Getting Ready for Year 3 2010-11

It’s that time again.

The results came in for last year and everything’s comfortably over the 70% mark so it’s past time to get cracking on module choices and learning ready for year three. It seems like it was a very long time ago that I applied to Manchester!

So to recap, so far I’ve studied “XML and Semi-Structured Data”, “Machine Learning” and “Patterns for e-Business Applications”. Has what I learnt come in useful yet? I can honestly say that it has.

The deep dive on XML comes in useful as I now have a fair idea of the toolkit available to me for XML processing and I have an idea as to why XML is constrained in the ways that it is. Knowing the basics of some common XML formats like RDF and RSS also comes in pretty handy when the topic comes up.

Learning about machine learning blew my fragile little mind. I have to admit right now that I haven’t actually used what I learnt here yet – I think it’s quite specialist and you’re either exposed to it or you’re not. Maybe my future plans will take me more into this kind of technology. The possibilities certainly seem endless!

Even just knowing about IBM’s patterns for e-business is helpful in that I now know of a new set of resources and I can put names to some of the patterns I’ve used before now.

So, looking forward. What am I considering this year?

Well, for a start it’s rematch time. The first module I tried (and failed) to take was called Knowledge Representation and Reasoning. I found that I didn’t understand the pre-requisites (in particular First Order Logic) and so was unprepared for the material. This year I plan on taking Logic and Applications, and I’ve been studying here and there for the past couple of months. I’ve gone so far as to write a satisfiability checker using the DPLL algorithm. It even works!

I’d also like to take Ontologies and OWL. Ontologies are a way of representing knowledge and relationships, allowing computers to reason about things and OWL is a language for defining ontologies. It’s an intersection between the semi-structured data stuff and logic. To do the pair would need me to take two consecutive modules and exams between October and January which would be pretty tough going… we’ll see.

That would be five of six modules. I wish there was a module teaching the principles behind functional programming… but there is not. There is mention of a Natural Language Processing in the course modules which for some reason sparked my curiosity, but there’s no details as to the content or when it will be taught so we’ll have to wait and see on that one.


Author: brabster

Software developer in the North of England

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