Kara Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

6 Articles Tagged with “NSERC 2011”

  1. Tying the knot with Ubuntu

    My summer research project involved extensive use of Macaulay2, a computer algebra program. Essentially, what Macaulay2 does is make it easy to do computations on different types of abstract algebra objects, like rings and ideals. Since there is no native version of Macaulay2 for Windows, my options for running it these past two summers have been: run it in Windows under Cygwin or, once again, dual boot Windows and Ubuntu (or Kubuntu). Ubuntu and I have a love/hate relationship, as I have testified on this blog before. It’s been a while since I last blogged about my adventures with Linux, and now it’s time for an update.

    Last year I was using Kubuntu 10.04, and the experience was immediately better than any other time I've tried using Linux. Maybe it's a truism, but with each new release, more features in Ubuntu work out of the box for me, which of course makes it much nicer to install and use. Whereas earlier versions like Hardy and Gutsy played havoc with my display or printer, Karmic Koala was actually an enjoyable operating system to use. It had one problem, however: when in Kubuntu, my network card would keep dropping wireless…

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  2. Updated my “About Me” page

    I have rewritten my “About Me” page. It has needed some updates for a while now. I focused on making the page briefer while keeping it informative. Now people who come to my site can know who I am in a few paragraphs. If they need to know me more deeply, they will know where to stalk me.

    Also, the page now includes an excellent photo that portrays my love of math and silliness. The photo comes from back in May. Our mathematics resource room received new carpet, so Aaron, Rachael, Tim, and I were drafted to remove all the books from the room and store them in our office until the carpet was replaced. Then we reshelved all of the books, and posed for some silly photos. I've long wanted to put a photo of myself on that page, but until now I didn’t have any that seemed adequate. I was browsing my Flickr feed in the hope of finding something suitable when this gem appeared; the moment I saw it, I yelled, “Yes!” and laughed maniacally.

  3. Now the summer begins

    Jessica displays her raspberry pie

    Last Friday marked the end of my summer research term. For reasons I don't entirely understand and don't need to understand, Jessica made a pie to celebrate the milestone. It was raspberry (my favourite fruit) and, more importantly, it was delicious. This summer feels like it has gone by extremely quickly, and I'm not yet eagerly anticipating school. I have two weeks off now, returning early on August 29 to begin the intense final year of my concurrent education degree. My schedule does not seem all that bad, as far as classes go, but I'm not sure what the workload will be like—I hear it's heavy but not difficult.

    As far as my research goes, I can't help but compare this summer to last summer. Overall, I was not as interested in my project this time around—it's the same project, so it is no longer fresh. Working on it on a full-time basis for 16 weeks was intense. This year was also quieter around the office; Jessica was not around as much, and Rachael had a research project, but it only lasted eight weeks. Aaron came in pretty consistently several days a week, despite not being on any kind of…

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  4. Good books and a sleepy conscience

    Sunday was mostly an odds-and-ends day. I cleaned my room, organized things, and finished some books. Although the threat of rain hovered constantly in the air, I even managed to do some reading outside. So I had a pretty good weekend.

    I managed to finish both Persuasion and the Iliad. My to-read shelf was finally empty, which meant I could restock it with books from the rather oppressive overflow stack. I have forty more books on the shelf now, and the overflow now fits comfortably inside that blue milk crate! My goal is to empty the shelf again by the end of July--this is ambitious, I'm aware, and made even more so by the fact that I also have to get through the Hugo Voters Packet by the end of July.

    I'm voting in the Hugo Awards again this year. I first voted last year, when John Scalzi alerted his readers to the fact that the Worldcon organizers distribute a packet containing electronic copies of most of the nominated works. This year, the attending membership at Renovation is only $50. That is a small price to pay for access to all these wonderful works, not to mention…

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  5. I'm at it again!

    So I've finished my first week of summer research, which I began on Tuesday (as Easter Monday was a holiday). I am re-revisiting the spreading and covering numbers, those devilish little fiends from combinatorial commutative algebra that plagued me last summer. You can read about last summer's research here. I shall try to blog often about this summer's efforts as well.

    This week was very much about settling in and trying to get my mind into a math research mode. I am starting earlier than I did last year, because I will be returning to school in late August. We professional year students have to start early to finish classes in time for student-teaching in November! Unfortunately, this means that I didn't get much of a break between the end of classes and starting research. I have tried to seize as much downtime as I could. Still, as far as summer jobs go, I won't complain about doing research. It's pretty choice.

    I'm in the same office as I used last year, and you can see photographs in this blog post. I'm in the desk in which Aaron is sitting in those photos, as my former desk…

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  6. Next year I kind of enter the adult world

    I'm almost finished my fourth year of university, and with it, my HBA in Mathematics. It doesn't feel like four years! It feels like barely yesterday I was a nervous first-year student trying to figure out how to get around our campus (which I now realize is tiny compared to other campuses).

    I won't be graduating at the end of the year, because I'm actually in a five-year concurrent education program. For those of you unfamiliar with it and with teaching certification in Ontario, let me give you a brief run down. Instead of completing my mathematics degree and then doing a one-year education program ("consecutive education" or colloquially known as "teacher's college" around these parts), I have for the past four years been enrolled in concurrent education. As the name implies, I'm taking education courses concurrently with the courses I need for my math degree. So at the end of the five years, assuming I complete the program, I'll have an HBA in Mathematics and a BEd. In Ontario, teachers are certified to teach in a specialization defined by grade level. Mine is "Intermediate/Senior," or I/S, which means grades 7-12. I really want to teach high school, but…

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