I have been so buys in the last couple of weeks; so busy, in fact, that this hardly feels like summer! I’m taking two classes here at USC: CSCI 402 (Operating Systems) and EE 457 (Computer Systems Organization). I’m also researching automated analysis of software under a professor in the CS department! Sounds like fun, right? Actually, yes. You’d be surprised.
Some classes suffer from being so overly theoretical, it’s hard to grasp how anything can be implemented in real life. Operating systems is not that course. Using an operating system simulation called NachOS (I know, makes me hungry too) developed by UC Berkeley, we get to program real, working operating system code! Every budding computer scientist wonders how the chicken-egg problem of programming gets solved: I write programs by using programs that already exist. How does that work? The answer is operating systems, and this class answers all those questions. Not to mention, it’s awesome coding experience fraught with technical challenges (aka, perfect interview fodder). The class is currently taught by Professor Crowley, who is amazing.
EE 457 is also answering the deep, dark secrets of how computers work. If you’ve ever wondered how electricity could possibly be the culprit behind your current playthrough of Angry Birds, a computer systems class is the way to go. And in this class, it’s not uncommon for you to be sitting in lecture, following along… and then bam! Your professor just led you through the design of an entire CPU.
Outside the classrooms, I’m starting on research this coming week. It’s an area I’m passionate about and a great learning experience, but it really deserves a post of it’s own. I’ll get to that…
But if you’re reading this wondering “gee, why doesn’t this guy get a life?”, never fear. I’m living in my fraternity house, Theta Xi, this summer, on beautiful 28th Street (also known as “The Row”, for its fraternities and sororities). Whenever I get bored or just want to take my work outside, I grab some brothers and hit the beautiful front lawn (or the balcony adjoining my room!). Also, if you haven’t been following the NBA playoffs, grab some friends and don’t you dare miss Game 5. This is an amazing series, and I know I’ve been getting ridiculously into it.
Other than all those things, I throw in a good amount of working out and hanging out. It’s not quite a “summer vacation”, but the great thing about being at a college you love is that the work is fun, and the fun is funner (watch, marketing industry, I’m coming for you). That’s all for me for now. Get out and soak up some sun!