Failing To Get Things Done

Two weeks down!

This is the first day of the third week of Hacker School, and I’m blogging about it because I just really do not have the mental capacity to do much else right now. My head seems to be full of cotton balls. Or concrete. Or some combination thereof. Aerogel?

So let’s think about what I did. I spent much of the first week getting myself acquainted with Clojure via and clojure-koans. I fell in love with Light Table. I learned to deploy Heroku apps in Clojure (though I didn’t go any further than Hello, World). I started reading papers about online learning and artificial intelligence, and trying to implement Veness et alia’s Monte Carlo based approximation to AIXI in Clojure (and, obviously, in a functional rather than imperative style).

Then I went off to Boston for Valentine’s Day and rehearsal. Didn’t get anything hackish done until I got back, Sunday night.

The second week, I continued with paper-reading and started looking into the basics of Elm with Leah Steinberg. It’s a cool language, and I like the FRP concept, but after working almost entirely in Scheme and Clojure for the last nine months or so, the lack of parentheses makes me nervous. How are we to know precisely which arguments go to which function?!

I’m tremendously indebted to David Dalrymple for help with the math involved in the aforementioned paper-reading, as well as paper recommendations - without him I’d have been well and truly lost far sooner, and with far less hope of finding my way again. He’s tremendously bright and a very patient teacher.

This week was cut short early, though - I had to fly out to Illinois for an MD/PhD interview on Wednesday afternoon, and didn’t get back until Saturday, at which point I essentially slept through until Sunday. Needless to say I accomplished very little hackish while I was away, though I did meet Thomas Anastasio, whose research is tangentially model-generation-relevant and who I might want to look into some more. Sunday evening all I did was migrate this site over to GitHub Pages and Pelican, thanks to a recommendation by Amy Hanlon. Hopefully this will finally give me the impetus to learn Markdown syntax properly.

And that brings us to Monday, where my time has been divided between moping, groaning, writing this blog post, and phoning back and forth with SUNY Downstate about financial aid and their MD/PhD program. Evan Czaplicki is giving a talk this evening about Functional Reactive Programming, to which I am looking forward. In the interim I will probably try to do something not-very-intellectually-demanding, because my brain is just not operating on all cylinders today.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take some more phenylephrine and chlorpheniramine.