Scheduling Algorithms in normal life

There is an interesting correlation between scheduling algorithms in operating systems and scheduling tasks in life. At a fundamental level, humans are no different from operating systems when it comes to scheduling activities. We have a brain, a computer has a processor. There are deadlines for the tasks which we need to finish, there are deadlines for the jobs which a processor needs to finish.

Turing Award acceptance speech by Dr. Fernando Corbató.

‘On Building Systems That Will Fail’

Goldwasser _/\_

Last semester, I stumbled upon ‘interactive proofs’ and read the word ‘Goldwasser’ as one of the authors of a paper related to interactive proofs(turns out she was one of the inventors of interactive proofs 😛 ). Although there were other authors as well, this particular name struck in my mind. Today, after some arbitrary DFS and BFS’ing through the internet, I read about Prof. Shafi Goldwasser here. I don’t have words to describe the IMMENSE respect I now have for her after reading the article. I really encourage readers to visit that link.

Learning vs Ease of understanding

It is very comfortable to read stuff which we already know about. This is primarily because the brain doesn’t need to form new connections or destroy/modify older connections. There is an inherent inertia in the process of making cells or breaking/modifying brain cells. I think it’s just like physical exercise. The more changes your brain accommodates in less time, the more malleable it remains. Aah, it feels similar to lactose intolerance which I developed over this year. I went through a period of more than 3 months without drinking milk and now it is hard for my body to digest milk. Hmm, our mind is like a sword, which constantly needs to be sharpened, else it will become blunt. So, I think we should actively try to learn things which are HARD to understand for us. It keeps the mind active and sharp. Hmm, interestingly, a large number of physicists in the past have had some sort of inclination towards playing music. I think playing an instrument activates certain parts of the brain which take part in the creation of new ideas. Notable physicists who played instruments include Albert Einstein, Max Born, Werner Heisenberg, Richard Feynman and innumerable others. Learning to play music is SO DAMN HARD for adults that I’m sure it stretches your brain in countless ways.

The Quest for summer positions(and the resulting frustration)

In the hunt for this year’s summer internship season, I’ve learnt quite some lessons. I realised that I shouldn’t take anything for granted and everything has value in life.

This year, I was almost certain that I would be selected for IQC’s URA program since I had been working on nonlocal games since the last semester and had read and understood papers written by people from IQC and I had applied to the program with those same people as my mentor preferences. Other than IQC, I was cocky enough to apply to Microsoft Research QuArC group’s internship positions assuming that my puny research experience could convince those at MSR to hire me for the summers. You know what, my application didn’t even go into the ‘processing’ stage till the time of writing this article(‘Processing’ is the stage immediately after ‘Application submitted’ stage. So, effectively, they didn’t even open my application 😦

After getting rejected by IQC, reality struck me like a bolt of lightning and I applied to other places like Inria,Irif, UMD , TTIC and other places. But alas, all the people who did care to respond(thank you so much for the response, if anybody concerned is reading this) said that they already took interns or are not interested in taking any interns. And please, don’t even ask me about the guys who didn’t care to respond. It really feels heart breaking if you wait for something like 10 days and still don’t get any response. I really don’t understand. How much time does it take people to respond to a damn email. I don’t demand an essay expecting a response. It can be as simple as “I’m sorry I’ll not take you as an intern.”

It’s a really time consuming process, this mailing and all. I do feel sometimes like, “Hey, scientists like Albert Einstein never really searched for these so called ‘internships’. So, why should I care?” but then I remember that Einstein worked at a patent office for the whole time while he was doing his PhD and I think “umm, it’s not something which I want to do” 😛

Mathematical Blogging

First, I’m going to try out the latex include feature in wordpress. Then, I’ll get to what I think would be a great idea for folks like me

i\hbar\frac{\partial}{\partial t}\left|\Psi(t)\right>=H\left|\Psi(t)\right>

Seems pretty legit, right!! People interested should checkout this link. You know what, the HTML like code in wordpress also gives a pretty legit feel. To learn more, check this out.

So, here goes the ‘great’ idea I was talking about earlier. I want to use the blog as a way to keep a ‘Research Journal’. Basically, one in which I keep writing about what I learn everyday. So, you could ask me why I should choose a blog to do this when I could have chosen an offline journal as well( Interestingly, I also bought an awesome app called Day One which is precisely for that purpose). The reason is that when I choose to write on my blog, I feel a little bit of extra motivation to actually write it down when compared to my offline journal due to the “Number of views” and other statistics showed by wordpress. It really feels like a game, you know. You get a feeling of satisfaction and fulfilment when you see the number of views rise in your wordpress statistics. It gives you a nice kind of high. So, yeah I’ll try to be more consistent from now on, especially now that I’ve seen the full power of the \LaTeX and HTML capabilities of wordpress.