Sunday, October 02, 2005

A rather busy week

It had been a rather busy week, with deadlines (Qualnet!) stealthily approaching from behind and making irritating coughing sounds behind my back; and the CS4274 Quiz to study for. 4274 wouldn't have had such an effect if I had been more studious and not started my initial reads only this week.

Running Qualnet has been anything but nice to me and my comp. The simulations are so freaking labour intensive (and unproductive) that I'm left most of the time working on a laptop seemingly running on a 80286 chip and 2MB ram. Never have I let my laptop undergone a stress test of such long duration (it has been running near a week now, and a good more days to run), with CPU fan running more than half the time. I wouldn't be surprised if police came over and knock on my door, charging me with offences of abusive actions to my computer - I probably deserve it.

And for what purpose to this? a 10% assignment for mobile computing? I am not in agreement with our lecturer on the intensity of such an assignment.

Lecturer states:
1. The simulations are meant to demonstrate the issue of scalability - that the algorithm doesn't scale well.
It is exactly because the algorithm doesn't scale well that we shouldn't run it on too many nodes, isn't it? I think it is quite enough to KNOW that it doesn't scale well - we don't have to do redundant hardwork reinventing the wheel. We don't need to plunge a knife to our side to know we will bleed if we plunge a knife to our side. Furthermore, computing resources are not free - running my laptop like this definitely reduces the lifespan of my comp like siao, and I'm not the only one running simulations. Multiply the effects by the number of people running these simulations, and we get a small-scale global warming just from the heat produced by our computers.

And yes, all that computing has left other high priority projects from other modules hanging in hungry states, waiting for free computing resources. It's a 4-MC level 4000 module, for goodness sake, not a 8 MC UROP. If it is, it would probably justify the 2 projects, 1 (or 2) quizzes, 1 term paper, and a final exam - but it's not.

2. Coming up with the config files are not hard, and running the simulations is easy - He did it during his PHD times and it's simply running and go do other work.
No one say that running the simulation is hard, and if it is not hard, what's the motive for doing it? This is a level 4000 computing module, not some PHD module, and it might be good enough to run the simulations on 100 nodes. If we are given access to adequate computing resources (say, comps in I2R), this would not have proven to be so much of a matter, but we are not given such computing resources. We only have our laptops and home comps to do calculations. How can we fight an army with stones and twigs?

3. We are free to quit the module if we want to.
We are not - it doesn't take any cow sense to know that we've invested too much time and effort to give up at this point of time. We're at the balance point between attainable and breakable. And we're not quitters - the people taking this module are relatively strong performers.

4. IF WE HAVE THE GUTS, we can tell him directly and suggest points for improvement. I think there's a difference between having guts and being foolish. Already Eugene has been shot down for his suggestions (although they are valid ones), and I am led to think our prof doesn't take to suggestions easily. Then what's the point of taking your guts out in full display to a person who will only cut them up and cook curry? The probability of survival is bleak, if not none. What the strong can do now is to grit their teeth and bear it out in resilence. Resilence is required of us now. And of course, our review at the end of the course will definitely be a DON'T TAKE UNLESS YOU'RE A SADO-MASOCHIST LOOKING FOR TROUBLE. Either that or you're a Melvin Zhang. =P

And yes, I'm slightly peeved I'm spending my sunday in my room running simulations and doing work when I should be out windsurfing. Suppose to go windsurfing with the NUS Sub-club, but decided otherwise when storm came in the morning (but it's all sunny now!) and weather report says the next few days will probably be thunderstormy. But I think there wasn't any error in the judgement call - it's just that things don't always turn out accordingly to probabilities.

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