My First Semester in Pittsburgh

Long time no writing posts, I just want to records my first semester spent in Pittsburgh.

Firstly, the city is beautiful. I have so long live under the air pollutions (both for Changsha and Beijing). When I first located here, I was attracted by the blue sky, by the green trees, and by the lovely small animals live besides my campus.

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Secondly, study is tough, lots of knowledges that I have not learned before. Though there are only three courses, the course load is heavy. For the Operating System, I have accomplished two course projects – the SRPC and the miniGoogle. Implementing Remote Procedure Call is a kind of challenge in the concept of design. It requires the developer to separate fully the function call and details in network protocol. The miniGoogle project is much simpler, it is just two layered architecture in the backend systems. I think I would publish my designs of these to OS project to my websites and publish a demo interface for the miniGoogle.

For the Artificial Intelligence, not much to say. But I find one of the assignment quite interesting. That is the ‘checker’. We are requiring to implement the heuristic function for the checker, and I applied the Logistic Regression methods. I have won 2 games in the tournament. And I believe that the reason I failed in the next game is I did not gather more accurate features. What ever, it is just a game. In sum, I learned a lot from University of Pittsburgh, and I think it is wealthy for me quitting my job and get here for study.

The TA job is a shit. I shall never forget my first course of teaching. I stuck for so many times in that I did not prepare well. Thus after that course I spend 4-6 hours each week preparing for my recitation. I feel I speaks better and better, yet the statistical result estimating my teaching quality is rather disappointing. More than half of my students are not satisfied with my teaching. The grading work is much worse. It costs my time for grading, even more, these time conflicts with my midterm and final exams. Thus, I think I should find a easy course to teach in the next semester.

Eating in Pittsburgh is not that bad. Sometimes I cook for myself, sometimes I go out for dinner/lunch. I get to be familiar with students who often eat at the graduate lounge. They are quite funny guys. For ranking the restaurant (fast food) I have tried, I think chipolle > five guys > subway > sichuan express > sushi.

The most exciting thing in this semester, I think, is that I possess my own car. It is a brand new 2016 Honda CR-V, with quite a amazing driving experience. Thanks to my friends, they drive me to the dealer, tell me how to choose cars, teach me how to drive, and accompany me to the road test.

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Okay, that’s all I want to talk about.


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