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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

η β π

Today I've been solving systems containing so many equations that I'm running out of Greek letters to name them with. That's my only excuse for such a terrible title pun. Please forgive me.

I'm now halfway through question 8 of the assignment. It's hard work, largely mechanical, not very interesting but mildly satisfying when I do find that solution button. Maple is useless for checking my answers - it insists on delivering all complex solutions, which makes it rather difficult to separate out the real ones I need - so I'm largely flying blind. This makes me nervous when there's so much working involved where I could be making silly mistakes, but it's good for me really. Maple's solutions are only as good as the information you're able to give it. There do exist problems which are harder to input than to solve by hand.

The test came out today. It's one of those strange "take-home tests" - effectively just a long assignment, worth 30% and due on September 14. For a project which I'd expected to take up the entire mid-trimester break, it doesn't look very long. Only four questions, and only one of those seems to contain anything conceptually difficult. No doubt this is compensated by technical difficulties which will become apparent after I start working on it.

Assignment 6 is out too, a few days early, due on September 7. This system of due dates [just look at me misusing mathematical terms in informal writing, I've been working too much recently] doesn't seem to create a lot of stress for the mid-trimester break, although that all depends on the true difficulty of the test.

Here's my plan for the next couple of weeks:

  • August 17: hand in assignment 5
  • August 18 - 31: mid-trimester break
    • do assignment 6
    • do questions 1-3 of the test
    • study for QUAN test
  • September 3 - 7: week 7
    • finalise assignment 6 and hand in
    • sit QUAN test
    • do question 4 of the test [if lectures are up to it by then]
  • September 8 - 14: week 8
    • finalise test and hand in
    • do assignment 7 [if it's due this week]
  • September 15: back to normal assignment cycle

I continue to be surprised at how well this course is going. There must be something nasty waiting around the corner, or else I've been doing something terribly wrong all this time and I haven't noticed it yet. But my assignment marks are good and I'm neither struggling nor panicking, so I can't see where these anticipated horrors could come from. I shall press on and pretend they're not there, and then maybe they won't be.

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