Although we had a rainy morning, we spent this time hearing from more professors and PhD students at Cornell. One of the main themes I have seen throughout the talks is that people who pursue a PhD often have a curiosity for research and like problem finding rather than problem solving. I think I would like to pursue a Master's or PhD but I am someone who prefers problem solving, as I enjoy the satisfaction of finding the solution to a problem. However, my interests may change in the future, so I am keeping an open mind towards graduate school.
One lecture I enjoyed today was given by Jon Kleinberg, a professor of CS and Interim dean of CIS (Cornell’s School of Computing and Information Science). He showed a data visualization of the friends of someone on Facebook and the connections between friends (mutual friends).
As someone who is minoring in Business Analytics, this map of depicting the connections between people really piqued my interest. It makes me want to recreate it myself using my data of Facebook friends.
Another professor covered the topic of bitcoin. The more I heard about it, the more it sounded like blockchain was a form of an immutable linked list.
We also viewed a data network center at Cornell. As I walked through rows of cable and boxes, I realized I barely know anything about how devices connect to the internet and how a network server works. It’s something I will have to YouTube later.
After a long trip and many complications with flights, I arrived in Ithaca yesterday for the Cornell SoNIC Summer Research Workshop. I applied to this workshop a few months ago, and to my delight was accepted to attend and learn from some of the best CS professors at Cornell University. This workshop is an opportunity for those in under-represented groups to feel encouraged to get a PhD through an all-expenses paid trip and sponsored by Google and Instagram.
Today was the first day of the workshop. We were mostly introduced to the idea of pursuing research through anecdotes from the Dean of Computing and Information Science (CIS) Greg Morrisett and the Dean of Engineering Lance Collins. Both deans emphasized the importance of a PhD as the path to life long learning, broadening our horizons within the field of computer science. We were also introduced to the idea behind SoNIC, which started as a PhD research project on computer networks. The founder of the workshop, Professor Hakim Weatherspoon, expanded the project by adding the workshop.
The focus of the workshop is on cloud computing and networks, so we learned about how data is transferred from the internet to the user. This involves packets, which hold the information needed. I didn’t know that there were gaps between packets and that even when a page finishes loading, idle gaps are being sent. It really made it clear that I should start researching CS topics on my own and not rely on my classes.
We were also able to explore the Falls of Ithaca. It was a great way for all the workshop participants to mingle and socialize!
I’m very excited for the rest of the workshop!