Automatthias, MSc Eng

I passed, with the highest degree.

I have learned that my school can issue a document in English. It’s enough to submit a request along with a photo. This is a good news, because I won’t have to bother with translating it.

The exam was quite short. First, I made a presentation, about 10 minutes long. The jury asked some questions about my research, which took next 10 minutes. Then I’ve been given three questions from the general studies programme, took few minutes to prepare myself and answered them.

The jury seemed somewhat interested in the subject of my thesis. I think I won by having an original subject.

One day before my oral exam

My MSc oral exam is tomorrow. I am still polishing my presentation and working on squeezing it in 10 minutes. Last time I measured it took me 17 minutes, way too long. There still are some slides to throw out.

I also need to keep my presentation consistent. I loved Adrian Holovaty’s presentation and wanted to put more life in mine by adding some pictures and making it a little bit informal. I didn’t manage to follow this style in a consistent manner, so my presentation was half informal and half formal. I better make it all formal. It’ll be consistent and I never know who’s going to show up on the oral exam.

Oral exam preparations

Current death-march project in my work was keeping me busy for last weeks. In the meantime, my final oral exam is getting closer. They didn’t tell me the date yet, but said that it’s going to be between 20th and 30th November.

I talked with my supervisor about the oral exam preparations. Since my reviewer is a statistician, I’m probably going to be asked questions about statistics. It means, I got to refresh the basics of statistics and read “Computer-Aided Multivariate Analysis” (Afifi, Clark and May, Chapman & Hall/CRC, 2004).

Another thing is the presentation of the thesis. It’s supposed to be 15 minutes long, so I’ll have to prepare the timing. The previous thesis presentation was supposed to be 15 minutes, but once people started asking questions, it ended up being half an hour long. Well, I can’t ignore people asking questions, can I?

I also tried to find a general guide to oral exam (thesis defense) on the web, but so far I didn’t find anything useful.

My figurative outbursts

I had a lots of fun putting journalistic and figurative expressions in my thesis. I agree with Lenina and understand that leaving them there would cause more harm than good. While removing them, I felt like I’m removing some of my personality from the thesis. I didn’t want them to be completely lost, because they remind me of the fun I had writing them. The best place for them to live is here.

  • An analytical mind setting a foot on a data set. (And leaving a deep print)
  • …saying that firemen are causing fire.
  • When reliable data is required, it must be 100% verified, period.
  • Data verification is an important issue. However, this thesis may be considered a scenario in case 100% verified data is provided, as the trouble don’t end there.
  • A greedy algorithm and a brutal attack (these are actually legitimate computer science terms).
  • Power of statistical tests.
  • A program would be condemned to be user-hostile.
  • A program doesn’t even say “thank you”.

minus 5 days to go

I have submitted the thesis.

Formalities are not over yet, I need to get a signatures from the library and three other places. I was just about to get them all today, but…

…I got a puncture in the right front tire! The spare wheel is (of course!) unusable: no air in it. I’m currently in a school computer lab, waiting for my uncle who is going to help me get the spare wheel to the service. I’m starting to hate cars. The car I once owned was a disaster, lots of money spent on repairs, finally sold for a very low price. This one is not much better, borrowed from my mother, how could I know there’s no air in the spare wheel? I’ve made a list of things that need to be repaired in it, and I think the cost of repairs will be about half of the car’s value. I just need my formalities done.

Perhaps taxis would be cheaper?

minus 4 days to go

I have proof-read a hardcopy of my thesis, made final corrections and commited them to the repository.

Transmitting file data ……..
Committed revision 384.

I noticed that the error rate varied across chapters. I think the earliest parts were the worst, there was no page left without a change. The newest parts, however, were mostly OK, with just few slight modifications.

Some of the corrections were because of the integrity and continuity. I expected to write or do some things that I haven’t finally written or done. For example, I planned to include an appendix, which occurred to be too big and was finally removed. I spotted and removed two references to the non-existing appendix today. At first, I considered this appendix an integral part of the thesis. However, it could distract readers from the main concept, i.e. the normalization. I wouldn’t like to discuss the details of the way I have normalized the International Nomenclature for CHD. It is a task for a medicine expert, I just had to do it in order to be able to move forward with my analysis.

minus 3 days to go

  • Grade signatures acquired: 2
  • Theses submitted:0
  • Pakistanians driven to a hostel: 0
  • Grandmas visited: 1
  • Aikido belts retrieved from post offices: 1

Another Pakistanian arrived today. I was supposed to drive him to the hostel, but he somehow didn’t make it to the school, so I couldn’t pick him up.

I have found two professors and got their signatures. One of them was located by sonic means. His voice and way of speaking is so unique, I couldn’t miss him. Even through a door.

I started to read the thesis once more and it turned out that there are things I really want to correct. I’m going to make corrections tomorrow and submit the thesis on Thursday.

The Aikido belt is 220cm and I think it’s a little too short. I can tie it, but the ends are very short then. I need to buy a 280cm one, so I get about 30cm of belt hanging from each side.

minus 2 days to go

  • Number of signatures taken: 1
  • Number of Pakistanians driven to a hostel: 1

I’m starting to feel a relief. Just a little bit. I was contemplating it while being stuck in a traffic jam.

darmowy hosting obrazków

A Pakistanian was walking around the corridor in the school. He had this expression on his face, which I must have often had when I was in Denmark. I felt it was my moral duty to ask if he needed anything. In fact, the list of needs began with the first fundamental need: water.

I helped him with some more things and finally drove him to his hostel. He would never get there on his own. It was far away and we had to actually leave Warsaw for a while and come back to get there. It’s a small part of the city that is separated from the rest by a huge railroad-area.

The Pakistanian used their English. It’s a very special flavour of this language, popular in India and Pakistan. He was pronouncing the word “studies” with such a weird accent that I didn’t understand him until he s-p-e-l-l-e-d it for me.

I finally managed to get some of my stuff done too. I got one signature and picked a trail of one professor.

minus 1 day to go

Just as Lenina, I’m going to count in negative numbers. I will reach the same negative number, -5.

As there is no point in hunting lecturers on Sunday, I went to a bike trip and cycled 77km. There was a woman selling milk in one of the villages on the way. Not UHT, not sans-life, not artificial-chemical, but real milk, fat, with cream on top. What a taste! I used to drink such milk when I was a boy. It almost completely faded from my memory. I was happy to feel this taste again.