Phil's Blog

Tag: Geek

Spring 2011 Semester in review

by on Apr.27, 2011, under SFU

It’s finally here:  My last semester!  Due to reasons I don’t want to get into, I took on a somewhat ridiculous workload the last few semesters, and specially this semester.  Here we go:

CMPT 310

Artificial Intelligence

This was actually a very interesting course. It is not often taught by a sessional, but it was this time.  A PhD candidate named Hassan Khosravi was teaching it, and he was by far the best sessional I’ve ever had, and better than many profs as well.

The assignments were not particularly difficult for a 3rd year class (despite what some whiners on ratemyprofessor may have to say), nor was the material (but having taken 405 already and taking 413 at the same time certainly left lots of crossover for me.  I guess it would be more challenging if someone was taking this before 307 and any stats courses.  The department really should work on fixing prerequisites).  My only regret?  We didn’t get to cover neural networks.  The savior?  You can get extra credit in this course by doing a presentation.  Whereas most people opted to just sum up a chapter we had already seen, some of us presented new material.  My friend Dave presented something on Watson (the Jeopardy robot), I did a presentation on neural networks (which forced me to research and learn about them), and my friend Rhiannon did a presentation on a cool lyric-generating project.

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What is Computing Science?

by on Feb.02, 2010, under SFU

[NOTE:  This article was written in the summer of 2009 for inclusion in a Computing Science Student Society newsletter.  It has since been edited and the newsletter has been compiled.  As of right now, it has not, however, yet seen the light of day.  Here is my article, unedited…]

Congratulations! If you’re reading this, you are either a Computing Science student, interested in becoming a Computing Science student, a student in something linked to Computing Science, or associated peripherally with Computing Science somehow. Either that, or you needed some reading material for the next few minutes. Regardless, congratulations on making it this far.

However, it is amazing how many Computing Science students, specially upon entering the faculty, don’t really know what Computing Science actually is. I’d venture a guess that most people associate computer programming with Computing Science, but that is really not what Computing Science is. As a matter of fact, the computer is just a tool sometimes (not even close to always) used in the study of Computing Science.

Computer Science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.”

— Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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