Status Quo

This quarter is going pretty well so far. In particular, I’m finding enough things to keep me excited, at least in the short term, that I’m satisfied:

1) Well, I have to do something other than twiddle my thumbs while I’m waiting for graduate schools to send me acceptances (if all goes well) and rejections (if it doesn’t), don’t I?

2) (Not that short term): I’m planning to teach a class on combinatorial game theory next quarter. And lots of other people are excited about that too because they want to take it.

3) It has been cold here lately. Well, probably not for some of my readers (if indeed I have any), but I have lived in California for my whole life, so it is a rare occurrence to see temperatures in the low 20s. I have taken the opportunity to get a rough idea of what I might be getting myself into next year should I go to graduate school outside of California by arranging to be outside as much as possible at around 6AM. I really like it, although gloves could come in handy.

4) Well, I have classes that are fun. At least some of them are. Algebraic topology and elliptic curves are my particularly fun classes. Computational complexity is turning out to be more review of last quarter’s really trivial class than I had expected/hoped for, but that will pass. Eventually. The Aristotle class that satisfies my last GE requirement is a bit dull: I still think that philosophy is all about saying something when there’s nothing to be said, although people keep telling me otherwise.

I was planning on taking a course on 17th and 18th century opera this quarter, as I have been fascinated by them for a year or so now. Unfortunately, when I showed up on the first day, the professor handed me a syllabus as I walked in, and at the top it said “Opera in the 19th and 20th centuries.” Oops on someone’s part, and I don’t think mine given that it does say 17th and 18th century in the course catalog. But it’s turning out to be a lot more interesting than I had expected. But that is confounded by the fact that we have listened to very few heavy Romantic opera excerpts so far, so it has the potential to get much more painful. Let’s hope not.

Anyway, despite the fact that I already have 30 units this quarter, I managed to get roped into one more class today. When I showed up to Coffee Hour today, Jay attacked me and asked me why I wasn’t taking the history and philosophy of CCS class. So I gave a rather stupid (but nonetheless entirely truthful) answer, and he felt it necessary to give me a mountain of papers to read by tomorrow(!), and I said I’d go tomorrow, so I shall. Here are my conclusions on that:

1) I don’t know how to say no.

2) Perhaps more important than 1) is that I haven’t quite figured out that the number of hours in a week is finite.

3) If I were able to improve my inefficiency problem, I might not ever figure out 2).


About Simon

Hi. I'm Simon Rubinstein-Salzedo. I'm a mathematics postdoc at Dartmouth College. I'm also a musician; I play piano and cello, and I also sometimes compose music and study musicology. I also like to play chess and write calligraphy. This blog is a catalogue of some of my thoughts. I write them down so that I understand them better. But sometimes other people find them interesting as well, so I happily share them with my small corner of the world.
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4 Responses to Status Quo

  1. teratoma says:

    ur takin complexity
    thats kind of cool, i didnt know you were interested in that sort of stuff
    what are you doing in it right now?

    • Simon says:

      Re: ur takin complexity
      We’ve been talking about various types of automata (FA, PDA, Turning Machines, and so on) and how you can convert from one type of machine to another in the same class (for example 1DFA–>2DFA or 1NFA), and in particular the space/time tradeoff that you have to deal with when doing something like that.

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