Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Jean Sequence

The Anna University, under the new regime of the complete idiot Vishwanathan, wrapped up all the exams for the even semester within a short span of two weeks. As an indirect consequence, a lot of people lost many hours of sleep as they had to stay awake till late into the night watching the men in blue snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The fact that cricket matches are played is in itself a direct consequence of looming exams. Every exam was held every alternate day, which was a blessing in disguise, as the possibility of a candidate (read Sundar) forgetting the date and over-sleeping is greatly reduced. Usually exams are held once every three days. The study holidays before the exams, three days of holidays between each exam and the next, and the stretch of holidays after the exams usually have the combined effect of making one feel he’s writing exams in-between a long stretch of holidays. This time round, however, things were different and the exams were all over before one could say Jack Robbins, or whatever one wished to say, because anyway people weren’t paying attention to what one said because they were too busy studying. I am not making much sense am I?

The first exam was something called Computer Architecture. This is a very interesting subject, as I discovered seven hours before the start of the exam. People said it was tough, but I thought it was challenging. Maybe I will have to swallow my words if I flunk it. A day later, we had to write something called Operating Systems, which dealt with how an operating system would go about its task of producing the blue screen of death. This too turned out to be very interesting, but the paper was a terrible bore as there was no work for the brain, whereas my hand worked itself to death. One more day later we had to write a paper called Probability and Queuing Theory where a student’s aptitude is judged based on his ability to memorize totally useless and abstract theorems and the variety of symbols he uses. I mean, who has ever heard of a barber who calculates the number of customers in his shop assuming a Poisson distribution of arrivals where the service rate is assumed to be exponentially distributed? He would be better off doing a head count. With that, the first phase of the exams got over.

The next phase began with Visual Programming. This happens to be the most counter-intuitive programming language ever invented, and no prizes for guessing who invented it – Microsoft. Even though the exam was more than three days away, I started studying as soon as I came home –But that was not to be. There I was trying to make sense out of what Charles Petzold means when he makes tongue-in-cheek remarks like “Creating a window is as easy as calling the createwindow() function –Well, not really”, when some of my friends called me to the nearby ground to play, and that’s what I ended up doing. I read the preface thoroughly in both the books (the only comprehensible parts), and had a few doubts as to whether Kruglinski really died in a paragliding ‘accident’. What I mean is that one of his students could easily have done him in -A knot tied the wrong way would have done the trick. And he would not be without motive. At the end of the exam, I swore that if ever I could get my hands on that Petzold guy I would hack his right arm right off. If time permitted, I would make sure I cut his arm above the windows tattoo that he supposedly wears on his right bicep. Next came a paper called Analog and Digital Communications. Incidentally, we had the most un-communicative lecturer for this subject. Forty-five hours of slogging through phase locked loop circuits, Crosby direct transmitters, digitally encoded binary shift keying theorems and three hours of staring at blank sheets of paper later, we came out feeling absolutely rotten. The next exam was the Electrical Engineering and Control Systems paper. This subject, contrary to popular perception, happens to be a core subject for computer engineers. Once again people spent a day and a half trying to figure out the working of the three phase induction motor that could start itself due to the presence of a rotating magnetic flux (whatever that means) and the Nyquist criterion to find the stability of an independent second order system (you just said it was an independent system –why bother with it? Leave it alone!). The paper setters here pulled off a stunt that has no precedent in the lamentable history of Anna University. Normally they ask problems based on the theories students study. This time however, they, under the impression that they were going to set a challenging paper, set questions that asked students to write long-winded essays on how to solve the problem, rather than asking them to solve the problem itself. So, that was that, and with a month of holidays ahead, there’s nothing to stop me from achieving my wildest ambition ever (sleeping thirteen hours a day).

Why did I name this post the Jean Sequence? Wait and find out.

19 comments:

raja said...

superb post da... tht is the rite attitude 4 da exam... spirit of the xxxam has been brought out awesomely here... amzing post da

Mahesh said...

Arumaiyana post! I learnt many words like tongue-in-cheek etc.
Ur post is one to express ur feelings as per u.

But as per me it is an oppurtunity to improve my englibees by learning new words!

bragadees said...

I second your thoughts. Just the way EECS was your core subject, our core subject was computer architecture. Most of the papers were yawn-inducing this time. Do you know any good physiotherapist in and around Tambaram? My hands are aching after the dreadfully lengthy management paper. BTW was the dinasour book helpful?

Sundar said...

@ Raja
Thanks da

@ Mahesh
You flatter me da

@ Bragi

I know of a physiotherapist round-about-here to whom I went for treatment for my finger and had to pay her so large a fee that it would have covered the national debt of Sudan. Yes the dinosaur book for operating systems was very interesting. I actually liked it. It is the sort of book you could read before bed-time and get away with it... You need not concentrate too much.

Srik said...

Dont have a word to praise u out.. u simply rock man.. that was cool

Arun Madhavan said...

Good post Sundar.. back to form...

Correct description of our exams... However, one thing I wonder is that Petzold might be a left hander and still - he could type with one hand. So it's safer to hack off both hands. Also, EECS is really a core subject da.. after all, without power, there's no computing. Yes.. OS was no brain work, only kai-velai

vinod kumar said...

Superb dude. I expected this from u as u are the best in blogging. An awesome post. Keep it up. So the king of blogging is back. I am waitnig for u to say why kept the name "The Jean Sequence". :-)

Sundar said...

@ Srikanth
Thanks da

@ Arun

That is indeed food for thought.
But kai velai means???

@ Vinod Kumar

You flatter me.

Trinity Teal™ said...

hey sundar,
me a 1st timer here. AU sucks. That's a universal fact.Dont overstate the obvious :-)
Wht they did to u guys this time was real bad .. just a day in between...
but u never knw wid AU .. even the marks awarded are as per the whims and fancies of the person correcting. So enjoy wat is to be enjoyed and as far cribbing goes .. it's a part of college life .. esp under AU.
Gud post, btw.

navneeth said...

nice post really funny,but did u say CA was intresting if so please zark off

Sundar said...

@ Trinity Teal

I'll try to keep that in mind and not overstate the obvious... but actually I am happy they gave a gap of only 1 day in-between exams because it got over that much sooner. Thank you very much.

@ Navneeth

"Zark off" you h2g2 convert!!!

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Sona said...

WOAH!! terrific post!
that was extremely well written and seemed to convey exactly what i am going through at the moment! me in first year..so exams on now.. :(
anyways, great job!
cheers
sona

Sundar said...

@ anonymous

Thanks a lot... though you've said that in every post of mine and asked me to post better pictures where I have got none.

@ Sona...

Thanks. No that attitude just wont do.. You are just into your second semester... skip two semesters ahead at least and you'll feel the pressure... I really mean it. I didn't give a damn to it when my seniors said that the fourth sem will be twice as tough as the first and second... and I assume you wont give a damn to what I say right now which is the correct way to go about this process. Anyway, all the best for your exams.

vinod kumar said...

Nope. I didnt flatter u. Why are u saying like that? Ask anyone. All will say that u are the blogger king.

Sundar said...

Well then.. thanks.

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siddharth said...

nice da........i did'nt understand a bit............deepak raja......