I have been asked a lot of times about the courses I am studying and the work I have been involved in for the past one sem, so instead of "...um...a...like..it is..." I thot redirecting them to my blog will be a better idea.
Lemme start with the "work" first. I have been doing research in Computation Neuroscience. It is a part of Psychology dept. If you are wondering, what is a Computer Science grad student doing in psychology dept... you are not the only one. And apparently there is a lot of study going on in the field of psychology and it is much much more that studying crack pots and serial killers. I am working on the Episodic recall model of the memory. Briefly there are two types of memories in animals (including humans)... Semantic memory (Table is similar to chair because you have read it some where) and Episodic memory(they are similar because you have seen them together somewhere). This and this should give you a brief idea. Basically i simulate different models which tells that table is similar to chair and different from a bag. It is really complex and we make heavy usage of numerical recipies and MPI... The sickest part is the programs take around two weeks to run on 140 processor cluster. But nevertheless it is a great experience and gives a solid insight into human psyche.
I have taken Object oriented designing, Computer security and formal methods this sem. Well all three of them are canned courses. OOD is a C++ marathon course where I am gonna polish my C++ skills along with the intricacies of OOD tech which, believe me most of us lack. Computer Security is one slick course... it tells how to fix and detect the vulnerabilities (and exploit them)... how to detect and destroy viruses( and make them), to implement authentication (and break them ). Formal methods is more of a mathematics like course and is more like puzzle solving.