Theory and Nostalgia

It’s almost the end of another semester and the nostalgic side of my being is catching up to me. While some people say they went to college to pursue their passion, I went to college to explore. Along the way, I stumbled upon something that at first caught my attention, but now has become my passion. While I certainly was and still am very soft spoken, I stumbled upon something that allows the free pursuit and whole-hearted occupance of the mind, something that defies all societal conventions of extrovertism, something that suggests sitting in a room and staring at a notebook or whiteboard is not only acceptable but lauded. But enough of waxing philosophical, perhaps I’m only expressing my nostalgia here and now because it is easier for me to write about my thoughts than to try to formulate spoken words.

Just thought I’d share some of my thoughts on the best classes I’ve taken during my (almost!) four years here. These classes have truly opened up a whole world of knowledge to me, and the links all have great notes attached. I’ve also listed what I felt were the most interesting things I learned from each class:

  1. 6.851: Advanced Data Structures – fractional cascading, persistence, dynamic optimality
  2. 6.854 Advanced Algorithms – splay trees, Fibonacci heaps, linear programming optimization, ILP relaxations, orthogonal range search
  3. 6.890 Algorithmic Lower Bounds – PSPACE hardness, PSPACE-complete 2-player games, 3SUM, variants of Planar SAT
  4. 6.857 Network Security – Zero knowledge proofs, Diffie-Hellman, elliptical curve cryptography
  5. 6.047 Computational Biology – HMMs

Certainly looking forward to more learning and more excitement.

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