Spring Semester (Lots of Comp. Sci)

Zach Viterbi Life 2 Comments

It’s great to be back at USC. It’s been about a week since I got back to school and the new semester seems great. My new schedule is both more varied than last semester and more Comp Sci intensive. I’m taking 5 classes, ITP 380, ITP 499, CORE 104, CSCI 271 and EE 101.


ITP 380 is Video Game Programming. The classroom actually has PS3’s, Xbox 360’s and Wii’s at every desk. I am very excited for this one. It’s a C# programming class where we learn XNA and make video games. Hopefully I’ll be able to come up with a cool final project to show off on my blog. The professor is the same one as my other ITP class and he seems like a fun, good professor.

ITP 499 is Professional C++, where I get to refine my C++ skills and do cool things. The first assignment is to write an RLE file compressor and after that we do things like cracking password databases to help us learn about the importance of computer security. Also, this class will allow me to remain better at C++ than Steve, even though he keeps trying to muscle in on us programmers!

CORE 104 is my Thematic Option class, American Prophets. We are learning about civic prophecy in American history by looking at figures like Thoreau and King as well as the founding fathers and American political thought. Additionally, we are exploring the idea of “sacred texts” in American society, as well as thinking about sacred texts in the modern time.

CSCI 271 is Discrete Methods in Computer Science, a math class focused on computer science. We talk about algorithms, efficiency, randomization, number theory and basic mathematical objects. It seems like a really practical class for Computer Science and the professor has hinted at some really cool stuff coming in the future as we talk about graph theory and other algorithms. The brain teaser we used at the start of class was talking about Google search algorithms and that’s always something I would like to learn about.

EE 101 is Digital Logic, a class on basic circuitry and digital logic. So far we have been talking about various forms of logic gates and in labs, we will be working with circuit boards to hardwire basic programs onto a computer. While I’m more into software, it’s always good to know what you are dealing with inside of the computer and this class is pushing me in the right direction.

My professors all seem really fun and the classes seem very relavant to my major. Now that I’m done with the math and physics prerequisites, I’m getting to take more Computer Science class and focus on what I really want to be doing. Hopefully I’ll have some cool coding examples to share in the near future!

I’ve also managed to run downtown already to hang out at LA Live. I got to rediscover my dormant bowling abilities (kind of) and almost managed to break 100! I really am out of practice… Also, the bowling alley there has massive TV screens above every lane so I also got to watch the NFL playoffs!

Bowling at LA Live

Bowling at LA Live

While I was down there, I also realized that hockey season has started again AND the Kings have the Stanley Cup. In celebration, there was an ice rink set up in the middle of LA Live. Now that’s a uniquely Los Angeles experience. Not many places let you ice skate in 70 degree weather.

Ice skating in the sun

Ice skating in the sun


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