Verbatim

My thoughts, written down.

Archive for May, 2012

Spring 2012 Semester Complete – GPA 4.0!

Posted by signal on 25th May 2012

The Spring 2012 semester is finally all wrapped up. I got my grades back today and I received an A in CSCIe-131b, my first class toward my ALM.  I am very excited about this.  Now I look ahead to Building Dynamic Websites with Professor Malan, and I am looking forward to a challenging and rewarding class.

I continue to struggle with the desire to focus more on Bioinformatics.  Having just come back from the Data Science Summit 2012, I am very excited about what the future holds with analytics and Big Data.  I will have to be content with working in my primary discipline and having to increase my knowledge more slowly over time in other areas such as Life Science.  I have run the plan over and over in my head on how I could tackle a degree in Biotechnology / Bioinformatics, but it just doesn’t make sense for me right now.  My journey naturally leads me toward Computer Science / Information Technology.  I need to complete that and stay focused.  So that is the plan.  That said, nothing stops me from becoming more involved and relevant to a Data Science community and I am looking forward to any opportunities that present itself, particularly a project or area of research in academia that I could assist in.

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Almost the end, of my beginning at Harvard

Posted by signal on 4th May 2012

The final week of Spring semester is now wrapped up, and all that lies ahead is my final for CSCIE-131b, Communication Protocols and Internet Architectures.  When I began this semester I did not know what to expect.  I had studied via distance education before at different universities, but each experience was varied and in many cases lackluster.  What I have found so far, has been a refreshing experience that has delivered in both quality and authenticity.

My goal is the ALM in Information Technology (concentration in Information Management Systems).  In many ways, I find the Biotechnology (concentration in Bioinformatics) to be even more interesting, or the Information Technology (concentration in mathematics and computation) of interest.  The reality is my undergraduate background does not lead itself to either of these pursuits.  I have a passion for problem solving.  A second point, is that for many of the Biotechnology classes, they are not offered online.  Both mathmatics and computation and biotechnology also require more classes be done on campus and have other stricter requirements, including a thesis.  Living in Florida, and the impracticality of taking flights every week for classes, make either degree option a non-starter.

This weekend I will spend time studying for my final and hopefully walk away 1 class further toward matriculation at Harvard University.  My plan is and has always been to only take one class per semester, at least until matriculated.  This is actually the recommendation of the University.  In the meantime, my plan is to watch the schedules and build out a set of classes that satisfy my degree requirements and at the same time challenge me and fuel my passions.  For me, this pursuit is all about the journey.  I plan to frequently take classes outside of the degree requirement, just for the sake of gaining the knowledge and experience, and in some cases clearing away the prerequisites for more interesting classes.

One such area is analytics and statistics.  Some classes offered are right up that alley, such as Visualization, which I am looking forward to.  Other classes are not part of the required degree work, but would be beneficial to anyone who is a problem solver.  For example I plan to take classes in Statistics, Linear Algebra and Discrete Math.  If the opportunity presented itself, I would even take classes that would further my knowledge in Bioinformatics.  It is very exciting to see the divergence of life sciences, engineering, programming and Big Data.  I am strong in two of these disciplines (engineering and programming), and I am learning more and more each day about Big Data.  Life Sciences is my weakest area, having not taken any real classes in this area since High School.

All things considered, I am looking forward to the educational experiences and becoming as involved as I can in my Harvard experience.

 

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