End of the Semester and Other News

Sat 29 Apr 2006 12:36pm

So, the end of another semester is upon me. This one is slightly different from previous ones, however. Olin is graduating its first batch of seniors EVER. And I’m next. If that’s not a little bit freaky, then I don’t know what is.

I can’t believe that we’ve already come to this point. It doesn’t seem like very long ago that I was moving into West Hall for freshmen orientation. Now, the senior class (including many of my friends) will be leaving to pursue very promising opportunities at Oxford, Standford, MIT, CMU, and many other businesses and institutions. I’m happy for them, but I can’t help but realize what it means: I’m next. Next year I’ll be a senior, and that’s a little bit scary.

In the meantime, we’ve moved over into the CrazyEndOfSemesterTime, so I’ve been busy finishing all of the projects and assignments for my various classes. Here’s a rundown of what I’m working on for the end of the year:

  • Sci-Fi: The final project is writing my own science fiction short story (~5-6 pages) and then analyze my own story within the various frameworks that we’ve been learning about throughout the year. My story is called “Filterware”, and it’s almost finished.
  • Math: I’m researching and writing a self-directed paper on the Four Color Theorem for my “6 Theorems that Changed the World” class. The actual proof of the theorem is a little bit intense (it requires a computer to solve the final ~600 configurations), but I’ll be focusing more on the history and controversy surrounding this seemingly simple statement: Any map of regions on a plane can be colored with only 4 colors so that any regions sharing an edge (more than a point) do not share the same color.
  • AHS Capstone Prep: I’m finishing up the proposal for the AHS (Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences) Capstone that I’ll do a year from now. I’m planning on researching the history of online personal publishing (blogging in particular) and creating a final report in the form of a creative website.
  • Dynamic Interface Design: For the final project in my Wellesley art class, Jesus F. and I are collaborating to build an interactive cellular simulator. The cells will obey rock/paper/scissors-like rules to decide whether they will kill, do nothing, or reproduce when two colors collide. Users will not have direct control, but will be able to create and destroy colors as well as introduce color-changing hormones into the system. It’s basically an interesting AL simulation, made to look pretty with a lot of mass-spring systems.
  • Research: I’m working on finishing a semantic web / RDF powered physical media sharing web application for my school. I’m using an implementation of the Fresnel specification that my friends Chris M. and Katie R. developed. We’re also writing up what we’ve done over the semester in practical application of these specifications and submitting it to a semantic web conference.

Besides all that, Brian, Brendan, Dean, and I are ramping up for our summer plans. We were offered seed funding from Y Combinator as part of their Summer Founders Program to start our own small web business. It was a tough decision, and I ended up deciding to turn down an offer from Google in order to do it, but we’re really excited about this opportunity. I figure, you can only afford to take career risks like this while you’re young, so if I’m ever going to start my own business, it should be now. This essay by Paul Graham really says it better than I can. The four of us will be living in Cambridge and working like mad all summer. Look for more news later on!

Finally, I just wanted to show off a juicy photo of my new monitor setup. I just purchased a second 19″ Ag Neovo flat-panel to go with my original one, so I now have a combined total of 2.6 million beautiful pixels. It’s really going to streamline graphic design and coding workflow for this summer. Pretty.

my monitor setup

That’s about it. Don’t expect any more updates from this space until sometime after Expo and finals are over. Maybe I’ll write a post once graduation rolls around and we’re moving into our Cambridge apartment. Summer is almost here!

Comments (2 So Far)

Ryan says:
Wed 10 May 2006 - 12:38pm

That’s quite a nice setup you’ve got there. Seems like school keeps you pretty busy. Actually, I just read an article in IEEE Spectrum about Olin. I’m really curious about it’s future - especially after reading that article. Do you feel prepared for your career based on your Olin experience thus far? Or do you think a lot of it is self-inflicted? I think a lot of what I truly enjoy didn’t come from college. It came from personal experiences, and efforts to learn on my own. I’m just curious if Olin is changing that trend.

olivia says:
Fri 25 Aug 2006 - 6:19pm

hang in there…you’ll be okay. : )

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Sean McBride
Engineer / Web Developer
Boston, MA - Billings, MT

"I will follow you into the dark."

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