CS401: (additional post) my summer plan 2013

After counting the blog posts, I have only 12, and the course requires 14, so I will write 2 more random, CS-related, but not course-related, ranting posts.

So as titled, I will now describe what my summer plan for this summer is like!

For this summer, I got accepted for the REU program at Depauw University located in the beautiful town of Greencastle, Indiana. The title of the project I applied for is “Problem Solving using Parallel Programming.” here is the link & description http://my.depauw.edu/univ/reu/projects.html

This is a 10-week program. It starts next Wednesday the 29th, and I have to be there on the 28th. They provide up to $600 for traveling expenses. At first I was going to take a plane there, but then I google the town and found out it’s relatively(?) countryside, and no public transportation. Since I will be there for basically 2 1/2 months, I think I’ll need my car so I decided that I will drive there. Google Map says it would take around 15 hours, minus the traffic, to get there. So I will begin my 1-man solitary road trip this coming Sunday. Please wish me luck!

So far, we have not decided on what kind of problem we will try to solve for the summer. But I know that we will be programming in Erlang language. Erlang is a functional programming language that is mostly used for Parallism…or so Google says. Now I have started reading the book on Erlang, just to get a bit of a head start so I won’t be super lost next week, and it is quite different from (what the book calls) “imperative” language like C++, Java, etc. For example, it is highly similar to real mathematical equation in terms of the use of variables, like lets say, x = 5; you cannot say x = 5+1 now, because 5 != 6.

Anyways, then I was researching whether learning this language would make my resume look better and help me get a job after graduation, and the answer is…”depends.”

So Erlang is mostly used for solving problem through parallelism to speed up the computation time exponentially. But most of the time, this only happens in research institutions, not really business corporations. So if I want a research job, or grad school, knowing functional language will help upping my candidacy a bit. Although I guess more and more companies are starting to utilize parallel programming and more functional programming jobs are becoming more available, and the pay is quite good (w/ experience of course). So if it turns out I am able to pick up the language and I like it, I might as well stick with it, since some article said that non-mainstream language programmers hardly ever get laid off….so we’ll see!!

*EDIT: after some more googling around, I found that there are quite a few of jobs available for Erlang with OTP and databases…so yeaa I will see how far I can understand the language after the summer!

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