Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Updates on school

I will post the latest update on the superhero game soon but I have other things to talk about - like the fact that I just finished my last class of the school year! Of course school is not yet done - there are still the final exams and final project.

Also, I am making more progress toward finding a research advisor;. I talked to Sheldon Jacobson and he gave me some interesting papers to read. Also, Roy Campbell said he would set up a meeting between me and some people in the Beckman Institute because it looks like there is really cool stuff going on there, although that hasn't been done yet. Also, I went to a guest lecture by Eric Brewer of Berkeley about technology in developing countries (just look on his web site for some of the projects his group has done). That lecture definitely inspired me to start looking for projects that, like those, can have a major social impact in the real world rather than just publishing papers. (This doesn't necessarily have to involve developing countries, at least not directly: computational methods are also used in other important application areas such as energy and the environment.) I don't believe there are any computer science research groups at UIUC looking at developing countries, but Roy Campbell has previously advised a project along those lines so at least he would know where to start. I am planning on talking to him again a couple weeks from now; I'll post again when I know more.


Nanette Goodman said...

I watched Eric Brewer's video on the website that you linked to. It was really interesting and a great use of engineering and straightforward computer technology/software. I had trouble understanding how you would apply the computational computing stuff you like to do to a developing region.

I can't wait to see you. I'll be there in a couple of weeks

Dan Mont said...

Hi Alex, That Beckman Institute looks really, really interesting.

If I were in your position I would choose the thing you thought was the most interesting and fun. You can always figure out applications that are socially worthwhile. But I think the most important thing is going to work every day to something you simply enjoy doing and can feel passionate about.