I’ve recently had a talk with professor Mykel Kochenderfer about possible career paths for me after graduation. I told him that I want to stay in academia — I love doing research — but I also want to pursue writing seriously. He smiled and said: “Why not both?”
For a long time, I’ve been struggling with the idea of getting old. I know that I’d one day die. I know that every living, breathing moment is a step closer to death. The weight of an inevitable demise occasionally throws me into an existential crisis. If everything will become meaningless in the end, why should I even try? Will I ever be able to make a dent in the universe, or will I just pass away like a drop of dew in the morning sun? Continue reading “[Day 628] When breath becomes air”
This morning I woke up, saw this image, and tears welled up in my eyes. Tropical boys fighting in a snowstorm. Red flames burning on the white ground. They played a splendid game that brought hope to the hearts of millions of Vietnamese people who need it more than anything right now.
“Champions keep playing until they get it right.” – Billie Jean King
I have no doubt that the Vietnam team will play even more beautifully in the future, and that inevitably, they will be the champions.
Today, I was invited to give a guest lecture for the Stanford class CS224N: Natural Language Processing with Deep Learning. I was pretty excited about the opportunity. First, I’d never given a lecture to such a big audience before – there are 400+ students in the class. Second, it’s Richard Socher‘s class. He’s hands down one of the most chill professors I know. For some reason, he always looks like he’s just got out of bed and we occasionally catch him biking down the stairs to the classroom. Third, I’d always heard that speaking at NVIDIA Auditorium is lit and I want to try it out before graduating. Continue reading “[Day 626] I just gave a lecture to 400 students”
Today in our parallel computing class, we learned about two concepts that people often confuse for one another: parallelism and concurrency. Concurrency is when you deal with a lot of things at once, while parallelism is doing a lot of things at once.
For example, concurrency is when you switch between doing homework and chatting on Facebook with your friends. From your perspective, you’re making progress in both things and it feels like you’re achieving parallelism – doing both things at once. However, the reality is that you’re merely doing concurrency. You do one thing at the cost of not doing another.
Parallelism would be to have two copies of you, one doing homework and one chatting on Facebook at the exact same time. Which is, of course, not possible. And that’s why multitasking is just a myth.
Maddy generously got us some Miracle Fruit Tablets today. They are supposed to turn sour into sweet. So we each took a tablet and experimented with different types of food.
- Lemon: just as advertised, lemons tasted sweet but not too sweet. We all liked miracle-enhanced lemons a lot so we each had several wedges.
- Grapefruit: also great, but not as good as lemons
- Balsamic vinegar: sugary balsamic vinegar apparently tastes like a hipster cocktail sold for $15 a pop at a bar in San Francisco
- Sriracha: fucking gross
- BBQ sauce: actually pretty good
- Seaweed: fishy with a sugary aftertaste
- Oreo: tasted like Oreo
- Coffee: meh
- Water: tasted like h2o
- Strawberry: like a ball of sugar. extremely sweet
- Avocado: tasted really good, but it could just be because I really like avocado
That was a good distraction for half an hour.
Today, I watched a segment of a TED Talk that was touted as “monkeys rejected unequal payments”. I immediately got the vision that when two monkeys were paid unequally, both the one that was paid more and the one that was paid less would protest. This vision made me happy, thinking that in a society free of money, primates would be able to look out for each another.
But then I watched the video and was disappointed. While the money that was paid in cucumbers protested in vain, the one with grapes continued to do their job blissfully — just like most humans.
What a shame. I guess monkeys are no better than humans after all.