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

Tag Archives: cs majors

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

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.

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)).

Why Computer Science?

rankmaniac 2012 pacman game

Projects like Pacman and Rankmaniac 2012 make me like CS

A question I have been asked a lot lately is why I chose to study computer science.  My answer is surprising to most people.  When I first got to Caltech my computer was just a big calculator and word processor with a web browser for wikipedia and Facebook.  I had no idea of its potential to solve problems.  Since I thought math was the only way to do fun things like devise clever solutions to puzzles, I spent my first 2.5 years at Caltech as an Applied and Computational Mathematics major.

It turns out there is still a lot of pure math involved in this major and I got sick of proving random theorems and equations.  Where was it going?  What was I ever going to use this math for?

The first real computer science class I took at Caltech was Artificial Intelligence (I say real because it wasn’t just intro to computer science or a language class).  There was still math involved, but there was a purpose.  To make an efficient machine or algorithm.  I even completed my first project with a partner – to write AI for a simple Pacman game, which totally beat out doing math homework in the funnies category.  And so I fell in love with the magic of computers as a tool in my puzzling world.

Joel’s 7 Advices For CS Majors

Think CS majors do not need to be good at writing? Joel Spolsky has different opinion on it?