I realized that I haven’t blogged in quite some time. My blog posts on Summer 12, which were to be a two part post, stands with only one part on my blog and the other part in my head. I’ll get to it eventually, maybe during Thanksgiving Break.
I think the main reason I haven’t had the time to blog is because of my 18 credit hours workload this semester. The last time I’d taken 18 hours was during first semester freshman year and the classes were nowhere near as hard 🙂
I’m not complaining though: the level of the classes I’m in this semester is absolutely fantastic. I think my favorite class right now is Distributed Systems (CS 425). It’s something that I’ve been interested in for quite some time and learning about the various algorithms, concepts and existing systems has been excellent. The coding assignments in this class are great too. So far I’ve worked on a distributed log querying system and a group membership system with failure detection and no SPOF. I’m pretty excited for my next assignment which involves building a simplified version of HDFS. My Java skills improved by leaps and bounds this Summer at LinkedIn, and this class is only making me better. I’ve had a chance to work with Futures, Timers and lots of Threads. Designing a system from the ground up and having it work is an extremely rewarding experience.
Natural Language Processing (CS 498) is pretty awesome too. All the concepts I’ve learnt in that class so far seem intuitive and the math seen so far (mostly probability) isn’t too bad. Plus, the coding assignments are in Python :D.
Machine Learning (CS 446) is definitely my hardest class. The concepts are much more involved than my other classes and the math is much harder. But the feeling you get when you tweak a few parameters of your algorithm and watch the accuracy jump up 10% cannot be described. Even though it’s a really hard class, it’s also a great class and I would recommend anyone to take it. We’ve gone over some really interesting stuff so far (Perceptrons, PAC, SGD, Kernels etc.) and there’s a lot more cool stuff left for the rest of the semester.
My other classes, namely Ethics, Software Engineering and Italian are also really good.
Overall though, with all the work from these classes, I really don’t have time for anything else apart from school work. In other (maybe related) news, coffee is now my new best friend.