29 September 2006

Computational complexity of peeling a banana with special tools

I kept wondering all this while - What is happening to all the theoretical computer science knowledge I have? How do I really mix mathematics and CS together? But it seems that the tough times are coming... Tough time in the sense, challeging time ie the interesting time :)

Had the weekly discussion with prof. He was asking me to prepare on one or two things per week and giving me a well defined line through which I had to proceed. But today it slowly started changing. He was giving me some ideas about some algos for this mathematical computations.

Okay okay, I shall explain. Say, we have a matrix. We have to find out the determinant. How do we do it? We need an algorithm. Right? So, matrix is a mathematical object, it's determinant also is a mathematical object, the calculation of determinant is a mathematical process. But we might have different ways to calculate it. So using complexity analysis, we say which method is better/best. We have to consider both time complexity and space complexity. This was an example.

Today he was telling me about some computational-geometry/algebra algorithms which are doubly exponential in time and exponential in space. (doubley exponential is 2^2^n - 2 to the power of 2 to the power of n; exponential is just 2^n). Also asked me to get ready for these kind of stuff and do a deep dive. Things are coming the way I was expecting - I learn mathematics and with the basics more or less set, I can look into computational issues of some special tools used in mathematics (eg. Groebner Bases).

I am heading to the library to take the book by Papadimitriou - Computational Complexity. Need to refresh my complexity theory!!

- Boiled Banana - Exercise for malayalees -

Take the kerala style big banana (Nenthrappazham); cut the head and tail so that it looks like a sausage; boil it (Puzhunguka). Make sure that it is not overcooked.

Now you have the whole banana, cooked and the skin is a little thin after boiling it.

Take a knife and fork. Try to put the banana from the cooked vessel to your plate. Once that's done successfully, peel the banana - NO, not with your hand. Use the knife and fork. The experience you will have is what you call real fun.

I was having weiss-wurst (Typical Bavarian White-Wurst) with my colleagues and professor. There is a small covering on this wurst [Just like a condom on it ;) ]. Before eating, the cover needs to be taken out - yes, only knife and fork. I was scared that my wurst will fly to some other plate while I was taking of that thin dress of the wurst. By the time I went to the second wurst, I used my hand. What the heck? God has given us hands to undress the wurst!

Tomorrow I'll make one more trip to Oktoberfest. I've to wait a whole year for that to come again. I am sad that I dont drink beer - I dont like the taste. :(

Signing off, Sands.

27 September 2006

What is DAN?

"Dear Sandeep, (Dan)

_____I'm very happy to know you!
_____Thank you for all!

- Name" (Name was the new french girl's name)

I went to have a bath and found a Post-It note on the mirror with the matter above written on it. In the evening she had asked me if I can join her for a coffee some day.

Things are getting interesting ;)

By the way, since the post-it looked like mine and my post-it is not seen, I realized that she had flicked it when she was here in my room this evening!! That means, things are getting more interesting ;)

Dan is my little secret. (Any guess?)

Signing off, Sands

26 September 2006

Forced to wear Bermuda (atleast)

Two-three months back, I had written about the problems I faced while moving in to the new room. I had cleaned it up well and had changed it to a small heaven. My neighbor and I were having a common washroom. So, keeping that clean was not just my job and it was not always at its best. But he went back to France two months back and from that time onwards, I am really in heaven. I have the common place only for me, the washroom only for me. For a small rent (260 Euro) I was enjoying so much of space.

One month back, a couple came to stay in the new building opposite to my room. Since back side of my room is completely glass, they could see me always (if I have not put the curtain). But they have very small window and their rooms are dark - so they don't have the same problem. And above all, that lady comes and stands at the balcony to smoke - at least 10 times a day. So I was forced to wear at least my Bermuda when I am in my room. (So, now you know what I was used to wear oterwise). Or I should always keep the curtains down! I loved physical freedom and I preferred to keep the curtains down than wearing Bermuda ;)

Yesterday, came this new person for the room which was empty. It's a girl. In my last entry, I wrote about my happiness whenever I got a girl as my companion in bus. But the case was different when I travelled in train. (a small diversion from the topic)

In train, at times you get RAC ticket and you have to share your berth with somebody. If, unfortunately that person turns out to be a lady, you lose your piece of mind. You cannot sleep, you cannot stretch yourself. You never know - while sleeping you are going to touch forbidden areas and later becoming a victim of women-abuse-case. (Poor Mr. Joseph in Kerala. I don't believe that he did anything nasty in that flight). So, I never wanted a female to share my berth. For that matter, I never wanted RAC ticket itself. ;)

Now, I am having the same problem. When the room and everything was completely in my custody, I was free. Day or night, I used go out of my room without caring about my clothes, I used go with bare minimum clothes or even naked at times. It wont work anymore! I have to have at least my Bermuda to get out of my room. And there is no curtain to be drawn to help me this time.

I am being attacked from both the sides. From the front side of my room and also from back side. Isn't it a bad thing to happen?

To the question - "Am I ashamed of being partially nude in front of a girl?". To an extent, my answer is "No, I am not". But, I think this comes under the "decency" stuff. I am a decent guy - in thoughts and in deeds. I have to continue that way.

It was a fast blog. Haven't done proof-reading. Signing off, Sands.

PS: The new girl is nice, good looking, talks to me quite a bit. Even came to my room to use my laptop. So, the next door girl is not completely a curse ;)

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Just checking whether my RSS feed works.


16 September 2006

A call after two years and a five year old incident

I slept at 7 in the morning after a good night-out (Was watching Indiana Jones). Somebody called me up at 11, for some not so important matter and I decided not to continue my sleep. I went to have my tea, today I confirmed that my tea cup is leaking. The good thing is that it leaks only one drop. Once that drop drips, it won’t leak anymore. So, earlier I was confused whether it really leaks or I just felt that. Anyway, today after my proper observation in half sleep, I cried out "Eureka…!!". :)

Back in my room, I got another call. I had to hear just "Hey Machaa" and I recognized the caller. It was Nike, and we were talking after two long years. I am sure; I have not talked with him after I left IIT on Aug-31 2004. It felt very good talking with him after a long time. Tomorrow he is going back to India. I would have gone to meet him if I had not been to Brussels a few months ago. I should meet all/most of my MTech friends when I go home. This visit to India is going to be a hectic one.

He was one of those persons who played a good role in my placement. That night, he and Vamsi came to TCS-lab (Theoretical Computer Science Lab) and asked me not to go home that weekend - "M$ is coming for placement". I was not sure whether I should attend the interview. But after that conversation, I decided to go for it - Just for experience and the experience was good :)

Changing the topic..... – Topic changed to five year old incident.

Here, in the public buses, there are two kinds of seats - One is the normal seat which is sufficient for a single person, and the other one is a little wider. The wider seat is not enough for two, but more than enough for one. Two persons can sit, in case they are ready to adjust.

When I travel, I prefer to sit in this wide seat. If the bus is crowded, I move towards one side of the seat so as to make room for one more person. What I have observed is, most of the times girls come and sit there. Say 90% - this surprises me!! I am not going to write what I think the reasons could be. But, whenever a girl comes and sits, it reminds me of something.

During my bachelors, we used to take the college bus from the stop near Shakthan-Thampuran Market. Since that was the first or second stop, the bus would be empty and we could sit wherever we wanted. I always had Hiran or Joby with me during the journey. Every time, we took the 5th or 6th row from the front-door. If we take the rows in front of it, we would be surrounded by girls - which Hiran/Joby did not want. If we take the rows at the back, there won’t be any girls around - which I did not want. If I, Hiran and Joby - all three were there, we sat together and talked. If only one of them was there, I made him sit in the window seat; I would sit in the middle seat and keep my bag in the aisle seat.

There were stops from where the bus got really crowded. From those stops, girls would get into the bus and would be looking for seat. The moment a girl finds my bag on the seat I would remove it and make the seat free. She would come and take the seat and I would be happy to have a girl sitting next to me and to have some small talks :)

This technique was not flawless. Sometimes some boys would come and take the seat if there weren't any seats free in the back. Some other times, some boys of my acquaintance would come and take the seat so that he can have a jolly-trip talking to me :(. I only knew how bad it felt to lose the opportunity of flirting.

But now, when a male or female whoever comes and sits, it doesn't matter. Times have changed - me too.

Signing off, Sands.

5 September 2006

What is your opinion about food shortage in rest of the world?

Okay, don't frown at me. I know most of you would have received the following joke as a forwarded-email. But, if you read till end of this post you have a small surprise waiting there.

Scene 1 - China

Some journalists go to China and ask Chinese people "What is your opinion about food shortage in rest of the world?".

The Chinese ask back"What is opinion?"

Scene 2 - Africa

The same question is asked to Africans, their response was "What is food?"

Scene 3 - Europe

Europeans' response was "What is shortage?"

Last Scene (#4) - United States of America

Americans ask, "What do you mean by rest of the world?"

End of joke.

Everybody laughs. When this joke was shared among a group of my friends here also, all laughed. But one European friend really asked "What is shortage?"!! Isn't it unbelievable?
I found it quite amusing. No hard feelings towards anybody. Just a harmless joke, take it that way. Especially, no hard feelings to the friend mentioned above.
Just wanted to share this.
Signing off, Sands.

1 September 2006

Meeting with Professor and Fundamental Algorithms

1.MOM - Minutes of Meeting

I had a meeting with my professor today morning. It was fine; we decided on a couple more appointments in a series to have more technical discussions. In another way, I am slightly screwed. He wants me to focus on Groebner basis (GB) now; where I was concentrating on HECC the past 2-3 months. I have to brush up the whole GB stuff in 6 days! I find it to be thrilling :) Isn't it nice to slog through? I sometimes like that.

2.Fundamental Algorithms

I asked him about my next semester teaching job. After consulting with Swen, I think, the chances are more that I will be giving the course "Fundamental Algorithms". This is not yet decided. Otherwise, I will be the teaching assistant for one of the other courses of which all are great. I've voted for Randomized Algos. (There is a "the name sounds good" incident - First day at IIT, one classmate of mine asked me about the courses I would take. I had said Randomized Algorithms as one option. He asked why. My reason was "the name sounds good". What a reason for taking a course!!)

Anyway, the reasons are different now. I will be on cloud nine, if I get "Fundamental Algorithms". I will do a terrific job on that.

3.Update on insurance.

Finally, a AOK (insurance firm) lady has agreed to give me insurance - without needing student Id for the time being. I hope to get my student Id in another 2-3 months. So it will be fine.

Signing off, Sands.