Wednesday, April 18, 2007

\sout {Maths: Reason 3} Erm... victory?

Obviously to use that command (sout=strike through) you put \usepackage{ulem} somewhere before you begin your document. (Well that's what Google said anyway, although I've not yet had the pleasure of using that command myself).

So why do I persist with making a post about Matlab? Well last time Matlab was a reason for why I loved doing maths. Since Matlab is still being a so-and-so I will not grant it the ultimate pleasure of giving me another reason!

I also persist, because one always finds it more satisfying to talk about overcoming problems. Complaining in itself is also pretty darn good- but that has 'bad vibes' associated with it. Rather this post should have a sweet melody playing in the background. Relax, I've \sout{not} bounced today! Anyway, why do I worry you with all this preamble when all you want to know is the reason why I'm suggesting playing a melody! My mood has reached a 'dynamic equilibrium'. Once again, hold your horses! I don't mean in the mechanics sense- I meant in the chemical sense. You know the rate of the forward reaction is equal to the rate of the backward reaction? (well I hope it's something like that anyway!). It can be nice, this state of equilibrium, but then again it causes me to write posts of this nature, so you decide?

I got into my office at 9am today, the reason being Matlab. Today I also reacquainted myself with the stairs of the mss building (I didn't dare climb them yesterday and Monday!). Anyway as painful as it was, it somehow felt good. I must confess, in the three weeks of, apart from cricket my physical activities were somewhat limited. I was in such a fine mood that I walked right to the top- and then back down to my office! Before you think I'm mad, I'd suggest trying it. I know that it seems a long way up and the lift is right there- but it only took me 4 minutes. Sweet. Anyway, after yesterdays fall out with Matlab I decided that my plan of waving a white flag was silly. I mean I know Matlabs always 'busy thinking' but it hasn't got eyes has it? So I slowly typed the following command:

(lets be friends)*

This seemed to do the trick. Before I started doing the coursework I first ventured into my documents to see what problem Matlab had with opening my graph. The graph was 5 MB! No wonder it had kept on crashing yesterday! So I deleted it. Now I then proceeded by starting from the beginning. You see I don't call myself a fool for no reason. Or should I say blind fool? Thanks to someone I realised that I'd read the question wrong, so rather than plotting the histogram for the data provided, I was asking Matlab to plot 1000 histograms on one graph! That explains the 5MB file. However the graph was so 'pretty' that I can't help but post it:

So folks, the lesson of the day- if Matlab is busy for more than five minutes, you've made a mistake. If it's busy for more than 10 minutes, then what the heck are you doing still waiting? Quit the damn program! (is there any way you can tell it to 'stop' being busy? Stop doesn't work!). Oh and get someone else to read the question and explain it to you! I don't know what I would have done otherwise. You would have probably found me lying in a pool of my blood and Matlab standing over me laughing. Scary! After drawing the actual graph and doing question 1 again I headed to the lab session for the weeks matlab work. My supervisor wasn't here! Not a big deal obviously, but I had to get someone else check my work... and they asked me questions. I was asked what do the limits that I've worked out show- trying to disguise that I'd forgotten, I answered 'confidence intervals'! Haha, it was a struggle but I managed to survive.

Alas after this it was the Linear Algebra lecture over at the Schuster building. I got there with one minute remaining, but then thought do I go to the toilet after the lecture or before? Obviously I decided before otherwise I wouldn't have been able to think straight! This proved silly since I ended up going a minute late and was slightly lost through the first part of the lecture since I was playing catch up. The words linearly independent and spanning sets bounced of the walls on more than one occasion, unfortunately leaving me in a whirl! Thankfully I caught up towards the end! We did some neat proofs today, and I agree with the lecturer- they were sweet. (I'm liking the sound of a 'technical lemma' as well. Don't mind me whilst I go through some notes and write stuff like 'silly' before the word lemma- I mean it's an effective way to remember that certain lemma. Same thing applies to theorems as well - eg orthogonal decomposition of vectors theorem.)

Now there is a reason why I'm giving you a 'walk though' of my day. After the linear algebra lecture it was the undergraduate 'seminar' which I have previously mentioned. It wasn't a big turnout, about 10/11 people came. I was more 'comfortable' this time around and was slightly hoping that at least one lecturer came. Then I could have had payback for last time ahem I mean ... well it's wishful thinking anyway! 10 undergrads won't frighten a lecturer. ;)

So the talk was about 'Kentic people and stuff' as I'd originally assumed! Yes you got it- I'd assumed wrong. It's not my fault that I didn't know how the word 'Celtic' was pronounced- well the word 'Celtic arts' anyway. (I think it's pronounced 'keltic' which contradicts how I pronounce the football team Celtic). Anyway it was pretty interesting stuff, and words like Knot theory and Graph theory flew about. Something tells me that them areas of maths are not going to be to my liking! I mean, I enjoyed the talk and once again it was another experience, but I'm not a graphy person. Anyway it was about 'plaits' and under crossings, over crossings etc. What I was 'awed' about was how much 'passion' this guy had for this topic. I mean he really knew his stuff and he seemed to care a lot about it. It makes me wonder which topic in maths will I lean towards? Will I be as dedicated about something as that guy was? Definitely going to cross stats of that list, but I see myself more of a pure maths person. Obviously pure is not what I'd thought it to be in college, but something of that kind anyway.

Bits of the talk were too technical for me, and I confess I chanced a quick look at the time! Some problems were put up on the slides, and it'd have been nice if they were given to us for more than a second- a handout maybe? I mean one can always live in hope, right? Overall it was good. Pretty interesting and I've seen some new cool stuff. It's all about exposure. There were lots of cool pictures and diagrams which was a bonus as well! (although my attempts to draw anything similar will have you in tears).

So after this, at about 2pm, my war with matlab continued. I managed to do question 2a,b but 2c was were I was getting stuck. Once again my inability to read was costing me, but this time once again M came to the rescue. I had put a minus sign instead of a plus and my other sign had been wrong as well. This problem resolved meant that my coursework was effectively complete. However, I seemed to be having another problem with my 'normal' curves- they were appearing upside down! So since M was there, I consulted her about this and learnt how cool M-files are. So now my coursework is complete. Well there is a part c asking 'which is better' or something like that, to which I hope to write: I have provided values for the L_p estimator and a graph- so YOU tell me which is better! (not going to happen but I don't really care about what mumbo jumbo I write for that- the matlab stuff is done).

So a friendship restored I'd say? You see the joy I felt last time is only slightly there- all I feel is relief. Today is the last day of this week that I am going to use Matlab for my coursework. I am going to type the report up now. Although I must comment that using Latex to type up this report is making me feel all mushy again! It looks so darn beautiful, I mean why weren't we told about Latex before? Ha, that's being ridiculous, but seriously I printed 'a page' out and I was overwhelmed with emotion. ;) I mean it looks so .... you get the picture. ;) I'm not 'fluent' in latex yet, but slowly does it.

I've had a long day today. I finally had finished at 5pm, so effectively it's been a 9-5 day and it's taken it's toll on me. I was so determined to finish the report that I'd even taken my sleeping bag with me... not really of course. My head is not in the mood for 'proper' maths so I'm just going to finish typing the report up so I can concentrate on revising for the rest of the week. I realised that previously doing maths was my 'break', but now my priorities are set. This is the break. Breaks over now.

*I didn't really type that line- I wasn't that desperate! :D


beans said...

I'll content myself by commenting! I forgot to mention a book recommended by Prof S. I'll (hopefully) be needing it for next year, so will buy it soon. It's a bonus if it can help me in Linear Algebra. Although first I'll check the library out, don't want to freak my dear mum out!

The book in question is A first course in Abstract Algebra'' by John Fraleigh. Pretty expensive, but that's what my loans there for!

Steve said...

Perhaps you could post a sample of a LaTeX page to show how good it looks for the benefit of those who aren't familiar with it. The more people that use it the better!

beans said...

Don't worry, I'm going to be doing that soon! With a big bang, and a puff of smoke of course :D I want to complete it first, so then I'll be posting the final product. Will also post the preamble and other stuff that I used and I think may be handy.

Although I must admit -using Latex to type maths is so much easier than word! You don't have to worry about the alignment, font size, subscripts etc. Maybe I'm thinking this because it's my first ever document using Latex- but the courseworks I have done using word are no match for this one. (Tables were a bit tricky, but once I got one made the rest were ok.)

(makes me feel like a proper mathematician :o :o maybe that explains the buzz!)