In the Thick of It

Hello! It’s been a while since my last post.

I’ve been up to sorta a lot since then, and haven’t had much time to write. I have some free time this Saturday morning though, so here’s an update on what I’ve been working on.

First, I’ve started actually designing a means to convert macro usage to existing C constructs. I spent a good deal of this past summer researching this topic, and this past week I finally began prototyping my own strategy for tackling this problem. In fact, I spent so much time prototyping that my advisor recommended I take a break and go back to the planning phase for now. Oops 😅. I understand his concern though; as much fun as it is to hack away at a project, I need to be careful not too get so sucked into the implementation that I forget the overall system design. That leads to ad-hockery and spaghetti code, which future me would not appreciate. So for now I’ve been compiling a list of macro classifications; qualifications that must be met in order for a macro to be convertible; and the actual conversion strategy for each one. One minor worry I have is about how to make my code modular/flexible without it being too ad-hoc. Right now I feel like the prototype I worked on this week is more flexible than ad-hoc, but towards the end of the week I felt myself getting more into the “quick-fix” territory with the way I handled some of the problems I encountered. This probably all sounds a little abstract for now, but hopefully as I continue to work on this project I will accumulate some examples of what I mean that I can share in a future post.

Next, my advisor and I collaborated with a professor and PhD students from UT Dallas to submit a conference paper! The work for the paper was a little grueling, especially the week before the deadline, but we did it. We won’t know if the paper is accepted until a few months from now, but until then we are hoping for the best 🤞. This is especially exciting for me since this would be my first official publication. If it get’s accepted, expect to see a new tab on this site labeled “Publications” 😃.

Also, class is in session now. I’m only taking two classes this semester, and am surprised by just how much work graduate courses are! Really, it’s just one of them: Design and Analysis of Algorithms. I like algorithms, don’t get me wrong. I often spend my free time solving coding problems on LeetCode or Hackerrank or reading about algorithms in textbooks or blog posts. This class is hard though, and I’m finding that it takes me hours just to solve one or two problems! I really feel like I’m learning and improving my problem-solving skills though, so I’m glad for the challenge.

Finally, I’ve still managed to do a bit of reading. This month I read Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather. Like everything else I’ve read by him so far, it was funny and relaxing. I plan to read one more book by him in the near future, but now that October is coming I think I will take a literary detour and read something spooky 🎃.

That’s all for now, have a great day!