...Isn't at it's best right now. I've come down with a nasty crud, and I have a ton of homework to try to get my GPA to a 4.0 before the semester finishes. Luckily I have a break after tomorrow. I'm just gonna ramble for a while, and see if it makes me feel better. Feel free to skip this one.
In other news, I've developed one of my peripheral interests, Computational Neuroscience. Ive come up with a method to quantify which cells in a given neural network are providing or interpreting "information"(not in the technical sense of the word, but I don't know a better term). By my reckoning, it's either probably really interesting, or it's something done decades ago that I just rediscovered. Either way, I find it interesting, so perhaps I'll do a post on it in the near future. The reason for all this interest is a summer program, RSI.
If you don't know, RSI is an amazing program at MIT. Basically you spend the summer writing a paper, and at the end of the program, you publish. You have a mentor (usually a professor at MIT), and some field in which to do research. If you get in, it's also an indicator that you're top stuff: overwhelmingly, attendees are accepted at MIT, etc. In short, this is an amazing program I really want to attend. The catch? There are only 80 spots. 30 are given to international students, the remaining 50 go to US students by region. That works out well for me (an Oregonian), but I'm still not absolutely sure I have the stuff to make it. I have my fingers crossed, and my application is in the mail.
In any case, one of the essay question asked me to list two fields->sub-fields interests I'd like to study and interesting questionions in those sub-fields. Given a recent fascination with neural networks (which is kind of a strange result of studying physiology along with data mining and AI at Stanford this summer), my first (and in my opinion better) choice was computational neuroscience. I wrote about the potential for new computer algorithms to attempt to duplicate the remarkable success of the brain when it comes to image recognition, and the potential for existing data mining techniques to uncover broad patterns of neuron behavior, and assist in statistical analysis of networks.
My second essay, was on material science, and specifically the nondestructive evaluation of structural ceramics. This is a practical interest of mine: it would be wonderful to be able to detect strains on materials in use, especially if such a technique could be make cheaply. In this manner, one could automatically detect structural defects in, for example, bridges or other common structures. This would lead to an effective early warning system for such structures.
We shall see. I'm pretty proud of my essays, my PSATs (CR:77, M:79, Wr:80, NMSF with any luck!), etc. I just hope that a)My non 4.0 GPA doesn't kill it, and b) I'm not putting myself into a pond I'm vastly unprepared for.