And we have one semester done. Yesterday marked the last activity of this semester. I presented a demo of the project to the professor, and it seems he was content about it.
What I have reached so far is hard to describe in words. I have experienced cultural and habitual changes. I let go some skills I managed to acquire as part of the corporate life that conflict with the academic life. And the most important thing, is that I learned how humble my intellect is!
I recall back in the late nineties, when I had my first job. I was so arrogant, and thought that whatever tasks I am to work on would be a piece of cake, no sweat! Then I realized by time how challenging the career was. Same thing applies here; I joined academia with 16 years of industrial experience, having the impression that all theoretical stuff I am about the learn is no match for my first hand experience and my intellectual mightiness!
One trait I had to survive industry, I had to let go to survive academia; that is bluffing, and head nodding. Academia requires scrutiny in seeking knowledge and finding solutions. It is about optimization and understanding where did this term come from. No bluffing allowed. Industry on the other hand has no tolerance to such behaviour. I would get dirty looks in meetings if I ask more questions or do research to solve a certain problem having a working solution. “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it”.
What I really miss both in academia and industry, is my time management skills. It took me nearly 12 years to properly manage my time and priorities in industry. I created a certain system to ensure I am delivering the “Important” tasks on time, and have all the manoeuvres and strategies in place to recover missed “Less Important” deadlines. Here in academia, I need to work on a new system, it simply doesn’t work here. I remember how hard it was racing with time to hand in assignments for two subjects, whenever I am done with subject one assignment, and start working on subject two, subject one introduces a new assignment. I was trapped in procrastination for strategic assignments and paid a lot for such poor strategy.
From the scientific concepts, I learned that the dot product of two vectors relates somehow to the angle between those vectors. And that cross product yields a vector orthogonal to the hyperplane (the normal)hosting such vectors, and the magnitude of such normal is related to the area of the polygon defined by such vectors. I also learned that Eigenvectors are our friends when it comes to recognizing patterns repeated over a set of instances. We should relate Eigenvectors with Principle Component Analysis (PCA) and Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA). Whenever you are in an optimization problem, trying to find a local maxima or a minima of a certain function, all you need to do is to calculate Lagrange Multipliers.