Archive for September, 2009

UIC Sucks Sometimes (or Attack of the Red Tape)

Ugh.  I just wrote a long post on what happened, but for some reason hitting ‘publish’ deleted what I wrote instead.  Great.

Long story short, I tried to take an Industrial Design class for the 4th time and got screwed by UIC beuracracy and the Art Department’s elitism.  If I work up the time and energy I’ll try to rewrite what I had.

A new semester

I just started a new semester at UIC and, with one notable exception, it’s starting off well.  This is my last full semester at UIC, so I’m almost finished with my Computer Science requirements and starting to shift into my BioE classes.  The classes I’m taking are:

Artificial Intelligence (CS)
Object-Oriented Languages and Environments (CS)
Neural Modeling (BioE)
Discrete and Continuous Signals and Systems (BioE)
American Civilization Since the Late 19th Century (Gen Ed)
Industrial Desing I (auditing; fun!)

The AI class is taught by an Eastern European joker who sounds like Ah-nold and goes by Piotr.  He’s got a hilarious teaching style, but comes to class ~10 minutes late every time.  I’ve been told that the teaching style gets old at some point and that this class is kind of disappointing, but for now I’m enjoying it.

I took the OO class less out of interest than schedule fitting, but now that it’s started I’m starting to get excited about it.  We’re learning Smalltalk right now, a programming language that’s pure Object-Oriented (everything is an object!) that I’ve (idly) wanted to learn for a while.  One of my interests is Physical Computing, and it seems like a pure OO language might be ideally suited to that sort of interface.  We’ll see if I still feel that way once I actually start writing code in Smalltalk, but for now I’m hoping to do some sort of experimentation in that direction.

The two BioE classes are what drove the shape of my schedule this semester.  If I want to complete my minor I’m going to have to let it control my schedule until I graduate, more or less.  The Neural Modeling Class is taught by Dr. Jim Patton who also teaches at Northwestern and has a lab at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.  Last year he gave me a tour of his lab and they’re doing some great research on brain plasticity and learning (and they’ve got some great toys!).  We’re going to spend most of the class learning how to model neurons in Matlab.  Needless to say, I’m really excited for this class.  The Signals and Systems class looks to be another mildly interesting ECE class.  It’s the first one that really incorporates differential equations, so I’m interested to see how much of that math I’ve retained in the intervening year.

American Civ seemed like a pretty decent way to fill a gen ed requirement and flesh out my knowledge of American history and politics.  The  prof is blustery old man who seems pretty full of vim and vigor despite the fact that he’s retiring this year.

I’ve been trying to take an Industrial Design class almost since I started going to UIC, and as you might have deduced, it is the notable exception I mentioned at the beginning of this post.  It is so notable in fact, that I’m going to have to devote an entire post to it.  All I’ll say for now is that I’m drowning in red tape.


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