Prove Your Knowledge Week

In which our hero is forced to Prove His Knowledge in several ways within the span of seven days!

Next week is Spring Break, which means that this week is Midterm Week! Tuesday is my Grad-Level Compilers midterm, and Thursday is my Music Appreciation exam #3 as well as my Programming Languages midterm.

After reading through the notes for Compilers a few times over the past couple of days, I think I finally understand most of the stuff that’s going on. It all makes sense now, for the most part. The copious amounts of typos in the lecture handouts didn’t help the cause too much, though.

Music will be easy. Exam #2 for it was the first time in years I came out of an exam absolutely confident I got a perfect score on it. (And yes, I did.) I haven’t studied at all for Programming Languages yet, but I’m feeling pretty confident already about it. Weekly homework assignments and mini-programming projects certainly played a role in that.

Also this week (depending on how liberal your definition of “week” is) was the Academic Super Bowl competition this past Saturday. The Ship of Fools fielded a team for the event. Think “trivia night” meets “academic subjects” and you’ll have the right idea. Topics included English & Literature, Mathematics, Pop Culture, Physics, Sports, Biology, Art & Music, History, and Purdue Trivia. Even though our team was made up of three computer scientists and one engineer, our strongest topics were, of all things, Bio, Music, and History; my surprising retention of knowledge from my high school history and AP Bio classes paid off quite nicely. Also in our favor was the fact that Art & Music was 100% Music, and if you’ve been paying attention, you may suspect that my Music Appreciation class helped out quite a bit there too. Except when the questions covered composers from any of the post-classical periods. Why? Hint: Thursday’s exam is over the classical period.

Results? Our team tied for first in two of the categories, but lost the tiebreakers. Performance in each category was pretty consistent; with only one exception we got 8 +/- 1 out of 10 correct. We came in sixth place overall; naturally, prizes were given to the top five teams.

But the week is off to a good start. Today (Monday) I got back the results from last week’s History of Science and Technology midterm, and I did rather well on it, especially statistically speaking. Speaking of statistics, the professor spent an inordinate amount of time giving detailed statistical breakdowns of the scores. Means and standard deviations are good to get a feel for how well you did compared to everyone else, but is computing the correlation between objective question scores and essay scores really useful? (Well, maybe if you’re writing the exam, but that’s not us.)

Also, on a completely unrelated note, Java’s I/O libraries are so overengineered that, after several minutes of looking through the API documentation, I still have no clue what class(es) I’m supposed to use if I just want to read a bunch of lines of text out of a file. *sigh*

3 Responses

  1. BufferedReader! That’s the one! Not to be confused, of course, with CharArrayReader, FileReader, FilteredReader, InputStreamReader, LineNumberReader, PipedReader, PushbackReader, StringReader, and, of course, Reader. Because *obviously* reading strings from a file involves *buffers* and not files, input streams, or strings.

    <sarcasm>It’s so obvious!</sarcasm>

  2. Don’t you just love APIs which are designed by committee?

    I’ll take std::getline() or even fgets() any day. :)

  3. Java: Making Easy Things Difficult Since 1995 (TM)

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