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Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor

Unfortunately, I Really Am That Nerdy

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kistaro
I'm up really early because I fell asleep really early last night- 6:00 PM levels of early. That's good, though, because the Commencement ceremony here starts in five hours.

Yesterday was the Engineering School Undergraduate Recognition Ceremony, though, and that was slightly more important to me; Commencement is three hours of blathering by pompous people and then "okay, you're graduated, turn your tassels and GTFO", while the Engineering School is where the three or four people who cared (my parents, myself, and maybe someone else, I dunno) heard my name being called and assoiciated with a "cum laude". I'm just glad the final semester isn't counted for the purposes of GPA for honors; I wouldn't have made it. (Then again, if it was, I would have taken different classes.)

Even that wasn't the most important part to me, though. After the ceremony was a reception in Lopata Gallery, and the one thing in all this that I did care about happened: I got my picture taken with Dr. Sally Goldman, and as I hold her directly responsible for my job and our team's ACM Regionals win because of CSE441, that was the only thing I really cared about. Then we talked for a while about data structures, programming contest teams and how she intends to lead them next year, the textbook she and her husband are writing, and how things that are obvious to expert algorithmists aren't obvious to people just learning the subject. And then we said our goodbyes because I didn't want to monopolize her time and one of my classmates also wanted to say "hi", and I didn't get much sleep night before last anyway so I needed to go back to my room and have dinner and go to bed.

It was getting to tell Dr. Goldman exactly how important her class was, and getting that picture, that were important to me.

The other important thing was just written down, scrawled on the Machine Learning paper I handed in slightly over a week ago. I picked it up today. Since all the assignments were in a pile, I was sort of nervous as I saw the scores averaging in the 60-80 range, most commonly in the mid-70s; I was hoping for a higher score than that, and this wasn't signs of lenient grading! All of the other papers were thinner than I remembered mine being, too, so maybe I got too long-winded.

I found mine, and though I think I could have done a little better I guess I can't be disappointed with a score of 100%.

And in Dr. Bill Smart's distinctly illegible handwriting, on the last page, was his overall assessment of "Excellent stuff" and a note that Bushy Trees (if not Noisy Trees) are probably worth a short publication.

So I guess that's important to me too.

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Well done on that paper, especially the note about publication. Not everyone is asking, or particularly looking, for brevity. In my long-ago experience, the liberal arts classes that were, mostly did so as a desperate response to being handed 200 pages with 40 pages worth of content (which in turn are connected to the students having spent high school desperately stretching two pages to fit a requirement of 4-7). I heard--no idea if this is true--that the Harvard page limit on length of undergraduate theses was passed after one student handed in something like 700 pages. The reason this feels like urban legend is the name attached to the story: Henry Kissinger. At Yale, there was at least one department whose official rule was "page limit n, if you hand in more than that we will stop reading at that point." This was before everyone had word processors and could fudge not only margins but point size.

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