Classes ended, finally

We are very happy that today was the last day of classes for us. Although we had only three courses, they took their time. Earlier, I gave you a first impression of the courses, and now I can give you an overview over what we have learned here.

Social/Ethical/Professional Issues in Computer Science

The subject stayed interesting, nevertheless, there are weird things we had to learn. But, I think ethics are relevant for Computer Science and I’m glad that I heard something about it. There were readings assigned for every lecture, but as we found out pretty fast, reading all of them is not worth it. We had an in class midterm test, where all of us three got really good marks (around 90%) without reading all of the readings. The conclusion was, that we didn’t read the books after this. We also wrote two papers about ethics, in the first one I got 80% and David and Jens did better than me. We still wait for the marks for the second paper and tomorrow we will be writing the final exam. Each paper and each exam counts 25%.

Designing User Interfaces

The term we anticipate with this subject is “a waste of time”. Most of the things we did was a waste of time. We had to work on our fictional device every week and present results every Friday. So Fridays, we sat there in this room and “listened” to all the other groups. In the end, every group presented the same every week. In order to present something, we met our group twice a week. Today, we finished our project by completing a project report document, 33 pages of what we have done during the semester.

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The best part about this project was that we should test our product (a device which tests water) with people from outside our class. When you want to do a study at Dalhousie University, you have to get Ethics Board Permission in order to do it. That means, we had to fill out uncountable pages about what we want to do, how we want to do, what risks there might be and so on. We had to update our application about 5 times until they accepted it, and we are the only group in class which was able to get the permission. It is surprising, how much time you can spend on a fictional thing. There were situations we were really frustrated, but, today was the last lecture, we handed or report in and there is only the exam next week left. 40% of the mark for this course will be the project, 40% the final exam, 10% the midterm and 10% participation.

Design and Analysis of Algorithms

One of the best and most interesting lectures I have ever heard is this one. I will give you some words you may not understand if you are not a computer science person: O-, Omega-, Theta-Notation, tractable/efficiently solvable, randomization, formal language and decision problems, P vs NP, recurrence, Master Theorem, substitution, amortized analysis, greedy algorithms, divide and conquer algorithms, dynamic programming, data structures…

These are some of the things we have learned. Every week we had to solve an assignment, which was most of the times very hard. However, we did very well in the assignments and got an A+ on every assignment with one exception (we are waiting for the two last marks, but only 8/10 assignments will count). The assignments will count 40% to the final grade, the final exam (which is next week) will count 40% too and the midterm counts 20%.

This is it for the courses. If you want to read something we have produced, I uploaded something for you here:

Since today was the last class day, David and I went a last time to the Dawgfather:

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He sells hot dogs, cheeseburgers and soft drinks at the campus. As you can see in the background of the picture, he has a huge variety of sauces for whatever you buy. He is very polite and remembered us as germans. He likes to talk about politics and is a fan of our chancellor Angie. Every Wednesday I went to him for a burger, they were really delicious.

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