Here's a list of what I've been up to at MIT by semester in chronological order.
My first semester at MIT I took 2 courses for credit: Machine Learning and Database Systems.
- Machine Learning was a hard course. I found it difficult because I knew very little probability and statistics. I came out of the course with a new appreciation for probability and statistics (not to mention some real knowledge on the subjects) and even a little know-how on the topic of the course. If you are interested in Machine Learning, take it. I would recommend, however, that you make sure you have enough time to dig in, because like I said, it's hard.
- Database Systems was also challenging, though not nearly as much as Machine Learning. It was my first course dealing with databases. I found the assignments quite challenging. I found them so challenging, in fact, that this is the only course I have ever needed to pull an all-nighter for. My final project for this course is noteworthy. PackRat is a Firefox extension extension. Don't know what that means? Well have a look, then.
My second semester at MIT I took 2 courses again. The plan was to start out with 2 and drop one if 2 courses proved to be too much. However, I ended up seeing both through to the end.
- Advanced Graphics was an extremely fun course. Of course, this was the first MIT course I took that I managed to get an A in, so I could be somewhat biased.
- Randomness and Computation was quite hard, but I learned a lot about randomness's relationship to computation.
I forgot what I took this semester ... I'll look it up and let you know.
I took only one course this semester, to get that one, final A I needed to finish my TQE requirement.
- Advanced Natural Language Processing was my first attempt at an NLP course. It was fun, and I learned a lot about how NLP is being approached. After talking with the TA and the professor a lot about it, I did my final project on translation-based noun-finding (no, that's not the technical term). The basic idea, was that since all nouns are capitalized in German and only proper nouns are capitalized in English, perhaps using translation from German to English could improve the accuracy of noun detection in English. Unfortunately, training my classifier was prohibitively slow, and I wasn't able to fully finish my final project. Further, preliminary results were not promising.
I didn't take any classes this semester. Instead, I focused on my research.
I started taking User Interfaces, but my father passed away unexpectedly on February 13th, so I did not complete the course.
Fall 2010 – Fall 2011
This was a long period of focusing on my research. Also, I managed to fit in an internship at Google NYC over the summer of 2011!
I took Finance Theory I this semester. It was quite informative. The basic thing I learned, was that finance is actually really easy, and there is no merit-based reason that the people on Wall Street should earn so much money…