Σ(t ∈ sp05) term
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May 24 2005 Kelly Norton

The dreaded Spring term has finally ended, giving me some much needed breathing room to do things like post meaningless entries here about how I never post … um … here. 10-day forecast calls for nothing but rainThat’s good enough for me though; it’s not like I can go outside or anything thanks to the beautiful New England Spring. Yesterday’s 10-day forecast says it all, hopelessly wet. If I had known this was coming, I would have certainly wished Winter away with a lot less enthusiasm. Please … bring back the snow and the bitter cold; I can’t stand these nasty gray skies and it really isn’t that much warmer than it was in December.

Ok so before I began bemoaning the weather, I was bemoaning the school term. This Spring term shall be forever known as “the term which corrected my mistaken notion that I am decent at math.” It would be known as something witty and concise, but I’m really not that great at English either. For some unknown reason, I thought it would be nice to brush off some of my long forgotten math skills and take what was advertised as a survey course in a lot of different mathematical topics. It seemed like a decent description and I had once loved math, so I bit the hook. Now, with my sore mouth, I can look back and reflect on what I’ve learned: (1) I think I’m a lot less fond of math and (2) I have a broader understanding of survey to mean, coverage of topics at a level only appreciable to people who have a complete understanding of them already. Going into the class I had envisioned doing some cool visualizations and picking up some things that had long grown dusty from lack of use. About midway through, I dropped that romanticist drivel while trying to get a handle on Convex Optimization over the course of a single weekend with only a set of partial proofs to guide me. As it turns out, that’s a difficult way to do it. Who’d figured? In the end, I reluctantly admit that most of the topics proved pretty interesting once I was able to run down the proper reference material to overcome the proof heavy lectures. But as I learned, being interested in a topic is a far cry from being decent at it.

As a special favor to you, I’m also going to pass along the pain and write up an entry about at least one of the problem sets. You can thank me when you read it, where read has been loosened to mean avoid it entirely. Actually, it’s kind of interesting and doesn’t involve any proofs.

Other highlights from this term include the beginnings of a project to build a pseudo-skin for “feeling” RF energy (like cell-phone communication). At midterm, I had grand visions of getting the majority of it done for my final project in my Sensors class. I should have known that was a bit of a stretch, given the load in the math class. When all was said and … well … unfinished, I had to be satisfied with getting the cell-phone proximity sensor working. I’ll try to post about that too, though the whole thing is still pretty trivial at this point. Carlos and I still have grand plans to build the rest of it, complete with some sort of skin electrode system, this summer … time permitting, of course.

That should be sufficient number of words to support the claim that I’m back to updating my site. Now bring on the gloomy Boston summer.

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