Blog 1: Hello World!

Hey People,

the coming year I will blog monthly about my experiences as a first-year’s Master (Computer Engineering) student at the TU Delft. Let me kick off by introducing myself. I am Roberto, 21 years old and a student at the TU since 2012 when I started my bachelor in Electrical Engineering. I like to read books, watch anime/series, play videogames (a lot:)) and sport. I like to play tennis, and I am a member of the Ultimate Frisbee club here in Delft, Force Elektro.

Now we got that out of the way, let’s continue with Computer Engineering. Computer Engineering has been given a complete make-over to fit in with other Master Programmes. The program consists of 120 ECTS and it would take a nominal student to graduate in 2 years. The program consists of 5 parts.

The first one is the “Common Core” courses, which consists of 9 courses that are the same for the Master Programmes in EEMCS. 2 courses are mandatory – Profile Orientation and Skills (3 ECTS, Q1 and Q2 in the first year), which is about improving your presentation skills and writing an essay of 1500 words, and System Engineering (3 ECTS, Q3 in the first year). Out of the other 7 courses, which are all worth 5 ECTS and given in Q1, you are required to choose at least one. The variety is nice, you can choose a course on networking but also on EM-waves. The Common Core has to be at least 11 ECTS.

The second part is the “Track” courses, which consists of 6 courses that are more specific to Computer Engineering. You have to choose at least 4 of them with a minimum of 20 ECTS. These courses are worth either 5 or 6 ECTS and are given throughout the year. Then there is the “Specialization’ courses, which consists of a lot of courses that are more specialized (duh) to a specific area. This part has to be worth at least 29 ECTS.

The fourth part is the “Free Electives”, which is wort 15 ECTS. You can put (almost) anything in this; homologation courses (max 10 ECTS), courses you didn’t take of the 3 parts above, an internship and so on.  The 4 parts mentioned above should be at least worth 75 ECTS.

The last 45 ECTS (3 quarters!) are for your Master Thesis, in which you will do research at one of the available research groups or at a company!

The past quarter I have been following 4 courses: Profile Orientation and Academic Skills, Networking (common), Advanced Computing Systems (common) and Modern Computer Architectures (track). Now it is the 9th week of Q1 (week 1.9), which means I am in the middle of the exam period. Yesterday, I had the Networking exam and I think that I passed it 🙂 (with a bit of luck). Strangely enough this was my only exam this quarter. The other 3 courses don’t have exams.

FOr POAS, we needed to prepare 3 presentations in groups of 2. The first 2 needed to be recorded and one of them needed to be done in class. The final presentation needed to be done in class too. Networking had 2 lectures a week. For this course there was an exam (like I just said). Besides this exam you could also do a project on a voluntary basis, which could give you 2 bonus points on the exam, I decided not to do it with all the labs I already had. ACS had only 1 lecture per week. To pass this course you have to make 5 homework assignments and do 3 lab assignments. The lab assignments are of a good level and are quite interesting; in the second lab assignment we had to program a GPU! MCA had 2 lectures a week, but 1 lecture turned into a lab session around week 5. There is no written exam, but instead we have 2 lab assignments and a reading assignment. In the lab assignments you have to design a processor that has both a good performance and power- and resource utilization. For the reading assignment you have to read (duh) 3 to 5 papers about a topic and write a paper, in IEEE style, in which you discuss their contributions and compare their performance. My topic was “indirect branch prediction”; I learned a lot doing this assignment!

So it’s week 1.9 now and that means that after next week Q2 starts. However, I am not finished with Q1 yet. The last 2 days I’ve been working hard with my colleague on the reading assignment. It is almost finished, I think. I just need to write the abstract and the conclusion and then make sure it’s not too long (5 pages maximum). At the same time and with the same colleague I also need to work on the 2nd lab assignment of MCA. Hopefully we can finish that next week (deadline is next Friday). Next week I also need to work on the 3rd lab assignment of ACS, with my lab group. That deadline is November 16th, but I prefer to finish it as soon as possible.

Let me finish this blog, pff 819 words already (now 823:P), by giving my first impression. Q1 has been quite busy, because besides the lectures (which admittedly didn’t take so much time), there was quite some lab work to do. I have to admit that in the last quarter, I worked more in groups than on my own, which is quite a change from my bachelor;) Master is definitely a level higher than bachelor, but I see it as a challenge. So far I like the program, the courses I’ve chosen were interesting and that made up for the hard work I had (and will have) to put in (at least occasionally).

As you have read, there is quite some work for me to do. Let me get on it then! I will be back with you, hopefully, in a week or 2:)

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