Spring semester is over! All in all, this was an extremely exciting semester. A very brief, concise recap:
- Held a real human brain in Q301 (Brain & Cognition). The cerbellum is squishy, the corpus collosum really is amazingly hard, and the spinal cord is kinda freaky…
- Blew up a car with my mind in NeuroBoy, a video game which uses an EEG headset to control abilities.
- Passed the Q301 (Neuroscience) final! (This was a major achievement. Seriously.)
- Completed my last Cognitive Science courses.
- Read from Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature, along with the entirety of Kant’s Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals and Mill’s Utilitarianism. These readings are one of the best things my education has provided.
- Wrote a completely functional 3,000+ line Scheme compiler, which took over 200 man-hours to create and killed every weekend this semester. I can now say I’ve survived compilers!
- Took an informatics course – INFO-I486 Artificial Life – which was completely captivating. Artificial life focuses on the interesting part of Biology – the mechanisms that make something alive, rather than an endless list of implementation details (amino acids, biochemistry, organ systems…)
- Started a new research project investigating the genetics of Larry Yaeger’s Polyworld artificial life simulation.
- Followed through with the DC trip, which was an amazing way to spend break. I managed to keep everything under $400, including travel and lodging costs. Taking the Amtrak was super awesome, even if it did take 18 hours. (Photos)
- Got dropped off the middle of the woods under a new moon and led my entire wilderness survival class over a mile to our campsite without the aid of any flashlights.
- Created fire using sticks!
- Learned how to create totally awesome debris shelters and how to identify wild edible plants.
- Presented my research with the Indiana Philosophy Ontology Project (InPhO) at the 6th University of Evansville Undergraduate Research in Math, Engineering and Science Conference (MESCON).
- Developed a new API for InPhO, which will go live over the summer.
- Prepared a paper on the API, and began searching for a publication venue.
- Hosted the second annual Midwestern Undergraduate Cognitive Science Conference (MUCSC), which went very smoothly thanks to the help of many, many friends.
- Passed the torch for SOCS and MUCSC.
- Met with Dennis Groth to talk about IU’s Computer Science curriculum, his ACM article, and my reply. This led to a CS town hall meeting with students and SoIC representatives to talk about the departmental changes, which was a success.
- Became a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), Cognitive Science Society, and International Association for Computing and Philosophy (IACAP).
- Had a great visit with my Uncle Rob and cousin Ryan.
- Spent a relaxing day at Granddad’s farm in Kentucky with my brothers and sister on Easter Eve.
- Moved the blog to its new permanent address (http://blog.jamram.net/)!
It’s been super busy, but also incredibly stimulating. My grades are coming back, finances are under control and sleep is finally consistent. Can’t wait to keep things moving and get back on the bike this summer!