Winter begins

So I finished my second day of winter courses today. My general idea of this term is that I’ll be dealing with a little bit less abstract math, and a little bit more CS. In fact, next term (spring) will also probably be quite CS-biased (240+241+251 in one term, with PMATH 351, w00t), but then when Fall rolls around it will probably be heavier on PMATH for a while again. Anyhow. The courses I’m taking right now are:

  • MATH 249, Introduction to Combinatorics (Advanced Level)
  • MATH 146, Linear Algebra 1 (Advanced Level)
  • CS 245, Logic and Computation
  • CS 246, Object-Oriented Software Development
  • STAT 231, Statistics
  • (auditing) CS 365, Models of Computation

The full list of courses I’ve finished to date in an absolutely ad-hoc order, and with presumably incorrect titles because it’s late and I’m too lazy to look the actual ones up, is:

  • Two first-year physics courses and corresponding labs (labs were discarded)
  • Two first-year chemistry courses and corresponding labs (labs were discarded)
  • LAT 101, Introductory Latin
  • ECON 101, Introduction to Microeconomics
  • MATH 137, Calculus 1 for Honours Math… and then I ended up taking
  • MATH 147, Calculus 1 (Advanced Level)
  • MATH 136, Linear Algebra 1 for Honours Math… woops, there goes another…
  • MATH 148, Calculus 2 (Advanced Level)
  • MATH 247, Calculus 3 (Advanced Level)
  • PHYS 139, Scientific Computer Programming, which was discarded after my transfer
  • CS 145, Design, Abstraction and Implementation
  • STAT 230, Probability

As of now, I’ve been in one lecture for each of my Winter courses. I’ll attempt to summarize my first impressions.

MATH 249
I can tell this course will be fun. Probably my hardest course, but still fun. At the moment, there are currently 20 people in the course. While the advanced math courses do normally tend to be small, there are normally between 50 and 80 people in them, so I don’t know why there’s barely ever any people in 249. Whether this term turns out to be mildly relaxing or a complete rollercoaster depends, I feel, entirely on how hard this course gets.

MATH 146
Well, it looks like I’m doing Linear Algebra 1 again, but this time at the advanced level, because honestly I found MATH 245 pretty hard to follow coming from MATH 136 (LA1 for Honours Math). The professor, Dr. Ng, is the same guy I had for MATH 136. He spent the first lecture covering plane geometry and vector algebra, which is heavily high-school review for most students, and I was pretty disgusted at how the whole class became a zoo. I even heard a few people directly insult UW Math, because I suppose they have the impression that the whole course will be like that. Extremely foolish judgment call by any standard.

CS 245
This is a standard course on logic: propositional logic, extensions of it, syntax and semantics, proof systems, completeness, soundness, and all that. The professor seems like he intends on giving a nice, rigorous presentation of the material. Very laid back, easy-to-talk-to professor, and he seems like he thinks quite a bit before speaking.

CS 246
This course is supposedly about object-oriented software development. The first part of the course however seems concentrated on turning all the students into UNIX shell hackers, that is, familiarizing us with the “standard” utilities, and teaching us how to write bash scripts. I wouldn’t say bash is one of my favourite languages, but the pain is short-lived, and soon enough we will be plunging into C++ and other stuff.

STAT 231
As it turns out, I somehow managed to do pretty well in Probability despite having spent under 20 hours total on the course. This is probably because most of the course was formula-crunching and there were virtually no proofs at all (the solemn ones that did pop up, you could solve immediately). That said, I still didn’t enjoy probability (particularly because I’m in pure math and I much prefer proofs and theory to the kind of stuff I described above), so I thought Statistics would be equally bad. However, as chance would have it, I was assigned a professor who can actually teach properly for the course, so I think things will go excellently. Assignments for this course are also compulsory (contrary to Probability), which I believe will help.

(Sidenote: I probably would have taken STAT 240 and 241, but they didn’t fit into my extremely bizarre “lol I transferred from science and took tons of math courses in backwards order” schedule.)

CS 365
Fearfully dubbed “Models of Computation“, this is the harder and more interesting alternative to CS 360 (Introduction to the Theory of Computation), a course that all BMath/CS majors have to take (I believe). I’ve heard some funny horror stories about how difficult this course is, and as it happens, I was able to switch CS 246 sections so that I could spend my Tuesday and Thursday afternoons witnessing this beast (I can’t actually take it yet, because I won’t have the prerequisites until Fall this year). I don’t know how much of it I’ll actually understand, but if I have time, I’m going to attempt the assignments, the first of which is on formal languages.

See you later!

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About mlbaker

just another guy trying to make the diagrams commute.
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One Response to Winter begins

  1. Name says:

    lol I remember having only 10 ppl in math 245

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