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nightlife

Grad School Open House

  • 22nd Feb, 2004 at 12:37 AM

Today I went to the UW Computer Science Graduate Open House which consisted of an agenda designed to encourage graduate students to pick Waterloo as their school. This is actually a really good idea, since the general rumble through my network of people seems to say that Waterloo has a great undergraduate programme, but don't go there for graduate school. With that kind of reputation, it's a good idea to work hard changing it.

There were some talks, and half-way through, Stefanus showed up. All the speakers were pretty awesome, but the talk that stood out in my mind was Prof. Craig Kaplan's. He talked about the Computer Graphics Lab and the neat work they do. I had this nagging feeling that I knew him, and Stefanus later told me that it was because Julie bought her computer from him. Of course!

After a lunch of pizza and Pepsi, we chatted with the faculty and the other graduate students. I talked to Prof. Peter van Beek about his research in compiler optimisations. He tells me that the instruction schedulers in current compilers use heuristics, but that optimal solutions can be found using either integer programming or constraint satisfaction. Apparently, these techniques are getting faster, so we may soon see them incorporated into real compilers. He also mentioned that Prof. Michael Godfrey was asking about my grad school application, and I promised to submit it by Monday.

Shortly afterwards, we formed tour groups and went off to see the labs. Jonathan Lee (from Pure Math) showed up, and we tried to convert him to CS. Grudgingly, he agreed to come on the tour. Joanna Ziembicki led us around, first to the CGL, then to Databases, and finally to AI.

At the CGL, we saw demos of Stefanus' work on Sh, Selina's work on ferrets, and Stu's work on vortexes. Also, Edwin showed us some of the projects that the User Interfaces class have produced.

The Databases group wasn't very exciting. They just showed us some computers, some meeting rooms, and some labs. They also apologised for failing to have an espresso machine and ice-cream maker.

We crashed the SWAG lab and forced Jack to give us a tour. Then we left quickly, as there was nobody playing StarCraft there.

The AI group was pretty interesting. They had these cute little robots that are controlled by wireless networks by a personal computer. They scooted around the room in an impressive manner, attempting to avoid colliding with people. Also, we saw some of Prof. Richard Mann's work on vision, and tracking. He seems to be more interested in robotics these days, and vision has quite a role to play.

I then led everyone through the internal route from the Davis Centre to the Grad House. Hurray for a good internal map of campus. I think I scared a couple of students since we went through a lot of twisty tunnels, up and down a few stairs, and into an unlit corridor. But finally, we emerged into the Blue Room for about five seconds, before dashing inside. Ashley and Stefanus showed up then. We got a couple of drinks, chatted for a while, and then hiked to the University Club. There, we had a nice buffet dinner that was to the Club's high standards, and talked some more.

Here is where I marvel at how nice graduate students are. All of the ones who showed up had such good manners, and were generally decent. And the potential students were such interesting people as well. Wow.

After an hour or so of discussion, I started getting sleepy. So I decided to hike back home. All in all, this was a productive waste of a day.

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sfllaw
22nd Feb, 2004 16:12 (UTC)
Re:

I bugged him via e-mail. It's sort of bad to cold-call, but I was convinced that this was the way to go about getting in.

Feel free to pass my comments on in a constructive manner. As usual, don't forget to cite your references!

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