And lastly this is Part 3 in my course description! You can find part 1 about Algorithms here; Algorithms, what is it good for?! and part 2 about Operating Systems here; Excuses and Operating Systems with some Djikstra seasoning.
Just before we start I’d like to point out that the university application deadline for Swedish students is coming up! I won’t mention you other lot, as we all know that these deadlines really vary around the world.
Johanna wrote a nice post regarding picking education and what to think about, so head over there and check it out! Generally it’s a hot topic on the blogs at the moment so why not head to the front page and get your fix.
I might add my voice to this topic day after tomorrow, we’ll see peeps. I might not be able give you mind blowing advice but I could tell you about my last minute completely random decision that was round about this time three years ago.
Some of these math course names give people chills, I mean Discrete… that does sound slightly terrifying. It’s far less terrifying than Calculus; maybe because it feels like we’ve all been subjected to it before hand either directly or indirectly throughout the CS education. I just googled to see if there was a decent description out there, and this came up “Discrete mathematics is the study of mathematical structures that are fundamentally discrete rather than continuous.” – I hope that clears it up. Just kidding, that’s a ridiculous description, but I can’t explain it better. Just trust me when I say that it’s pretty easy going, and by the way this is also a compulsory course. It’s luckily one of those courses that you can see the direct correlation to the field, which definitely is a big plus. Sometimes some courses make use go ugh, how is this even relevant?! But this one definitely doesn’t, we need this math!
Our professor in this course is a petit woman (you should checkout her credentials by the way, such a kick ass. And yes, that’s her lab) who has such a great understanding of pedagogic that I can actually sit on each and every lecture of hers and think “oh, I get that”. This is to be compared to the same course at IITD where we weren’t only physically dying, due to heat and overcrowding, but also mentally dying. It’s one of the worst courses I’ve ever attended and it’s one of many reasons that I’m overworking this semester. After the fourth lecture I just walked out. I couldn’t stand it any longer, nothing of what the professor was saying made any sense whatsoever. He also kept saying what every 3 seconds. This is by no means an exaggeration, and what in a disturbingly high-pitched voice was all the mental stress I needed to just walk and never look back. As sad as it is, professors can really make or break a course for us students.
I really couldn’t have imagined how difficult web engineering was until taking this course. Websites, puh, anyone can do that. No, not true. So in this course we learn about the difficulties posed by writing an application for the web as opposed to our own personal computers, and how to write an application for the web that uses other recourses on the web! It’s pretty exciting and I’ve learnt a lot in very short time, our professor Ko gives us some pretty cool reading homework each week. He also pats himself on the back a lot after he’s “taught” us a new language in 10 minutes. He has an extremely interesting way of keeping us focused. On the first lecture he told us that anyone sitting staring into a computer would get penalized for non-attendance, and that he would keep a close eye on us to see if we were paying attention. He can totally see if you’re listening and taking in what he’s saying or if you’re just blankly staring at him nodding while thinking about something else.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Ko. He’s a great professor and his rules about being active and actually paying attention are great as it forces me to not “multitask” while on lectures. He’s also hilarious, which always helps when listening to someone for 75 minutes straight!
For our bachelor we have to complete an Undergraduate Thesis. The good news is that you can pretty much do whatever you like here, as long as it sort of isn’t trivial. Meaning that it should in some aspect or other add to research. Here at KAIST it’s very common for students to work in a professor’s lab and write their thesis on their work, but the bearded man and I decided to focus on something of our own. I would have way too much fun if we hadn’t need to worry about the other courses; our thesis project is the bomb! I’ll tell you about it at some point!
Till next time,