I haven’t posted in a long time. This is largely because I have been swamped with work. This term is a crash course in time management.
I’ll have more real updates soon – I actually have some planned – but I figured that I’d let you know what I’m taking this term, since some of you might be interested.
9.07 (Statistical Methods) – It’s the probability and statistics class for course 9 (Brain & Cognitive Sciences). It’s, well, a statistics class, with a focus on neuroscience-related applications. All course 9 students have to take a probability and statistics class (either 9.07 or one of the others) for the major. Honestly, I hate the textbook more than just about any other textbook I’ve had to use, but I like the material. It’s relevant to what I want to do.
6.033 (Computer Systems Engineering) – Most people who take this do so because they’re in a major for which it’s required. Also, because they’re computer geeks, and this is a class that plays to the strengths of computer geeks. I’m in it for two major reasons. The first is that I’m a systems geek. Not computer systems in particular, but systems in general. I study the brain, remember? That’s an interesting system, there. I like thinking about systems, and patterns. The second reason is that I don’t have as much computer clue as I’d like, and I’d like to get more. The technical papers that we read are interesting, though I struggle with the jargon. They’ve covered, among other things, the design of X Windows, the structure of the UNIX time-sharing system, and the design of the Ethernet.
6.170 (Laboratory in Software Engineering) – Death by Java. The computer language, not the coffee, though I guess if you’re a coffee drinker and don’t manage your time well it could be death by that form of Java too. It lives up to its reputation as a time sink. I like that so much of it is hands-on, and that the software we’re writing actually seems like a useful application rather than an exercise (problem sets 2-6 involve different aspects of building a software system that finds the shortest routes between points in Cambridge and Boston, kind of like Google Maps but local and with some different features).
SP.776 (Design for Demining) – This one is getting an entry of its own soon. Throughout the world, there are land mines left over from military conflicts, causing injury, death, and economic loss to civilians. Throughout the world, deminers are working to clear the land of mines so that people can inhabit it safely. We design products to make their job safer, more efficient, and more effective. Some products from past years are now in use throughout the humanitarian demining community.
Good luck to those waiting for their college decisions!