Drama and education

Time for another incoherent blog post of events that have transpired on the last few days! This might be less incoherent than the last post I declared random, or this sentence might just be false. Liar’s paradox? Or a writer’s rhetorics?

Anyway, the week got off to a good start with a rush of drama in the form of a Drama Rush. We were treated to a monologue (Killer’s head by Sam Shepard) by one of the actors from the Stanford Summer Theater. They do have almost everything here. And of course the Summer Theater is not some small time hobby thing but employs actors with big money and has apparently rather plentiful resources. Can’t say I’m surprised. A little tidbit of trivia: Killer’s Head was played in Broadway by Richard Gere back in the day.

I brushed up my rock climbing skills and now my back hurts. Also my climbing skills are not top notch, so there might be some explanation as to why my back aches. I’ve mentioned it before but I’ll say it again – the possibilities to do sports are enough to satisfy even the most demanding athlete.

Then a little something about yet another speaker. This time he was Mehran Sahami, and his field is near and dear to me (the field being Computer Science). The speech wasn’t on technical matters, however. He talked about the reformation of the CS curriculum here in Stanford, the power of the Computer Science and computing along with their fast development. Most importantly, how the increase of computing power its applications have caused many other fields to grow as well and how this is incorporated to the CS curriculum. Interesting talk in many ways: how the teaching in a university reacts to the happenings of the real world, how an entire curriculum that has been in use for over 20 years can be renovated, what kind of challenges are there with these things and many more. This is also interesting from the Aalto University point of view, since we are going through a big reform of bachelors’ education. We might follow up on this.

There were many points to the speech but there were few I liked the most, like programming as a mean rather than as an end, the explosive growth of computing power and possibilities and the idea of incorporating studies of other field to your CS degree. You know, like a mean to an end. I agreed on almost everything he said.

There will be another speaker tomorrow, from a completely different academic path: comparative literature. Should be interesting as well.

Midterms are starting this week. I’ll have midterms next week.

I visited the local AI lab, it was cool. Should go there again to chat up with folks. There was also a cool exhibition on the history of computer science in the Computer Science building. Did you know that Python the programming language is named after Monty Python’s Flying Sircus?

That’s a lot of words compared to my previous writings. Congratulations on making to the end!

Miro