From Cryptography to Communication: Fall Semester Preview

Patrick-2016 Viterbi Class 0 Comments

Howdy everyone! Fall semester is just starting up this week and we’re all getting excited with our new classes! The Trojan football game yesterday was the perfect way to dive into a new semester – full steam ahead! Personally, I’m pumped for my classes this semester and they’re looking to be a good variety of topics; from cryptography, to business communication, to entrepreneurship and film, I have an exciting fall semester ahead.

This semester will be a branch from my previous computer science heavy classes as I’ve elected to pick up more classes pertaining to the business administration portion of my degree. I am enrolled in five classes this semester: BUAD 302 Communication Strategy in Business, EE 364 Introduction to Probability and Statistics for Engineers, ANTH 263 Exploring Culture Through Film, CSCI 476 Cryptography, and BAEP 451 Managing New Enterprises.

First, in my Communication Strategy course, we are learning all about the ins and outs of what constitutes effective communication and presentation. Whether the situation is an interview, a presentation, or even a casual golf meeting, our goal is to improve our ability to present ourselves in an appealing and professional manner. As a part of this, we will be giving several presentations to the class, ranging from short introduction pieces to full-length presentations. We also are working on structuring our resumes, cover letters, and reference letters to meet job openings in our respective industries and we will be practicing a full interview for our dream job in order to determine our strengths and weaknesses as we improve our ability to showcase our knowledge and skills in a business setting.

My Probability and Statistics course is actually the last of my mathematics requirements and looks to be an interesting study into probability theory. Already we have looked at cases like the Monty Hall problem where the truth of probability actually contradicts intuition, and I am excited to see how probability intertwines with statistics as we apply both sides to computational theory and algorithm development.

In Exploring Culture Through Film, we are beginning to study little-known cultures such as the Dobe Ju/’hoansi near South Africa and the first contact with the Papuans in New Guinea. It is interesting to not only read about these people, but also see them in film where they can express their own views and lifestyle without writer bias. In class, we watched as contemporary Papuans saw themselves on film from their first contact with the outside world; rather than understanding their own past, they simply rolled with laughter at how silly they looked and how “dumb” they were. This point of view is not often seen, and it is fascinating to attempt to look at the world from their point of view and use that to understand our own past.

My Cryptography course is looking to be a great venture into the field of cyber security. Already we have learned a simple method of taking a digit passcode and transforming it via matricies into an infinite amount of unique keys where we can determine an exact amount needed to reconstruct the passcode. For example, if ten executives sit on a board of directors and a majority, six or more, executives must approve of a purchase costing more than ten million dollars, we have learned how to assign each executive a key with a seemingly random number that can be used to reconstruct the actual authorization key. Since we use a random number to extract this individual code from the actual code, the resulting individual code is random. Five of these codes together would mathematically not put one any closer to reconstructing the authorization key, since an infinite number of possibilities would remain. However, once the sixth code is added, the algorithm would result in only one code – the authorization key. I’m really excited for this class to explore more advanced methods of encryption and decryption and I can’t wait to see where this takes me!

Finally, my Managing New Enterprises course is a study into entrepreneurship: what does entrepreneurship really mean, how does one become an entrepreneur, and what makes and entrepreneur successful? We are studying the theory behind these questions, but there is also a big emphasis on experiential learning. In this course, we have several current entrepreneurs coming to speak to us and share their stories and insight, like Zach Weisberg, founder and Editor in Chief of The Inertia online surfing community, who came to speak with us this past Thursday. In addition, we also will be interviewing with current entrepreneurs one-on-one to get a complete inside look at everything that is involved as well as building our own networks and experiences. Finally, we plan to take our own products from idea stage to a fully workable concept and practice our fast pitches that are so crucial when first starting an idea.

All-in-all, I’m looking forward to a really fun semester where I get to explore some more advanced topics in both business and computer science. I’ll be sure to keep y’all updated on our cool projects and meetings! Until next time!

~Patrick

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Computer Science/Business Administration, Class of 2016, Learn more on his profile here!

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