This is yet another one of those long-time-no-post-buster posts. I’ve been quite bogged down by work as always, with exams not exactly helping either. The past one week flew by with the Software Freedom Week celebrations we had here in MNIT. While I still wish we’d done something like last year, where we had 5 seminars, 2 labs and a trip to BITS-Pilani to top it off, this year, SFW was held on a slightly duller note but the intention remained the same: get the juniors involved in the world of FOSS!
Unlike last year, where everyone had to put up with me through 4 out of the 5 talks, I took a backseat this year as I let my juniors showcase their work and areas of interests. On day 1, the 15th of the month, Harsh and Nitin from 3rd year kicked off with a very good presentation on developing Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) using JavaFX. I took over day 2, with a talk I’ve always wanted to give, titled “Virtualisation: The why, the what and the how”. The toughest part as far as the topic was concerned was to strip it down well enough and keep it light enough for a crowd of 2nd and 1st years who didn’t have a solid computer science background. So my talk was pretty much confined to the different kinds of Server Virtualisation and a little bit of Storage Virtualisation all of which was depicted in a newbie friendly way using pictures alone. 🙂 Day 3 was launched with an introduction to SunSPOTs by Ankit and Sarguru, who gave the juniors a very good overview about the capabilities of one of the coolest gadgets ever! The demos that followed also took the students by surprise (mainly the sample demos that are freely available). Day 4 was again a talk by Harsh on PHP and other aspects of web development, especially the usage of Content Management Systems. Finally, Day 5, that is today, was the finale with me giving a talk on Parallel Programming concepts. While I had a feeling that this would go over their heads, I was quite surprised to see almost everyone scoring well on the quiz that followed the talk! I talked about the switch to the multi-core era, about the free lunch being over, what threads are, multi-threading, the devil in the form of race conditions and how to go about parallel programming with OpenMP. 🙂
Perk bars were handed out freely to students who were active during the presentations and headphones were given away as prizes to the quiz winners. 🙂
Being my last SFW session here in MNIT, I just can’t help but wonder how it’ll be like in my absense, next year on. Maybe the flame’s been instilled into my juniors, maybe it’s not. Bah… who cares! 😛