2021 Year to Date in Review

June 16, 2021

A lot has happened in my life so far this 2021.

For the spring semester, I was a research assistant. I worked on creating an experiment in order to detect ground motion using computer hard drives. Lots of people have done experiments seeing how noise can affect hard drive performance, and of course there is this famous video where someone is yelling at their hard drives. Most of this work is done with fairly high frequency vibration, but ground motion is typically much lower. My preliminary experiments showed that we can detect vibration as increased latency for some frequencies at an amplitude that is a legal limit for blasting (velocity of 5 mm per second). Most of my work was looking at different OS configuration and workload generation in order to maximize the sensitivity we saw. There is a lot of variance in latency patterns based on what type of drive is being used, and even the capacity of the drive. The majority of my work was on looking into analyzing the data I recorded, and finding out how to extract the information.

I also completed my Master’s degree in Computer Sciences in May. I didn’t have a thesis, and I took a breadth of courses. I did stuff with machine learning, programming languages, networking, security, human computer interaction, and numerical analysis. In previous semesters, I was a TA for a few introductory courses and operating systems, and I even got to the be lecturer for Programming I. What I liked most about undergrad was taking a wide variety of courses in computer science, and I was never able to pick just one area. Graduate school let me take classes that also weren’t offered at my small undergrad school.

I’ve started a job this month, and so far it has been great. I’m working on a national science foundation project, creating a cloud computing test bed. I get to work on open source software, and work on fun programs. There are a lot of parts to it, combining all sorts of different types of programs. It has been a challenge learning so much, I’ve never had to jump into something so large, but this also makes it an interesting challenge.

There have been more personal updates too. I got engaged this May. I went on my first vacation since 2019, and I’m excited to travel more as things slow down. I had to move as well (for the job). My cat since I was little passed away, he was getting very old, and I’ve been expecting it for years. It has been a wild year so far, and I’m looking forward to what comes next.