Thursday, January 12, 2017

NCSS Day 9 - The All Nighter

7:00 - What the heck am I doing awake? I mean, Good Morning and welcome to the day of the very little sleep. Shower and breakfast and then a quest for the necessities of life... Campos coffee.

8:45 - Some very bleary-eyed students, teachers and tutors at morning roll-call. There was a minor war for the couches.

9:00 - At SIT - No lecture this morning. Instead the embedded teams work to prepare their minimum viable product for about lunch time. 

9:30 - Ran a mini-lecture on multiplexing and how to share pins between multiple LEDs to allow for efficient use of the pins. Some of the students went a little glassy eyed so we agreed to make the MVP with a minimal number of LEDs and work on animating the fade (requiring multiplexing) only after MVP is nailed.

10:00 - Decided to utilize any down time to learn Recursive parsing and evaluation. This is something that has stressed me for a while so it's a logical goal. Working on recursively parsing mathematical statements first - then move on to Prolog. Students are jumping in and out of the labs to have "mock" interviews with sponsor companies - a very cool part of the program.

11:00 - Gah, parsing fights with my brain but progress appears to be being made.

12:00 - Got the parsing finished - break for morning tea.

12:30 - Once the parsing was finished, the evaluation was surprisingly easy. Had to tweak the input a little and the program actually reverses the list of tokens so that the order of operations works for the math statements -- nailed it.
<< My code (well, image thereof)

12:45 - Students went off to thank sponsors and get some generalized feedback on the interviews and I went off to lunch in Newtown.

2:00 - We had a birthday celebration for one of our students at morning tea so MVP has been shifted to 3:00PM Frenetic activity in the lab.

3:00 - MVPs shown to the rest of the group. Lots of masking tape and velcro! 

4:00 - Everyone completed their feedback survey for the whole summer school and then heads to the engineering lecture theatre for the annual "What's uni like, what's research like, what does and ATAR mean in reality and should I do more Maths?" talk from James Curran and then an overview of natural language processing (which reminds me that I still haven't sorted out the stupid Prolog parsing problem -- tonight during the quiet time)

6:00 - Dinner time and a couple of teachers went to the pub to toast the fact that we'd made it to the end intact and chat about school and politics and forming support networks and exchange funny anecdotes.

7:30 - Everyone back to SIT for the headlong dash to the finish line. Embedded teams were madly finishing off for the "NCSS Olympics" at 10PM, web stream teams are trying to add as many features as possible before their required to take a break to compete in the said "NCSS Olympics" for which they will have to be dragged from their keyboards. Once they get started though, it's super fun.

9:00 - Set up for the Olympics and final team tweaking for the competition (one of our teams had issues debugging right up to the deadline). 

10:00 - NCSS Olympics! My favourite projects were:

  • Laser tag - use a laser gun and there are 3 randomly placed
  • Physical Torture - where the micro:bit tracks your number of pushups, situps and squats until you really feel the burn
  • Running between radio connected micro:bits to read a sequence of letters and then enter it into the other one.
  • Dab Dab revolution - where you need to Dab in the correct orientation as tracked and dictated by the microbits 
12:00 - Pizza!

1:00 - Back in the labs working on my parsing project for another hour

2:00 - Embedded Lecture. All the groups who had finished their projects with the Olympics were invited to an embedded "Show and Tell" in the lecture theatre. Seriously cool

3:00 - Watch the NCSS2017 movies made by the tutors and the returners. Seriously good!

3:40 - Hogan out! zzzzzzzzzz

4:10 - Back at my room for a couple of hours

7:10 - Coffee Run

This program really smashes your sleep patterns but I love it and we all made it out the other side!

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