Caltech Rankmaniac 2012

We are trying to educate people about being CS majors and getting our site to the top of a Rankmaniac 2012 google image search

Category Archives: CS major

Rankmaniac 2012 One Hour Countdown….

One more hour until this competition is finished! Doing Rankmaniac 2012 helps me to learn search engine optimization techniques, and be able to post fun thing on this blog. Hopefully this blog could help people understand more about CS majors, how our lives are as CS majors. This is a final update: we are currently 3rd!

Rankmaniac 2012 countdown

Rankmaniac 2012 countdown


The P/F technique

rankmaniac 2012

Rankmaniacs Try and Try and Then Give up

There is one technique that rankmaniacs use often in Caltech classes, especially those involving math or proofs or explanations.  In the title I called it the P/F technique although it can also be called “hand waving” or “It’s 5am, and I don’t care anymore”.

This is best applied when one knows the answer or at least what the TAs and prof want to hear, but are unsure of why it is correct.  It is a skill acquired by all Caltech students (and possibly any college student).  By the way, Rankmaniac 2012.

Expectations of Caltech

rankmaniac 2012 expectations

Rankmaniacs expected less

I actually think some rankmaniacs might agree with me on this one.  Although, I don’t care much for the video games part.

Being a Student Athlete at Caltech

rankmaniac 2012 water polo

High like a Rankmaniac

As some of you know, I am on both the swim team and water polo team at Caltech.  The rest of you may ask, how does a nerd with so much work have time to do anything besides study?

I’ll admit, my sophomore year, while still on Core (a math and physics class) and starting classes for my applied math option (abstract algebra, complex analysis) I don’t think I ever made it out my text books.  In hindsight this is one of my biggest regrets at Caltech.

Life needs balance – my brain was getting plenty of exercise and I still socialized with people in the form of “Have you done #2 yet?  I need help” but my mind was suffering from the lack of change and the body never responds well to doing nothing all the time.  Sophomore year was worst year at Tech and being more active may have made it a bit better.

At Caltech, all sports practices are scheduled from 4-6pm (PE classes may be at other times…) and professors are strongly encouraged to not hold class during this time for the exact reason that rank maniacs have a chance to take a break from studying and take a break.

After sophomore year I actually began to head back to the pool and have definitely been a much happier student ever since (although this also corresponds to my change of major from ACM to CS… I guess we’ll never know what really made me happy).

Of course, there are other ways to take mental breaks – music, art, reading books FOR FUN, other hobbies (I crochet and cross stitch sometimes), but sports are fun because there is still some purpose.

Caltech CS Undergraduate Requirements

rankmaniac 2012 caltech

Where Rankmaniacs Go

Being a CS major (or pretty much any major at Caltech) has many requirements.  First of all the general requirements for all Caltech students consists of a lot of math and physics and some chemistry (yuck).

Most freshman who are curious about CS start by taking the introductory courses which show the fun things computers can do and the range of what computers can do.

  • CS 1: Intro to Computer Programming
  • CS 2: Intro to Programming Methods
  • CS 4: Fundamentals of Computer Programming

During sophomore year comes all of the nitty gritty details of computability and complexity and algorithms and some intro to graph theory and (my least favorite) how computers actually work.

  • Ma/CS 6: Intro to Discrete Math
  • CS 21: Decidability and Tractability
  • CS 24: Intro to Computing Systems
  • CS 38: Intro to Algorithms

Junior and senior year is when the real fun happens – CS courses and projects in whatever area you choose, math classes of your choice, and lots of focus on what you really want to do.

  • 7 CS classes labeled 114 or above
  • a 3-quarter course sequence culminating in a large project

This project is the fun part.  My project course was in Learning & Vision, for which I took Artificial Intelligence, Learning Systems, and as the final projected competed in a machine learning competition based on the 2006-2009 Netflix competition.

Examples of other project tracks at Caltech include Distributed systems, Networks (the Rankmaniac 2012 Class!), Graphics, and Theory (ew :P(says the girl taking Algorithms)).

CS majors have computers!

rankmaniac 2012 apple

rankmaniac computer

For the sake of keeping on topic on the last night of Rankmaniac 2012, I, who am actually pretty clueless about computers, will attempt to talk about what computers CS majors have.

Keep in mind, (this is Janis btw), that I began my career at Caltech as an applied math major and came from a school where the only computer programming class was HTML taught by the wrestling coach who was only there because our wrestling team were state champs.  (I learned how to change the colors and font on my myspace page, yaaay!).  Anyways, when it came time to choose a computer for college, my parents and I went for a MacBook pro because it came with a free iTouch or something.  I like my Mac (and all of my Apple products) and has overall functioned very well throughout my time at Caltech.

So, I know of other CS majors with Macs, what other computers do rankmaniacs have?

I apologize for the lame post… it’s late, I’m tired, and this page really needed an update.

Last day for Rankmaniac!!!

Hey guys,

Unlike my Senior associate, who only has golf today, I have a huge amount of work.  Fortunately, we are winning Rankmaniac 2012 on Google search.  That’s pretty good I think.  It probably won’t last, but we have some plans for maintaining our dominance.

We are the big lion:

Rankmaniac 2012 dominance

Rankmaniac 2012 Dominance

Anyway, the next to weeks are going to be awful.  We need to get CS projects in order for next quarter, I need to finish my PS 139 project (a study on election fraud) and I need to finish my CS 141 work.  OMG I have CS 144 due at the end of the week – blech… At least I don’t have any midterms…  I will power through like a true Rankmaniac.

Last Day for Rankmaniacs

Rankmanic 2012

This is how a rank maniac thinks

Happy Valentine’s Day, Rankmaniacs!

The rankmaniac 2012 competition ends tomorrow so we are in the final stretch!  Since my only class today is Golf, I decided to share with you some of the other awesome classes that Caltech students take while dwindling away their senior years.  This term I only needed two CS classes and a humanities of social science class.

Since this class (the one with the Rankmaniac competition), Algorithms, and Creative Writing only add up to 27 units and I need 36 to be a full time student for swimming, I added three 3 unit courses as filler.  First of all swimming – chill.  I would be on the team even if I wasn’t official signed up for the class.  Second is golf.  This class is awesome.  Twice a week I stand out in the sun and hit balls and talk with people.  Also we get to go putting and actually play golf at some point.  Finally I am in an art class – Drawing and Painting.  Every week the teacher brings this rankmaniac and a friend hot chocolate.  Then we look at picture books until we are inspired to paint whatever we want.  Halfway through class we give up and draw a model.  Not surprisingly, every time I go to this class, I forget about the Rankmaniac competition, homework, and the job search.  It is the most stress relieving class I  have ever been in.

And to make the picture somewhat relevant, yesterday it was raining and I skipped classes until it stopped. 😀

Why Computer Science is the best major

CS is definitely the best major for these reasons:

  1. Highest starting salary – CS majors regularly get paid anywhere between $75,000 – $90,000 right out of college (Facebook pays as much as $110,000 plus bonuses and options).
  2. Workplace is super chill – CS companies often have free beer, meals and no dress code.  Trust me – it’s freaking awesome (unless you don’t like beer).
  3. The tech industry is booming – You will be able to find a job a lot easier than your friends.
  4. It can be pretty low stress – Compared to other jobs, software engineering positions have been continuously rated for their low stress levels.
  5. Give you a chance to be creative – You will be working on big projects – most companies give a lot of leeway to their developers.
  6. You can change the world – A lot of CS positions involve working on really big/important projects.  On top of that, with your skill set you have the ability to create the next Facebook or Google.
  7. Chicks dig CS majors – Chicks are attracted by our naturally white skin and fat wallets.  Beware of the CS effect on women.

Computer Nerd Rankmaniac 2012

What computer engineers should study…

Hi guys,

I just want to talk about what I think a true Rankmaniac should study to become a hireable/desirable computer engineer.

  1. Databases – This is super important.  Everything runs on databases.  Both webpages and stand alone applications use them and pretty much everyone who writes code will have to interact with them.  The only exception I can think of is people who work on video games, but even then there is a good chance you will work with them especially if your game has an online component.
  2. Web development/Networking – Besides video games, most new, blockbuster applications are on the web.  It is important to learn some web programming even if you don’t intend to work on web applications.  That way you can make your personal website and market yourself 😉
  3. Probability and Statistics – You’d be shocked how often this appears, especially if you are doing analytics.  I personally feel that a good knowledge of statistics separates an excellent engineer from a so-so one.
  4. Systems – A lot of systems concepts, like memory models, multithreading and caching appear everywhere.  Learning this will definitely make you a more versatile engineer.
  5. Machine Learning – Some may disagree with the importance of machine learning.  However, it appears everywhere these days.  Targeting ads, identifying fake accounts in Google or Facebook and recommendation systems all use machine learning.

I hope that you guys find this helpful.