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advice_column [2018/05/19 08:43]
edit [On grades and cheating]
advice_column [2019/04/30 06:41] (current)
edit [Homework Assignments]
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 The most important advice about advice I already gave in the disclaimer above. ("I believe every word I said, but that doesn’t mean you should too."​)  ​ The most important advice about advice I already gave in the disclaimer above. ("I believe every word I said, but that doesn’t mean you should too."​)  ​
  
-When finding yourself in a new situation, getting good advice can be most helpful toward avoiding the very bad decisions and the avoidable mistakes. ​ They are not so useful in making the "right decision"​ for you.+When finding yourself in a new situation, getting good advice can be most helpful toward avoiding the very bad decisions and the avoidable mistakes. ​ They are not so useful in making the "right decision"​ for you.  ​(Don'​t confuse getting advice and letting other decide for you.)
  
-When you ask for advice, it is important to understand what you are receiving. Most advice you will get is in the form of a retelling of personal experiences (possibly with embellishment and omissions). A more thoughtful teller may offer personal interpretation and insights. In any case, an advice is highly personal and subjective to the teller. ​ It behooves you to ask the same question to many experienced people. Find which answers are most relevant to you and your situation. ​ At the end, you have to add your own interpretation and distillation to extract the "​common knowledge" ​ and "​common sense" (that you lack because you are inexperienced) to help you avoid the known pitfalls. ​ **You still have to make the "best decision"​ for you yourself.**+When you ask for advice, it is important to understand what you are receiving. Most advice you will get is in the form of a retelling of personal experiences (possibly with embellishment and omissions). A more thoughtful teller may offer personal interpretation and insights ​on top of the narrative. In any case, an advice is highly personal and subjective to the teller. ​ It behooves you to ask the same question to many experienced people. Find which answers are most relevant to you and your situation. ​ At the end, you have to add your own interpretation and distillation to extract the "​common knowledge" ​ and "​common sense" (that you lack because you are inexperienced) to help you avoid the known pitfalls. ​ **You still have to make the "best decision"​ for you yourself.**
  
 I do not recommend cloning someone else's success story; great successes are not repeatable exactly. ​ The secret to success is luck; the non-secret is hard work, understanding what works for you, and avoiding avoidable mistakes. ​ I do not recommend cloning someone else's success story; great successes are not repeatable exactly. ​ The secret to success is luck; the non-secret is hard work, understanding what works for you, and avoiding avoidable mistakes. ​
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 Lastly, the best advice comes from first-hand experience. Beware of second-hand experts and their advice. Lastly, the best advice comes from first-hand experience. Beware of second-hand experts and their advice.
  
 +======Theme======
 +
 +There is a very simple theme in my advising. ​ The purpose of coming to study at CMU is to learn (about yourself and about an area of study); ​ the purpose of learning is to know and to do what you want to do after CMU.
 ======Course Planning====== ======Course Planning======
  
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 You might be tempted to think by overloading you are getting more “units” per dollar (of tuition) out of CMU.  Don’t confuse that with how much learning and retention you are getting for your dollars. ​ Overloading is not worth it. You might be tempted to think by overloading you are getting more “units” per dollar (of tuition) out of CMU.  Don’t confuse that with how much learning and retention you are getting for your dollars. ​ Overloading is not worth it.
  
-=====What courses to take=====+=====What courses to take (updated 4/23/2019)=====
  
 There are so many different courses you could take as an ECE undergrad at CMU. This can get really confusing. The suggestions below are simply a representation of what “I” would have taken had I been an undergrad in ECE today. There are so many different courses you could take as an ECE undergrad at CMU. This can get really confusing. The suggestions below are simply a representation of what “I” would have taken had I been an undergrad in ECE today.
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 There are still the Free Electives. They should not all be technical, but it does give me the time to take a few more courses (without overloading). ​ Here are examples of some courses I would consider choosing from (as a student interested in computer architecture). There are still the Free Electives. They should not all be technical, but it does give me the time to take a few more courses (without overloading). ​ Here are examples of some courses I would consider choosing from (as a student interested in computer architecture).
  
-  * 18-340: ​         ​Digital Computation ​                                                                       +  * 18-340: ​         ​Hardware Arithmetic for Machine Learning ​                                                                       
   * 15-411: ​         Compiler Design   * 15-411: ​         Compiler Design
   * 18-422: ​         Analysis and Design of Digital Circuits   * 18-422: ​         Analysis and Design of Digital Circuits
-  * 18-441:          ​Verification of Computer ​Hardware ​Systems ​                                      ​ +  * 18-740:          ​Graduate ​Computer ​Architecture ​                                                    
-  * 18-643:          Reconfigurable Logic   + 
-  * 18-740/​1/​2: ​         Graduate Computer Architecture ​                                                   ​+I would be tempted with  
 + 
 +  * 18-330 Introduction to Computer Security 
 +  * 18-349 Introduction to Embedded ​Systems 
 +  * 18-403 Microfabrication Methods and Technology (this I actually did as an undergrad) 
 +  * 18-461 Introduction to Machine Learning for Engineers 
 +  * 18-464 ULSI Technology Status and Roadmap for System on Chips and System in Package
  
 I would make it a point to take a few fun, non-ECE courses (freshman-level intro courses are just fine). ​ I would make it a point to take a few fun, non-ECE courses (freshman-level intro courses are just fine). ​
  
 I would also include a senior project. ​ If I were interested in going to graduate school, I would start my senior project the summer before the senior year.  I would not try to do undergraduate “research” during the semester with a full course load.  Lastly, I would do a technical internship in the industry the summer before my junior year. I would also include a senior project. ​ If I were interested in going to graduate school, I would start my senior project the summer before the senior year.  I would not try to do undergraduate “research” during the semester with a full course load.  Lastly, I would do a technical internship in the industry the summer before my junior year.
 +
 +I do not recommend undergrads (especially if heading to PhD) to hurry into or take a lot of graduate courses. ​ You do want to take THE one in your specialization (18-740 in my example) before you apply for PhD. (Okay, may be just one more, 18-643.) ​ As IMB, I trust you are mature enough to pick what you need and what is good for you for whatever you have planned for your own career future.
  
 Again, this simply reflects what I would have done as an undergrad. If you don’t like what you see here, don’t be shy about asking another professor closer to your area to tell you what he/she would do. Again, this simply reflects what I would have done as an undergrad. If you don’t like what you see here, don’t be shy about asking another professor closer to your area to tell you what he/she would do.
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 Even in an ideal world with ideal students, I would not do away with homework because it is an effective teaching/​learning tool.   In the ideal world, I would give out homework (and provide solutions) with no consequences on grade. (Then again, in the ideal world, I wouldn'​t have to assess grades to begin with.  You learned what you learned; you make do with what you learned.)  ​ Even in an ideal world with ideal students, I would not do away with homework because it is an effective teaching/​learning tool.   In the ideal world, I would give out homework (and provide solutions) with no consequences on grade. (Then again, in the ideal world, I wouldn'​t have to assess grades to begin with.  You learned what you learned; you make do with what you learned.)  ​
  
-If you ever find yourself rushing through homework the night before it is due (even though it covers multiple weeks of past materials and you had weeks to do it), stop and rethink your strategy and mindset. ​ You could do it anytime---before or even after the due date---for the same learning effect. Why did it suddenly become important the night before it is due?  BTW, if you have skipped reading assignments because you are not **directly** assessed on it, see above.+If you ever find yourself rushing through homework the night before it is due (even though it covers multiple weeks of past materials and you had weeks to do it), stop and rethink your strategy and mindset. ​ You could do it anytime---before or even after the due date---for the same learning effect. Why did it suddenly become important the night before it is due?  ​(BTW, if you have skipped reading assignments because you are not **directly** assessed on it, see above.)  Still worse, if you ever resorted to "​cheating"​ to finish a homework, you really need to ask yourself why and what for.
  
-Still worse, if you ever resorted ​to "​cheating" ​to finish ​a homework, you really need to ask yourself why and what for.+Do homework ​to learn from it not to finish ​it.