Blog 2: Starting Q2

Hey guys (and girls),

not exactly 2 weeks later as I said, but here I am. I was so occupied with finishing the first quarter, that I didn’t have the time to write a blog.

Finishing all the courses of Q1 took some more time than expected, since my deadlines were postponed; one even to the end of the first week in Q2! Luckily, I have a decent feeling about it. For the Networking course I already received the result for my exam: an 8. -> first 5 ECTS of my master in my pocket:).

For the MCA course, I have finished writing the paper and the second lab assignment. I’m really proud of my work, and I think it will get a good grade. I have talked with the teacher, Sorin Cotofana, about the paper; he asked us some questions, like why did we choose this topic, why do we think that method A is better etc. He told us that the paper looked good, but we will have to wait for our grade. The second lab assignment took us quite some time, since running a simulation took easily over 2 hours. My colleague and I spent almost whole week 1.10 on this lab assignment. Afterwards we had a talk with one of the assistants; he also asked us some questions about our design choices. That went pretty well too, so I think I passed this course:).

For the ACS course, we just handed in the report last Sunday. The assignment was pretty hard and I’m not sure our report is sufficient, guess we will have to wait. We will also have a discussion with the teacher, Zaid Al-Ars, about the lab assignments. Let’s see how that goes;) I got 430 out of 500 points for the homework assignments and a 8.5 for the first lab assignment so I still have hope on passing this course!

The second quarter has started already and so do my courses. I have chosen three courses, meaning that I have again four courses (I still have Profile Orientation and Academic Skills). The courses I’ve chosen are: Methods and Algorithms for System Design (Track core), Digital IC Design and Performance Analysis (Specialization core).

M&ASD is about algorithms for system design. So far, the course isn’t that intensive and is mostly about algorithms and synthesization of a program. I think that the course is not so interesting yet, but that’s probably because it just started. We will have to do a lab assignment and I will have an oral examination for this course.

Digital IC Design is about the design of an Integrated Circuit; a big part of this course is the lab which has not started yet. Before we can start with the lab, we have to pass 2 assignments in which you can get used to the tools you will need to use in the lab. I finished the first assignment already with my colleague which we will be, hopefully, signed off next week. Besides the lab, there are also lectures and a written exam. The lectures so far are about the workings of transistors and an inverter, and are quite intensive but interesting.

Performance Analysis heavily focuses on stochastic processes meaning mathematics. There is only 1 lecture per week, which results in the teacher going over the material quite rapidly. The course is therefore quite intensive. Every week, a homework assignment is uploaded which will give you bonus points upon completion. I haven’t started yet, so I’m not sure about the level of the assignments. There is also a written exam for this course.

Yesterday I joined the Master Event as a promoter for Computer Engineering for the first time. It was quite fun, although my legs were almost dead after standing for 6 hours;) There were a lot of people there, but unfortunately I didn’t get to talk with a lot of them. On the other hand, 26 people attended the presentation by our coordinator Arjan van Genderen; hopefully I will see a few of them next year.

A question I got a lot yesterday, was: “What is the difference between CE and Embedded Systems?”. Since this is an interesting question, I decided to explain it here. For me, an important difference is the amount of choices you can make in CE; there are only 2 compulsory courses and for the rest you can choose, to some extent, the rest of your courses. Both CE and ES are inbetween Electrical Engineering (hardware) and Computer Science (software); the difference between them is that CE focuses a bit more on hardware, while ES focuses a bit more on software. However, there are enough software related courses in CE! A lot of the specialization courses are the same for CE and ES, however the track core of CE is what makes CE, CE. Therefore I would say, that if the track core of CE appeals to you, then CE is the right option for you. If, however, it does not, maybe ES is better for you (given that you like the compulsory courses of ES;)).

Well, that’s it for me this time. I’ll be working hard the coming weeks; the Digital IC Design lab will start, and so does the M&SD lab. I will also work on the essay I need to write for Profile Orientations. Hopefully I will be writing my next blog in a few weeks, before the Christmas Holidays. Till then!

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