Ok so as usual I haven’t written in here in awhile, but I thought it would be a good idea to (attempt to) start something that I’m going to call “Week in Review.” Essentially, the point is for me to write just a small post about whatever I did last week, and the point is that I do this every week, hopefully every Sunday evening. So without beating around the bush, here we go:
I kind of think about my life in three separate categories: school/work, ultimate, and the rest so I’ll break these into those three categories as well.
First, last week a spent a bunch of time thinking about a course project for my statistical machine learning class. I read a couple of papers about matrix completion, clustering and related topics, and eventually settled on a project about multidimensional scaling, which is a dimensionality reduction technique. At a high level, I plan to study MDS in noisy conditions, and hopefully I’ll find some interesting results about when MDS works and when it doesn’t. I also volunteered to present a paper at the statistical machine learning reading group, so I spent a bunch of time early in the week preparing for that presentation. I presented a paper by Tsybakov (You can find it here) which studies nuclear norm penalization for matrix completion, and gives both upper and lower bounds for the problem. The paper is pretty technical and I didn’t understand all of it, but I thought I did a good job of figuring out what was important and presenting it to the group. I was relatively happy with my presentation, shows what you can do with a little preparation.
In classes, we talked about minimax theory, which I think is really interesting, but also kind of a black art. I borrowed Tsybakov’s book from the library and I want to read it to learn more about these lower bounds. Hopefully I can find some time to read it. In algorithms we spent the week talking about the Planar Separator theorem, but for the most part I was thoroughly confused. I also made “reasonable” progress on my research, and I’m starting to get a much better idea of what is actually going on.
Last week was a pretty great week for ultimate. We had a couple of warm days and finally managed to do an outdoor track workout and have outdoor practices which was amazing. These were basically my first full practices in over a year, and it felt really great. On Wednesday we ran a pretty brutal track workout (8×150, 8×100, 8×50 with 60/45/30s rest between reps) and somehow I managed to keep up my speed through the 100s and the 50s, which made me happy. On Thursday we practiced outside and while things were a little rusty, I was pretty happy with my downfield defense, although my flick hucks were really terrible. Saturday was super windy, and we had another outdoor practice which was quite challenging. We spent most of the time working on zone-O/D. On the defensive side I mostly played in the middle of the cup and was relatively happy with my performance. On offense I was really disappointed. My flicks are terrible in the wind and this is completely inexcusable.
On saturday night we had two winter league games against the other two CMU teams. Winter league has been really fun and both games we played were pretty competitive. In the first, we scored a buzzer beater to take the game into overtime but then lost. The other game we lost by a couple. After getting home at 2AM on saturday night, we had another practice at noon on Sunday, and I was already pretty exhausted. To top it off, a couple of Corey’s buddies (who happen to be really good at ultimate) were coming to guest coach. We spent most of the time working on defensive positioning and physicality; most of the time focusing on shutting down the under cut while being able to catch up on the deep shot. I felt like I did a good job in the drills, but didn’t carry that over to when we scrimmaged. I guess part of it was that I was super tired, but I definitely did not play well when we scrimmaged. I thought the practice was really productive and felt good (albeit extremely tired) afterwards. I need to learn how to lay out and do it more.
Life was pretty eventful this week. Ravi is still really excited about Settler’s of Catan, so we played two pretty epic games on Thursday and Sunday respectively. Both games had several people at 9 points and I’m happy to say that I was really close to winning in both games. In one I actually had 10 points but it didn’t get around to my turn, which is really annoying. On Friday, Google hosted a TG (happy hour thing) at their campus, and I won a Nexus One in their raffle, which I was excited about. Unfortunately the phone doesn’t work on my provider, so I think I’m going to sell it.
My parents visited this weekend and my mom cooked a bunch of food for my roommates and my brother. This was really great, especially since Robbie and I were really exhausted from practices. On Sunday we came home and practically ate everything my mom had made. My family went to the Strip District on Saturday to check out the market, where there is actually a lot of really good stuff. I tried some really tasty jams and we also bought some pretty good donuts. I should go there more. It was pretty unfortunate that while my parents were here I had some much ultimate stuff going on because I didn’t really spend too much time with them. On the plus side, my freezer is filled with leftovers so I won’t have to cook for the week!