Induction Week 2009

Before each academic year, there’s ‘Induction Week’, where alongside the orientation stuff going on for the new students, the academics running the courses sell their wares to the students who’ve signed up to do an MSc. There’s a choice of 25-odd courses which seem to cluster around formal methods, artificial intelligence, high performance computing and the semantic web.

This year, I’ve saved up a few days’ holiday to let me attend the Wednesday and Thursday, when the course talks are going on. It also lets me sort out library books, admin stuff and the like. The 05:45 starts to get to Manchester on time are painful, mind.

I’ve transferred most of the introductory talks I was interested in seeing to my Google Calendar, so that I had my agenda for the day on my phone. That saved me potentially missing anything I wanted to see without me having to sit in the same room all day. In theory anyone who’s interested in what’s going on should be able to view my MSc calendar here. I haven’t tried to give out links to a personal public Google calendar before though, so let me know if you want to look and it doesn’t work.

It certainly felt very different this year from last. Knowing where everything is and seeing a few friendly faces makes everything much easier and more comfortable.

As for the courses, I confirmed what I want to study this year, so it’s time to get stuck into maths and Matlab ready for Machine Learning, which starts on Tuesday.

Semi-Structured Data and the Web – Day 1

I was greeted by a blanket of picture-postcard pristine white snow when I stepped outside this morning. No footprints, no slush, not another person in sight… fantastic. That’s what you get for being up and out at ten to six in the morning though.

It’s the first day of Semi-Structured Data and the Web, (effectively) my first MSc module. Having learnt from my last experience, I emailed the course directors a couple of months ago with their list of recommended pre-requisite knowledge and my description of my experiences in those areas, asking for advice as to whether I was suitable for the course, and what additional preparation I could take.

As much as I’d like to make a self-deprecating quip here, I have to say that one of the two lecturers for the course responded inside of an hour, with a pretty comprehensive point-by-point rundown of my questions, recommending areas of study to concentrate on. Top marks, and I’ve had chance to learn enough to know what the words mean, at least. Continue reading “Semi-Structured Data and the Web – Day 1”