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  • Kartik 12:22 AM on February 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , science   

    Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth 

    This one needs to be quick, 14 minutes until midnight.

    Logicomix

    Logicomix (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    In this post I want to introduce a graphic novel which I read about a year back – Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth.

    How I ended up reading this is an interesting story in itself. Let me try to recite in minimum possible words. During that time (Sem 6) I had enrolled for a course called Computational Complexity by Murali sir. Now, as the name suggests, the course was pretty complex in itself. I had struggled to find good resources to read to ease myself into taking interest in the course. Classic CS hard cover books like Computational Complexity by Christos Papadimitriou weren’t of much help to this cause. Reading about the author, I discovered the UCB Professor had contributed to a graphic novel. I was curious and used some common pirate tricks to get the book’s PDF.

    I have been a comics fan since early childhood. This graphic novel turned out to be a good find. Scrolled through few pages of the PDF lying comfortably in my bed, and I was hooked; finished the book in a couple of nights. The book basically tells the story of Bertrand Russell and his search for the foundations of mathematics, narrated by himself. One of my early mentors, Devendra sir, had once suggested to read the works of Russell (which I still hope to be able to do sometime), this book told me why he suggested that. Also, the book takes us through the interesting history of mathematics of the late 18th century and early 19th century.

    I wrote a small review at Goodreads. FWIW the book got me interested into mathematics once again, which I had started despising since Sem 4, and led me to believe how learning the history behind development of a discipline can make it so interesting. I would recommend this book to anyone who ponders over the question – why learn theory when practice is what helps the most in our professional lives?

    And it’s already 20 minutes past midnight when I finished writing this post. Need to start early next time to meet my daily goal. :)

     
  • Kartik 1:29 AM on March 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Computer engineering, Computer science, , , , , , , science   

    Ponderings of the Year Past: Part 1 

    It’s been long since I wrote something. To be frank, it was last July in which I actually spoke out my mind. Of course, I wished to write a lot more (who doesn’t). This one is going to be long, so I decided to partition it.

    The following are few important lessons I learnt over the gone year – 2011:

    Computer Science != Computer Engineering

    Vineeth Sir always calls it Computing Science, we even had a discussion over it, perhaps over a year back( and once again recently); the doubt got cleared up only after I looked up ACM’s Computing Curricula Recommendations which defines five sub-disciplines of computing: Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Information Systems, Information Technology, and Software Engineering (they have pretty decent comparisons among these disciplines using pictures and charts). The story didn’t end there though, I was yet to realize what repercussions this seemingly subtle difference had in store for me.  Some people like Nandu (had an hour-long discussion with him months back) would call it the Department’s shortcoming that it is too focused on the Science part of the field, which leads to lesser interest in technology among students and hence, lack of quality of academic (or otherwise) projects. Anyhow, for me this was the year of actually realizing this difference – with low scores and finding lesser interest in some of the core theory subjects including Data Structures and Algorithms (not all though – I loved Discrete Computational Structures and managed to secure an ‘S’). Perhaps I always wanted to be a Computer Engineer! I was always the tech-geek with basic know-how of (almost) everything, mostly counting on my experience, trying to help others and having the fondness for cryptic syntax, etc; but over time it dawned on me that that’s not all – theory subjects tend to be more intellectually inclined (or research-focused if you may), and as Murali Sir frequently points out – it should be a matter of choice and not inability to prefer systems over theory in CS. Perhaps the most important thing that I missed to do was reading owing to over-confidence and a fuzzy image of self.

     

    Lot more to say. Part 2 coming out soon.

     
  • Kartik 3:19 PM on April 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , science   

    The Next Generation of Makers 

    I know the future is what I make it.

    I believe I can make the world better.

    I understand I need knowledge and passion.

    I choose to participate, not observe.

     

    I work with my hands and my mind.

    I pursue beauty in what I produce.

    I see art in science and science in art.

    I value skills.

     

    I am the next generation of Maker!

    Source: http://www.howtoons.com/?page_id=2807

     
  • Kartik 12:31 AM on March 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , science   

    Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams – The Last Lecture 

    I finally got a chance to watch this wonderful talk (by Randy Pausch) popularly known as The Last Lecture. I wanted to watch this for a long time – since Anjhan mentioned about it in his keynote at foss.in and since Prateek Kalyankar had recommended this to me in Jan.

    A really nice watch for anyone who has ever dreamed and thought of fulfilling them. I was particularly amazed to see a youthful, energetic, handsome Randy deliver that talk in such a cheerful, darkly funny way, while being just a few months away from his death (and knowing it!). How was he able to do it? The answer is expressed in the talk itself. One can learn the way of living a life with this talk.

    I remember trying out the this software – Alice – years ago which is mentioned in this talk. But never knew it was a product of CMU or if Randy Pausch was the man behind it.

    There is also a website for the related book which I intend to purchase in the near future (it’s one of the bestsellers at flipkart).

     
  • Kartik 10:31 PM on February 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , science   

    Building a Modern Computer in 12 Steps – A Perfect Elective Course for Sem 3 of CSE 

    Just watched this Google Tech Talk on From Nand to Tetris in 12 steps by Shimon Schocken introducing a course he developed along with Noam Nisan:

    A must watch for all CS faculty of hardware, algorithms and systems.

    The course covers 12 projects to be done over a single semester covering building everything from basic logic gates to computer architecture, and from machine language to an operating system starting from a False and a NAND using a custom HDL. This led me to think over how wonderful it would have been if we had this course in our curriculum in the last sem. Here are my observations over some of the projects:

    • Elementary Logic Gates, Combinatorial Chips and Sequential Chips – perfect alternative for our Hardware Lab course, which never led to any real learning (only frustration in trying to get all that mess of little wires and chips on a bread board to work correctly). We even get to built an ALU in the 2nd project and memory in 3rd project.
    • Machine Language and Computer Architecture – ideal introduction to our Computer Organization course of this semester. Learning to create a simple assembly language (before diving into MIPS assembly) and a simple enough architecture using our own ALU created in 2nd project (before trying to by heart more complex MIPS architecture) would have added motivation for the 4th semester CO course.
    • Assembler, Virtual Machine, Programming Language, Compiler, Operating System – taught in still higher semesters here (5th and 6th) but it would have been so good to get an initial idea about all these before actually getting into the depth of these core areas of Computer Science making them more interesting to learn in the process.

    I always used to wonder how logic gates could be the basic elements of a computer, or how flip flops could form memory, or those 1’s and 0’s connect the hardware and software together. The whole course provides a deep insight on the functioning of a computer, letting one connect all those dots together and learn how they work together to form a wonderful machine. The course emphasizes on how abstraction (which many may call the core idea of engineering especially in circuit branches) can do wonders.

    I have already placed an order for my copy of The Elements of Computing book 3-days back, expecting to receive it on this Thursday and have plans to spend some time of the summer vacations doing projects from this course.

    Few links:

    EDIT (2011-03-08): Told about this course to Paleri Sir, got another perspective about this: it may lead students to underestimate the complexity of these sophisticated machines called computers. My take is that it will depend on the instructor and how she carries the course to make pupils understand and appreciate the sophistications involved in designing a real system.

    EDIT (2013-04-12): Updated link to course website.

     
    • Ershad K 10:45 PM on February 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Wonderful :) Thanks for sharing the info.

    • pramode 8:57 PM on March 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Happy to know that more people are getting to know about this very interesting course!

      • Kartik 9:28 PM on March 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Yeah, me and Ershad even bought the book to do these projects.

  • Kartik 6:45 PM on January 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , science   

    Just finished reading Oral history interview with Edsger W. Dijkstra (transcript availabe on that link). This was suggested by Subhashree mam in our first lecture of Discrete Computational Structures course with her. An interesting read about Dijkstra’s life and history of the establishment of computing science as a discipline.

     
  • Kartik 1:55 AM on January 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , science   

    The Pleasure of Finding Things Out 

    Just watched this video whose link I got from Anjhan’s blog, an interview of Richard Feynman. I started out to watch only the first 10 minutes but really couldn’t stop myself to watch the whole thing (although I have to attend class at 8 AM). Must watch for the curious thinker, the scientist, the hacker.

     
  • Kartik 7:20 AM on September 8, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Ayn Rand, , , E-book, , Harry Potter, , Isaac Asimov, J.K. Rowling, , science   

    List of Books Read So Far 

    This is a list of books I used to maintain at The TechGlider Forums, imported here for keeping it updated.

    Here I list the books I have read (only those whose names I remember) so far (in finishing order):

    1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, by J K Rowling
    2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J K Rowling
    3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J K Rowling
    4. A Brief History of Time, by Stephen Hawking
    5. Five Fall into Adventure (Famous Five), by Enid Blyton
    6. The Naked Sun, by Isaac Asimov
    7. Secret Seven Adventure (Secret Seven), by Enid Blyton
    8. Five Point Someone: What Not to Do at IIT, by Chetan Bhagat
    9. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by J K Rowling
    10. One Night @ the Call Center, by Chetan Bhagat
    11. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J K Rowling
    12. George’s Secret Key to the Universe, by Stephen W Hawking & Lucy Hawking
    13. Nightfall, by Isaac Asimov & Robert Silverberg
    14. Ignited Minds, by A P J Abdul Kalam
    15. The 3 Mistakes of My Life, by Chetan Bhagat
    16. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, by J K Rowling
    17. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J K Rowling
    18. A Briefer History of Time, by Eric Schulman
    19. Your Happiness is Within You, by S. Devaraj
    20. Who Moved My Cheese, Spencer Johnson M.D.
    21. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
    22. Wings of Fire: An Autobiography, by A P J Abdul Kalam with Arun Tiwari
    23. The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand
    24. 2 States, by Chetan Bhagat
    25. Digital Fortress, by Dan Brown
    26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
    27. Anthem, by Ayn Rand
    28. The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown
    29. The Naked Face, by Sydney Sheldon
    30. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, by Douglas Adams
    31. The Inscrutable Americans, by Anurag Mathur
    32. Brida, by Paulo Coelho
    33. Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach
    34. The One Minute Manager, by Kenneth H Blanchard

    I will no longer maintain this page, as I have found a much better way to keep track of the books I read – Goodreads.com. My list here – http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/6520743-kartik-singhal?order=d&shelf=read&sort=date_read

    Last edited: October 26, 2011, edited 11 times in total.

    Reason: Updated about my new books page on Goodreads.com.


    Kartik – The TechGlider Guy
    http://www.techglider.in

     
    • Rahul P 4:05 PM on June 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Did u really understand “A brief History of Time” fully…?

      • Kartik 5:06 PM on June 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        I read it long long ago, in class 11. At that time, I assumed I understood many things. But now I have been looking for a much simpler version – A Briefer History of Time – instead of reading the Brief History again ‘understand it’ properly. :-)

    • Rahul P 2:13 PM on July 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      haha…same wid me, in 11th as a Stephen Hawkings fan, i “tried” to read it, but in vain. Coudnt relate to certain things especially a graph between space and time, i remember it !! :P

      • Kartik 3:14 PM on July 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        I don’t know why, but that graph is the only picture that I can completely recall and seem to have a decent understanding of in the whole book. ;)

        If everything goes right I might get my hands on the Briefer version of the book tomorrow. :)

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