posted on 2008-07-22 15:58:17
So, I've been trying to do this self-study thing for 30 weeks. I probably should've stepped back to evaluate my progress before now but I've allowed myself to be distracted with other things. You know, moving out, working my first full-time job, learning how to cook, clean and take care myself. That's no excuse though. Rather than beat around the bush some more let's just get to the heart of it:
"You got an F. What the hell's the matter with you? Ya big failure.
Final Grade: 20.786516853932586%
To be fair, you would've had to do 14.0 problems a week to finish the book in 26 weeks.
They are pretty hard problems. Just keep at it man. You may want to revise your strategy though."
We're 30 weeks into 2008 and I've only done 74 of the 356 problems in that legendary text, the Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs
, which was the central object of my study this semester. That's about two and a half problems a week. Not my brightest shining moment. This whole experience definitely gives me new appreciation for the people that tried to structure and/or educate me in the past. Clearly, I need one of two things:
1) A good kick in the ass to really get going.
2) A new gameplan.
Personally, I'm going to try a mix of the two. Where 1) is concerned I recently wrote a self-study program
(the biggest program I've ever written, actually) to help me keep abreast of my own progress and help me chart my course a bit. Where 2) is concerned I'm going to have to start making concessions to maintain momentum and I'm not entirely comfortable with that.
What concessions do I mean? Well, some of the SICP problems are hard. Really hard. Unreasonably hard
(see Exercise 4.79 at the bottom for which a good answer is "probably worth a Ph.D."). The book has it's reputation for a reason. It's a reputation of difficulty but also of enlightenment
. A lot of very smart people say it's the best way to learn Computer Science and probably the best book on the subject yet written. I'm willing to take their word for it. Anyway, there are problems that I get hung up on and I haven't been letting myself move on to the next section of the book without solving all the problems in the current section. That just isn't scaling well. I'm already hung up on the last 4 problems in Section 2.1
. God knows what would happen come 4.4. I'll surely never finish the thing if I don't let myself move forward.
With that in mind, a week or so ago I did let myself move forward a bit and work on Section 2.2. I've already got about a third of it done. Maybe even half. I'm worried about this because I want to stay honest. I don't want to shirk the hard stuff. I won't move past problems unless I'm really
stumped and I will circle back at various points to try to work through them. Aside from SICP, I've worked on HTDP
(How To Design Programs) and CA
(Concrete Abstractions) as well this semester. I got an almost reasonable portion of HTDP done but next to nothing on CA. I'd really like to try plowing through as much of those three books and The C Programming Language
(rocking the 1st ed.) as possible before Xmas.
Semester 3 (starting in January) I'm hoping to work on Algorithms (DPV
, not CLRS
), Essentials of Programming Languages
(1st edition, baby!) and one of my Operating Systems texts. Of course, Discrete Math
(5th ed) would be more prudent and judging by this semester this could all be revised by Xmas. Well, back to work. Happy Hacking!
posted on 2008-05-19 14:13:12
Well, here's Section 04.
posted on 2008-05-19 13:43:29
As promised, here’s Section 03 with 04 soon to follow. Sections 03 and 04 are pretty unremarkable and the questions and answers are pretty self-explanatory. Again, you can check all the latest code in my repo
by going to manifest, then books, htdp, and navigating to the various source files.
posted on 2008-05-19 03:25:27
So, I've finally gotten around to cleaning up SICP Section 1.3. It's not quite done but it's damn close. For now, I want to start posting some of the HTDP code I've been writing to get back in the hacking habit over the past few days. I also have some of Concrete Abstractions done and in my source code repository but it's nothing substantial. Without further ado, here's HTDP Section 02 (of 43!). Sections 03 and 04 will go up tomorrow. Note: I skipped HTDP Section 01 because there are no exercises or problems whatsoever.
posted on 2008-05-14 03:39:37
Admittedly, the title of this post is a misnomer. I'm no adult yet. I am trying my damnedest to keep this house running smoothly though. As of today I think we're up on all the utilities and I've got a Static IP here with AT&T so I can move my server at some point. Work's been going well and I'm taking MARTA in to simplify my life a bit. I'm cooking (if you can call it that) and keeping the dishes done and the house clean with regularity. I'd say I've almost settled into a groove. I say almost because the people actually staying in the house won't stabilize until after May 25th. Heck, even I'm gone from the 17th to the 24th to house sit for my parents. For the most part though I'm enjoying myself.
Additionally, I'm way behind on programming. I know. I've had a lot going on but my progress the last month or two is still just shameful. I've started HTDP to get the juices flowing again and am already through Section 03. It's definitely more straightforward than SICP if less revelatory. I'm considering going ahead and trying to blow through HTDP completely over the next month or two. Then I could circle back to SICP and hopefully be better prepared. I haven't decided on anything yet other than tidying up the presently unadorned answers to SICP 1.3 and then posting what I've got from HTDP so far. I am more than half-way through SICP 2.1 but I'm wondering if it makes more sense to knock out HTDP considering the difference in pace between the books. I'll let you know as I move forward. I'm hoping to get a post up with some pictures of my new digs in the next week or so. Feel free to drop me a line if you'd like to swing by.
posted on 2008-01-16 04:34:47
So, I've been meaning to post about the things I taught myself in Montana and my course of study and a course schedule through May/syllabus but I had to recover some partitions on my desktop. My laptop also was caught between Ubuntu Hardy Alpha 2 and Alpha 3. I'm not getting into it. It's a long story. Anyway, now that all my systems are running flawlessly I'll speak a little on the aforementioned subject matter.
I have a long term plan for a course of study but no hard schedule yet. I have to divide up readings and problem sets and link them with lectures and such. I plan to have such a syllabus done and up for viewing by the end of the week. As for the long term plan of study there are 6 Programming Texts and 3 Math Texts that I'd really like to get through. If I get through the first 3 Programming Texts (or even the first 2) and 1 or 2 of the Math Texts I'd consider it a successful year. They're all fairly rigorous and I'd like to cover them in depth. Of late, I've been debating the order in which to approach the programming texts. Either SICP, CTM, HTDP or HTDP, CTM, SICP. Some of the stuff in SICP is a bit difficult and some of the stuff in HTDP is a bit easy so far. This is another thing I'm hoping to have worked out by the end of the week so that I can get going.
Once I do have a syllabus I'll post it and then post notes on readings and lectures and solutions to exercises as I go along so feel free to follow along and ask questions. You can only help me learn more. So far, I read the first 40 pages of SICP in Montana. That's Chapter 1 (of 5), Section 1.1. I've got notes typed up on the lecture and reading and most of the examples solved. I'll get those posted up by Friday as the first entry whatever my course of study turns out to be. Also, Friday I will be going to that Yeasayer concert. So far Ben Grad and Minor are talking about going too. Any more takers? Have you guys liked Yeasayer as much as I have? Isn't that Red Cave song from yesterday awesome?
Finally, here are some good Lessig quotes my readings in Montana of The Future of Ideas (Pgs. 1 - 99):
"The very idea that nonexclusive rights might be more efficient than exclusive rights rarely enters the debate. The assumption is control, and public policy is dedicated to maximizing control." - Lawrence Lessig, The Future of Ideas, Pg. 86
"Where we have little understanding about how a resource will be used, we have more reason to keep that resource in the commons. And where we have a clear vision of how a resource will be used, we have more reason to shift that resource to a system of control." - Lawrence Lessig, The Future of Ideas, Pg. 88-89
"The point is more than theoretical. In essence, the changes in the environment of the Internet that we are observing now alter the balance between control and freedom on the Net. The tilt of these changes is pronounced: control is increasing. And while one cannot say in the abstract that increased control is a mistake, it is clear that we are expanding this control with no sense of what is lost. The shift is not occurring with the idea of a balance in mind. Instead, the shift proceeds as if control were the only value." - Lawrence Lessig, The Future of Ideas, Pg. 99
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