Monday, May 31, 2010

Long Overdue Update

It's been a long 10 months since my last post, so an update is long overdue. So, what have I been up to all this time?

I've been actively growing our still relatively new UCT Algorithm Circle. We had our 2nd Python course with 75 kids at UCT, and about 15 each in Stellenbosch and Johannesburg. We've put together a solid funding proposal to Google, which if successful will allow us to teach 1,000 kids in Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Johannesburg and Durban as well as attempting to motivate and assist students in these regions to form their own courses.

I've obviously been working towards my MSc in Computer Science. The idea to finish within a year didn't quite work out. Turns out the area I'm working in is ridiculously competitive, so we've been getting harsh paper reviews (not to mention the two immediate rejections without review!). This has resulted in things taking longer than expected, and along with that I've lost a lot of motivation. I'm still touching up the final results and then need to churn through the thesis. I have about 75 pages already, but a lot of it needs to be reworked.

On Wednesday, I leave the country for four months. I'm starting a second internship at Google Zurich, working with my previous mentor this time on the Google Calendar backend. I have a vague idea of what I'll be working on there and I must say it excites me a lot! Once again it's going to involve some stats, which I really enjoy since it often means dealing with insane quantities of data.

Unfortunately I'll be missing the soccer, but hey what would you rather be doing? :P I'll make an effort to head across to Italy to watch some of their games with family there. My roommate so happens to be a Swiss rugby fan, which must be extremely rare. So I'll get to watch the Tri Nations with him.

While I'm up there, I'm going to attempt to finish off as much as my thesis as possible. It will be tricky not having physical meetings with my supervisor, but Skype will have to do. I'm also going to be meeting with my potential PhD supervisors while I'm up there. It's either PhD or work followed by PhD for me -- I haven't quite decided yet.

So that's a very brief update on what's been happening the past 10 months. I plan to be a bit more active here while at Google, to at least keep my friends updated with what I'm doing over there.