS professors.
Professor Vladimir Bulovic discusses fluorescing materials and OLEDs.
After listening to Dorm Life @ MIT (they called numbers 107 and 105 on the raffle and I was 106), I went back to the student center to visit a certain open house that I was anxiously waiting for. Meet the folks who design all of the coolest computing projects at MIT:
That’s Keith Winstein on the left, one of the creators of qrpff, a 5-line script to decrypt DVD videos.
SIPB (Student Information Processing Board) creates all kinds of awesome computing projects at MIT, such as a script hosting service, a virtual server project, and much more. Their machine room is awesome, too.
This is where the magic happens.
Meet the Bloggers!
This is almost how awesome Meet the Bloggers was:
We started out by making root beer floats and listening to a brief introduction from the bloggers. We then got the chance to meet all of them (likeomgcelebritiesomgomgomg). I got a nice picture of my friend shaking hands with Stu Schmill, but more on that later.
But, I’m afraid those all paled in comparison to this…
(Sorry about the blur).
Yes, that’s right. Andy, Stephen, and Stephen picked up Stu Schmill. Can you pick up the dean of admissions at any other college? I don’t think so.
After all that awesomeness, I relaxed with a few friends, watched some movies at Burton-Conner, and crashed again.
Saturday was the last real day of CPW, so I decided to take it easy.
After a quick breakfast at Baker, and a few more pictures…
…I took a tour of MacGregor and went to the Student Activities Fair and signed up to be on a bunch of mailing lists. (I also had more free food.) Then, I had some boba, courtesy of the ATS.
Roaming around the fair…
Very brave souls.
Later, I took a tour of East Campus (which was amazing, by the way).
The floor numbers at EC are a little different…
I saw this on the way back.
I also quickly stopped by the Tech’s office to say hello and to learn a little more about the newspaper. Then, I headed to Kresge Auditorium for the closing ceremony. After a few words from the admissions staff, my friends and I enjoyed several performances from the Logs, a salsa dance team, the Chorallaries, Mariachi Internacional Del Tecnológico, and a Chinese Yoyo performer.
Video is here.
Video is here.
After the performances, I went to see Roadkill Buffet, a student improv comedy troupe. I was totally astounded by their ability to create hilarious scenes on the spot without a moment of pause.
I relaxed for the rest of the night, shot a few pictures, and did some other random stuff. On Sunday morning, I was sad to say goodbye, but happy to know that I’ll be back in the fall.
So how was my MIT CPW experience? I honestly can’t remember anything remotely negative about the weekend. Maybe that was from my extreme excitement or because of my childhood desire to get into MIT. Or, maybe it was because my experiences at CPW allowed me to capture a glimpse of MIT culture in a super-concentrated form. I have realized that I will not only be able to fit into MIT culture, I will thrive there as well. If you’re deciding on whether MIT is right for you, I hope that you discover whether or not you could thrive at MIT, too. At any rate, I had a ton of fun this weekend and I’m very thankful for all of the admissions staff for (a) letting me into MIT and (b) hosting the coolest weekend I’ve had in a long time.