PhD Admission test questions

May 7, 2009

Before I forget, let me jot it down quickly so that it’s useful for future aspirants.

The paper has 4 sections: General Aptitude, Math, Programming and CS.
You can attempt any 3 sections. Each section has 5 questions.

ps: Will probably update the post with answers some other time.


IDC questions

May 4, 2009

Election told me a couple of questions from IDC exam–I think they are interesting:

1. Draw a half-page 10×10 grid as accurately as you can using free hand.
2. Find 10 uses for a used plastic water bottle and illustrate them with drawing.
3. They was a picture of a shadow of letter ‘i’ formed on a staircase and were asked to draw the shadow of letter ‘h’.

I’ve heard the course work is rather hectic in IDC, but I’m sure folks there are having fun with all this design stuff. Apparently, one of its alumini was on TED recently.

Cute Identity

April 22, 2009

I like this identity because it’s looks complicated but can be explained away so easily.

Free writing

April 14, 2009

Malcolm: Cole, have you ever heard of something called free-writing? Or free-association writing?

Cole shakes his head, “No.”

Malcolm: It’s when you put a pencil in your hand and put the pencil to a paper and you just start writing… You don’t think about what you’re writing… You don’t read over what you’re writing… You just keep your hand moving.

Cole has become very still. He looks right at Malcolm.

Malcolm: After awhile if you keep your hand moving long enough, words and thoughts start coming out you didn’t even know you had in you…
Sometimes they’re things you heard from somewhere… Sometimes they’re feelings deep inside…Have you ever done any free-association writing, Cole?

I tried. Although it didn’t have as dramatic an effect as described, it turned out to be an interesting exercise. I could, for example, after a while recollect fine details of something I thought I’d forgotten like smell of VCR tapes, a neighbor I’d 15 years ago, fishes in some aquarium I’d seen as a kid, etc.
For best results, I recommend you keep your eyes closed and forget about what you actually write.

Lipton’s Blog

April 6, 2009

If you have time for one theory-of-computation blog with nice historical perspective, read this. Most articles are hard to understand completely, but still make for good reading.
You can probably get started with some light posts.

Who’s the Prof?

March 31, 2009

Src of photo temporarily withheld.

Social Ethics anyone?

March 30, 2009

1 day+1nightout gives Vaaz & me a lot of gyan about ethics concerning genetic engineering. It’s pretty interesting actually, but I never expected an Inst. elective seminar to take so much time. Ooooff.


March 27, 2009

Some of my friends have been giving repeated telephonic interviews without any job offer in sight. Today, one of them told me that he had 4 telephonic interviews before being told that his resume doesn’t match the job description. Many interviews seem to have no purpose. This can be frustrating if you think that performance in an interview reflects your real competence, so instead of demeaning yourself consider my alternate hypothesis:

Telephonic interviews are not meant to test how good you’re for the job–you’re brilliant, they instead, form a platform the company gives its employees to improve their interviewing skills.


Ghosts of the past IITB

March 24, 2009

Generally, when you listen to any prof speak about IIT in the 80s, you get a
feeling that the place was more sacrosanct with all students leading peaceful, academically obedient lives. The other day, Yogesh and I were speaking to Rathikumar, one of the mess workers from H5. Rathikumar has been working in H5 for more than 30 years now and has probably seen more students in his lifetime than any prof! He shared a few incidents from the past which gave us a glimpse of darker side of hostel life back then. Some excerpts:

”Unlike now, ragging was a major problem at that time–freshers used to get beaten up mercilessly and were left stranded without money in places like Bhandup, Mulund,… There were a lot of foreign students from places like Palestine, Sri Lanka, etc who, in their 2nd-3rd year, used to rag the locals more severely than the localite-seniors themselves. This issue had created a lot of tension among students. In 1982 or ’84–I don’t recollect correctly, the situation became so bad that the institute issued a notice to all students to vacate their rooms in 24 hours. Students who dint take the warning seriously were literally thrown out, some of them who had gone out for a day or two weren’t allowed to enter the campus–the main gate was closed for everyone. We(the mess workers) helped many students during that time to transfer their belongings from rooms here.”

“In an other case, there was this fresher from from Bihar who wasn’t allowed to eat from mess the whole day. When he couldn’t tolerate the torture any more at night he beat up 3 seniors so badly that they had to be admitted to hospital. It was a horrible sight to see everyone bleeding profusely.”

“Then there were a lot of rich brats who used to regularly supply alcohol to hostel inmates. I remember Rajiv Tandon(Raveena Tandon’s brother) regularly hand out 2 bottles everyday to mess workers”

“Being asked to strip was probably the least of the tortures the juniors had to face, once the situation was so out of control that the police had to intervene to bring things in control in H11“.

We should consider ourselves lucky to be in the institute at this time when things are so much better. What say?

3 steps to wonderful research

March 20, 2009

Step 1: Do non-zero quantum of work in a week.
Step 2: Meet your guide to celebrate the above rare event.
Step 3: Draw enough inspiration from Step 2 to go back to Step 1.

Rinse & Repeat.