Lost.

I am responsible. Although I may not be able to prevent the worst from happening, I am responsible for my attitude toward the inevitable misfortunes that darken life. Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.

Walter Anderson

Liability

While browsing through the May 2008 version of IEEE Spectrum, I came across this line” The UK Banks have made it mandatory for the customers who have been victims of Phishing to have had personal firewall and latest antivirus to be installed at the time of receipt of the phishing mail.”

The line indeed immediately creates a lot of questions in mind, as is it from the perspective of a service provider, a right move, to distrust all the customers seeking redressals for their phished banking accounts, and have them installed the latest security softwares as a preventive measure. While use of personal firewalls for safety is a different issue in its own, I would like to probe into the issue of refusing the liability to customers on part of the banks by showing a total lack of trust on n the cuistomers.I would rather prefer the banks to have a segregated treatment policy, which honors the esteemed customers who have had a respectable bank account history in terms of monetary magnitude as well as fidelity exhibited while repaying the loans. I certainly don’t not approve of this “at large” distrust policy showing distrust in ‘all’ the ciustomers and indicating that the bank is not at all ready to amortize for those who are in a way are affiliated to phishers “by not installing a personal firewall” (sic).  

Meeting the Masters

Ever since I have entered COEP, I have had many opportunities to meet people who have reached the highest echelons in their own fiels. For the last few days I have been working with the organisation of the 73rd Anuual International Conference of Indian Mathematical Society. The conference seems to be running smoothly, and has also given me the chance to interact with great people.

Yesterday I met Sir Richard Hamilton, (Clay award winner and inventor of Ricci flows.). He is a mathematician known very well around. I was with him for around 3 hours, and had very close talk with him. It felt great to talk to such a great researcher. He has PhD from Princeton and teaches at Columbia. He was telling me that he loves teaching cuz teaching leads to his research results. In his words, “I mostly take my classes with the problems that intrigue me….I write the problem on the board…and tell my students that…see THIS is what I want to solve….and MAY BE…. doing THIS will help….well may be NOT…what shall be done….lets ponder over. ”

Imagine the way things are taught in Princeton and Columbia and suclikes. When will the day come, when COEP profs will write their research problems on board and ask students to help them.That needs alot of distance to be travelled by profs, as well as students. One may as a fancy bring in the Princeton teachers to COEP, but for it to work, the student intake has to be good enough in first place to be able to digest such things being taught in class. The moment I was talking to Hamilton, I was thinking at the back of my mind that, well, may be I should start looking at my engg studies with a diferent perspective. Hamilton asked me if I had any publications (Yay 🙂 ). I told him about my publicatiopns in Number theoretical cryptography and the encryption schemes.He appreciated the work and advised “Carry the research for fun, the moment you start expecting an award/reward out of it….the research fertility in you will die. ”

Moreover, I am extremely happy with the current COEP director, Dr. Sahasrabudhe. I was delighted when I heard my name at the Inaugural ceremony of the conference. I was standing in the wing as I was one of the organising team member, so I could nt neatly see him speak on the dais. But while elaborating on the achievements by COEPians in past and in present, he spoke about my PATW Final at Amsterdam. That was so nice of him. Moreover, during the VIP lunch, he called me and introduced me personally to Prataprao Pawar. Honestly speaking, it does nt feel so great when you receive the prize actually at the finals but it feels super-cool when your college director praises you in the auditorium in front of a mass of hundreds of people. Apart from these things, in general I do admire him for the way he has been working to take COEP to newer heights. He openly praises everyone.He will always forward the mail of any achievement by student or prof to the whole mailing list of students and teachers in college so that everyone knows about the achievements (and that by default brings a feel good fator). I have already started feeling that COEPians are super-achievers. See, we won the Firodiya, we won the BAJA SAE for automobile engg (beating IITs btw :P), we had 4 International Punblications this yr by Undergrads, we hosted 2 International Conferences, we got the International Student research accolades (PATW), and there seems to be a general trend of having top scorers in competitive exams like GATE CAT n GRE.There is no need to be complacent though.(Alarm 🙂 ) .

I interviewed Dr. S T Yau (Fields medallist) also. The onus(?) of interviewing Yau and Hamilton both was left to me as I was the one with the maximum experience of interviewing big-wigs through SACC (Thanks to Mohit Gundecha). Come to think of it…there was a lot to learn from Mohit. And some of the things that I have learnt from him are the ones I find really helpful these days. I feel lucky to have been with Mohit for at least an year.

As I type this post, I realise that I have nt had the chance to stop and think peacefuly about anything for the last few days. I have been so busy and am still going to busy for next copule of weeks. .The IMS conf on 27,28,29,30 Dec, the TYBtech Workshop (for which m the organizer) is scheduled on 30 31 dec and 1 jan. then on 5 n 6 jan the SACC workshop by Chinani (for which again m the member of organising team SACC), a visit to LOREAL plant on 7th Jan- For the LOREAL Ingenius 2008 National elims, 10-11 Jan to Mumbai for the IET International Conf on Wireless and Multimedia networks (In  which m presenting a paper of mine guided by Dr. Shim from US), then the LOReal finals on 14-15 and 16 Jan (if we clear the elims), the HP competition on 18 Jan…and then I am also supposed to work on Wavelet Transforms and Filter banks this month. I feel tired….

I feel like doing too many things at a time, but it just so happens that the responsibilites automatically are delegated, and I feel happy with that…until I am able to handle everything with good standards.(At least that has been the case so far.)

All the time I interview these great people…I envy them…for the kind of treatment they get, and the way they are revered. Someday, I want to grow big.

Transformations

“Once upon a while, Eavesdropper decided he is going to change into a totally different person.”- Rachel Schafer.

One may wonder, what the above sentence signifies. To drop a hint, let me say “Eavesdropper is the E in cryptography.”.  🙂

The GRE

Following are some of the useful links and prep sites that I used during my GRE preps, alongwith some tips. 

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links:

Vocabulary building

http://supervoca.net/grelist.cgi

 

http://supervoca.net/gre/start-3r.html

 

http://supervoca.com/gre.htm

 

 

Some Testing softwares to download

http://supervoca.com/download.htm

 

 

GRE Training sites

http://www.number2.com/

http://wordsmith.org/awad/

 

 

Online dictionaries:

Encarta right click dictionary

http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/features/dictionary/quick_Dictionary_Download.aspx

 

http://www.merriam-webster.com/

 

 

Preparation Strategies

 

http://www.back2college.com/grepreparation.htm

 

http://www.back2college.com/grepreparation2.htm

 

http://in.rediff.com/getahead/2005/apr/05gre.htm

 

http://gre-preparation.info/2006/06/a-1600-gre-score-tips-and-tricks/

 

http://www.novapress.net/gre/strategies.html

 

 

Random stuff

http://www.greguide.com/

 

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Books to use:

1) Barrons GRE: A must

2) Princeton: Okayish: easy level

3) Kaplan: Toughest of all, and to be done at the end.

4) Arco, Cliff, etc are random (do only if you have enough time left)

Testing:

1) GRE BIG BOOK is a must. It has around 27 real old pattern GREs but if you solve them all, you almost crack the actual GRE

2) Powerprep ETS 2 tests: These tests are exact estimates of what you will get actually (error: +- 20 marks),

so better write them in last 14 days. 2nd test should be written 2 days prior to actual test

3) Barron tests at the end of book are fairly good.

4) Remember: Kaplan scores are least what you can get on GRE and Princeton scores are max you can get.

Tips:

1) Always keep a record of your all test scores: To make you know how you are improving

2) Though barron is not a complete set of vocab, it is the bare minimum.

One must finish off Barron WL at least 2 weeks brefore xm.

All in all, keep in mind, GRE IS CRAP, it tests 7th std maths for MS electrical admits….and makes you mug up the arcane words that americans themselves dont use…getting 1500+ is always possible, and keep an eye on the same.

Good luck.

Rohit.