I'm an MIT student. Like most MIT students, I tend to take classes at the Institvte. Occasionally, I even go to lecture...
6.170: Computer Software Engineering. Again a class I've taken before, but as a TA this time around. Interacting with students is weird. So is actually understanding a lot of the really obscure material.
6.ThG: Graduate Thesis.
6.035: Computer Language Engineering. This is the same class that I took in fall 1998, but with a couple of differences. One is that I'm a TA for it this time around. Another is that Martin Rinard is giving about half the lectures, rather than just two. Gotta love it.
6.893: Advanced VLSI Computer Architecture. It's...interesting. Lots of readings, and lots of in-class presentations on those readings. Maybe a project class with thesis isn't really what I need this term. Oh well. I wound up dropping this one after project stress infringed too much on thesis time.
6.ThG: Graduate Thesis.
Avid followers of this page might note that I haven't given a punt rating to any of these classes. Really, it's just not appropriate: I can't punt a class I'm TA'ing, and it's just not right to punt my only class. Meep.
6.111: Introductory Digital Systems Laboratory. They call this one "digital death lab" for a reason. There aren't enough working programmers (two PAL programmers, two PROM burners, and one CPLD programmer for the entire class), and you need to spend a week in lab debugging anyways. Oh, and VHDL sucks. But it's still a really fun class, especially if you enjoy playing with chips and wires and programmable logic. Punt factor=20%
6.855: Network Optimization. In which I discover, for once and for all, that algorithms just aren't my thing. Oh well. The teaching staff seems to be reasonably good, which is a plus. Punt factor=30%
11.304: Site and Urban Systems Planning. It's the class that's given me my first field trip in four years! Go out, look at huge...tracts of land, and figure out what to build there and why. Learn to grade. Good stuff. Punt factor=10%
6.012: Microelectronic Devices and Circuits. This probably shouldn't have been that bad a class; I just wasn't motivated to take it. At all. Had I actually gone, I probably would have understood some of the fundamental concepts that came up at the end of the term a bit better. Oh well. Punt factor=40%
6.827: Multithreaded Parallelism: Languages and Compilers. This is not the class I thought it would be; it tended to focus much more on the construction of a language suitable for doing parallel programming and then on writing the compiler, than on doing multithreaded code in more traditional languages. It was still an interesting class, but not quite what I was expecting. Punt factor=25%
6.837: Computer Graphics (see also personal class page). This was interesting, on some level, but really, there's only so much of it to teach. The class could have been better if you worked on a single big project, perhaps on the scale of writing a ray-tracer. Instead, it looked at doing work at a couple of different levels using SGI's Inventor toolkit. Potentially useful and a little fun, but it left something to be desired. Punt factor=45%
17.241: Introduction to the American Political Process. Materialwise, this is pretty much all of the same stuff you learned in your high school civics class. You get to learn that there are three branches of government and how they interact. Whoo-hoo. In addition, you get to write a paper on a purely local issue, since the class material can't just focus on national politics. The one redeeming feature of the class is its teaching staff, which at least this term was incredible. Punt factor=15%
6.011: Introduction to Communication, Control, and Signal Processing. A sort of okay class that's really just more 6.003. If you like it, it's probably okay. I'm not convinced I like it yet. Punt factor=30%
6.042: Mathematics for Computer Science. What can I say? Beyond that I have a reasonable background in mathematics and picked up all kinds of useful things in classes where I need them. And that required classes can be kidn of annoying, particularly when nobody mentions that you're probably better off taking them as a freshman or sophomore instead of when you actually have clue about things. Punt factor=90%
6.823: Computer System Architecture. Once we got out of ancient history, this isn't that bad a class. The lectures could go a little quicker, the problem sets could be a little less annoying. Punt factor=20%
11.123: Big Plans. Like every other Course 11 class, but with more non-course-11 people involved. Punt factor=15%
18.313: Probability. Rota really is a good lecturer. And this class isn't insulting to one's reasoning capability the way, say, 6.042 is. The material is even at least a little interesting. Punt factor=10%
6.034: Artificial Intelligence. The only thing less inspiring than the lectures is my recitation. And the problem sets are completely useless for learning little things about the various algorithms like, say, how they work. Oh yeah, and it's a 9:00 class, which means I actually need to wake up. Punt factor=95%
6.035: Computer Language Engineering. We should have more guest lecturers. Gotta love 'em. But this is a fairly informative class, particularly if you get excited by assembly language. A competent TA would be nice, though. Punt factor=10%
11.001J: Introduction to Urban Design and Development. Definitely the most interesting urban studies class I've taken so far. Learn why exactly nobody walks around in San Jose, and what makes particular places "good" or "bad" places to be. Punt factor=10%
18.100B: Analysis. An interesting class, if more than a little abstract. I should stop falling asleep in it. Punt factor=20%
6.003: Signals and Systems. Yawn. I have a good recitation, which is nice. The class still isn't incredibly exciting. Punt factor=40%
6.033: Computer System Engineering. This is a class with a good theory, at least. Imagine trying to figure out why Jurassic Park was doomed from the start, except applying that analysis to computer programs. Again, though, the recitations save this class; the lectures are difficult to understand, and the lecture notes say everything the lecturere says anyways. Punt factor=35%
6.170: Laboratory in Software Engineering. A generic "how to write good code" class. I suppose it's vaguely interesting. Punt factor=40%
11.002: Introduction to Public Policy Analysis and Government Action. Another Course XI HASS with Prof. Laws. There seems to be more reading and analysis and fewer games than 11.122 had, but this is still a reasonably interesting class. Punt factor=10%
6.001: Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs. It's a class. There's code. Admittedly, Scheme is kind of a cool language, but it's stuff I've been doing for quite a while. Sigh. Punt factor=20%
6.004: Computation Structures. This is why I'm in Course VI. Build a processor up from scratch, then write code for it. Punt factor=5%
8.01X: Physics I. Advice to incoming MIT students: take your freshman classes as a freshman. They're so much less painful that way. Punt factor=95%
STS.011: American Science: Ethical Conflicts and Political Choices. This had the potential to be interesting, and admittedly the lectures aren't that bad. I'm just finding it hard to get that excited about it. Oh well. Punt factor=35%
6.002: Circuits and Electronics. Lots of math, mostly "how to solve differential equations without actually doing them." Not incredibly exciting, but generally worth going to. Punt factor=20%
11.122: Environmental Policy and Regulation. A random 12-unit HASS course. Some fun little games, reading that isn't absolutely necessary. I kind of like it. Punt factor=5%
18.03: Differential Equations. Another introductory math course. Sigh. (Psi-star! Integral of the fish!) When random sorority chicks tell me the class isn't intellectually stimulating, I just won't go. Punt factor=95%
21H.401: Greece in the Fifth Century. Yet another Lendon course, in a small (7-person) seminar-type group. Loads of reading. None of Lendon's wisecracks. Nevertheless an extremely worthwhile and fun class. Punt factor=0%
At MIT, January is the Independent Activities Period, or IAP. I took 6.270, an annual robotics competition. The robot decided on the last day that it didn't want to make nice clean 90-degree turns. Sigh.
5.11: Chemistry. There could be a lot more playing with chemicals; the class is generally interesting enough to keep one awake. Then again, the hard wooden chairs in 26-100 might help some as well... Punt factor=40%
8.022: Physics II. Uses quite a bit of calculus but nonetheless is quite interesting. Tickling keeps people awake. Punt factor=5%
18.02: Calculus II. I've seen all this stuff before, and Hartley isn't that wonderful a lecturer. The recitations suck too. This may explain why Liz was (in theory) in my recitation, I went to more recitations than Liz, and I had't been to recitation in about a month and a half at the end of term (not counting when we both showed up for 5 minutes to pick up our last tests). Punt factor=95%
21H.301: The Ancient World: Greece. Lendon! Lendon! We prostrate ourselves at thy feet! Beyond just being an inherently cool lecturer, Prof. Lendon actually teaches his classes something about ancient history and the way history is done (hint: lots of alcohol is generally helpful). And who else will exclaim in the middle of lecture, "Oh, shit! I'm dead! This sucks!" Punt factor=0%
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