Yesterday was the
back-to-school time. Usually I would not be very happy about it, but this time I was really looking forward to attending classes again, mainly because I’m now finally taking subjects (actually, only 2) in my specific area (Computer Science). The subjects that I’m taking are (1): Introduction to Probability and Statistics, Digital Circuits, Object-Oriented Programming, Energy, Science, Technology and Society and Quantum Physics.
I was (well, I am) anxious also in part because of the preparation for the TOEFL (I'm going to take
the exam in 2 weeks). I have thought a lot about what country I will choose, which depends mainly on my score on (2) the language exam, since ("once" or "since"? Remeber the difference?
) my grades are above the
average (You can drop the article
). I have done a Scientific Iniciation Program and I have had / gotten
some good results in math olympiads and robotics championships (nothing extraordinary, just high school competitions). I was going to mention
the country I was thinking about, but as I change my mind every week, it’s better not to
say anything, hehe.
My only class of the day was Digital Circuits. The professor is very friendly and told the class
some funny stories about / from his life. For example, although he has an undergraduate degree in (3) Electronics Engineering (or perhaps "Electrical"?
), he said that he actually hasn’t got(ten) used to the practical part of the course / program
(at least in AmE, a college course is a set of lessons on a particular subject, much like a Brazilian "cadeira"
) because there was a friend of his
used to do this part alone and very quickly when there were practical classes! He abandoned (4) his
engineering studies in graduate school
(I'm assuming that, by "further studies", you meant a "pós"
) and got a PHD in Neuroscience. It may seem like a radical change and, in part, it was. However, he explained how there is actually a
certain link between these areas: in Electronics, there are three main types of logic gates: AND, OR and NOT. However, a complex circuit with all these
three types of gates can be simplified by using some NAND (if I’m not mistaken) gates. So, if you look closely at
a digital circuit, you will see a lot of NAND gates. The fact that
all these gates can generate a complex operation isn’t exactly intuitive. In fact, as he said, if the human civilization were destroyed and some aliens were visiting our planet, they would look at
the circuits but wouldn't
understand (5) how an
apparently repetitive thing (or "how something apparently repetitive"
) can carry out such
complex algorithms. In other words, deciphering a circuit would be a very hard task of reverse
engineering. But what does it have
to do with our mind? Well, according to him, if you analyzed
the human brain, you would see a large
number ("big number" is not incorrect, but I would favor "large" in this case
) of very similar cells and structures
, in spite of our obviously complex behavior. That’s why understanding how the
brain works is so hard: it is, in the same way as
a circuit, a difficult exercise of reverse
engineering! Actually, this is not the only analogy between the
nature and technology that he told us about
. There are many
other interesting ones. I was really excited!
In the evening, I had dinner
with many friends, which is unusual, since after the first semester, each one
has followed a different path (that means, different subjects, courses and so on). I really liked the meeting!
Paulo, isn't "look forward to doing
something" standard usage? "To" is a preposition here, right?