Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Back to Binary

With my Facebook page flooded by classmates posting their schedules, I figured it was only appropriate to reveal mine here. Despite having stayed up past 5am to watch the US presidential election, I was up by 8am Eastern (okay, you caught me; that's like the middle of the afternoon here) to register for courses at Tufts. Whereas in Edinburgh I tell people I'm a "politics" student, my return to Boston will be marked by a fairly dramatic shift back to my other major: computer science. In part to compensate for this semester, and in part to compensate for a late overall start in the field, I'm loading up on a schedule that's 75% informatics, 25% government, and, of course, 95% Tufts Mock Trial. Can you tell I haven't taken math in a few months?

Halligan: Home of Computer Science (and me, most days next semester...)

COMP-40: Machine Structure and Assembly-Language Programming (Sheldon)
Notoriously the hardest class in computer science, the recent introduction of a new professor may make COMP-40 manageable. But if the painful screams of my classmates taking it currently are any indication, maybe not.

COMP-150-02: Special Topics: Visualization (Chang)
This is as close as I may get to combining computer science at politics: the study of "techniques for creating effective visualizations, incorporating principles of graphic design, cognitive and perceptual psychology, data analysis, and human factors evaluations." Plus, the professor is supposed to be fantastic.

COMP-170: Theory of Computation (Blumer)
Maybe, if we theorize enough in the course, I can pretend I'm taking philosophy, instead of another computer science class. Notably, we'll be studying the "halting problem," which asks whether a student program will finish studying running or continue to study run forever.

My view for 5 months (artist's graphic representation, or visualization)

PS-181: Public Opinion and Foreign Policy (Eichenberg)
Whew. I think we were all worried one of these wasn't going to come along. Not to worry; nuclear weapons, military interventions, and the mass media are back in play with a course so wonderfully non-computational that I'm willing to get up before noon, just for this.

And that's a wrap. If SIS stops reminding me I can fit another 1.5 credits in my schedule, I'd stop feeling so unaccomplished here. But COMP-40 is honestly supposed to suck the life out of me, and if I plan on spending my spare time with the best mock trial team in Boston, I'm going to need... well... spare time.

Did I take any of the "best" courses at Tufts, as recommended by my own research? Nah. Who trusts polls? You gotta use instinct. That's how one predicts a Barack Obama electoral sweep despite pollsters clamoring about a statistical tie.

Besides, you didn't really think I'd publish data encouraging students to fill up courses that I wanted to take, did you?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Have something to say? Add to the conversation!