Sei sulla pagina 1di 3

Entering CS1, I had one expectation; the seminar would only be a just an easy required seminar

that I would have to bear for a quarter. To my pleasant surprise, this course, while is easy, proved to be
quite interesting. It opened my perspective in the field I wish to go into and enlightened me on how
broad Computer Science really is. From bioinformatics to computer languages, each lecture provided an
interesting surface insight on how which parts of CS I could pursue in my career. Of all the lectures
however, the two most interesting lectures would have to be about the Stuxnet viruses and
Programming language.
Stuxnet, by far, was the best presentation. Contrasting from the other lecturers, Nachenberg
was interesting and kept his lecture easy to understand. Secondly, he showed excitement and
enthusiasm as he went through the steps in which the virus infected the nuclear enrichment centrifuge
which made it much easier to pay attention and follow to. While using less cryptic lingo, Nachenberg still
informed us greatly and entirely on the topic. He explained the entirety of the process from how the
virus infects the Iranian network and PLCs and how it makes sure the devices it infects are valid. He also
went into great detail on how it conceals itself like deleting its copy after infecting three devices. While
only presenting a specific virus and its impact, Nachenberg inspired me to read more on the topic and
for the first time was looking forward to the assigned reading. What intrigues me the most about viruses
is how they know what to do after infecting a computer. A virus needs to be lightweight(and thus
undetectable) but at the same time be able to execute contain the information lot of commands to mess
up the victims machine.
The other lecture by Alan Key proved to be much more difficult to understand. Computer
languages are very difficult to explain and even more so to understand in fifty minutes. Nonetheless, the
lecture still was very interesting. What I appreciated is that he did not choose to focus different type of
languages (because there are so many!) but rather the goals of each type and the purposes of each
language. He further elaborates on the purpose of computer science how it is not about the language
and knowing many but the idea of computation. While the motif about context and intelligence was
quite confusing, this got me to redefine my goals in the field; to be good in my field is not about learning
the languages but being able to apply it. Additionally, after his discussion on metaprogramming and
working smarter with less traditional functional programming, I was inspired to explore that concept.
While a long way from understanding it, it was because of this lecture that I was able to open my eyes
past just object oriented programming.
In CS31 and past computer science experiences, I have only learned basic programming. Syntax,
programming etiquettes, and different simple algorithms however are just the tools of Computer
Science. From CS1 lectures I was exposed to the actual career prospect of the field. This influenced me
in two ways. One, I realized that my future career in CS is not restricted to just sitting in a desk and
coding my life away. I realized that computer science is the future in many seemingly unrelated fields
like bioinformatics or space exploration. In short, CS1 allowed me to broaden my view on what I can do
with my degree in the future. The other two aspects of the class, discussions and readings, gave me
knowledge on the current trend of CS and whats going on in the field right now. This was especially

interesting to me since I only really have knowledge of theory. Going to hackathons, I realized that I
needed to stay on top of the tech trend to be able to have a competitive edge in the job market for CS.
With my TAs wonderful lectures and interesting extra read, I have a broader grasp of the current state
of the field and be able to learn more about such if I choose.
My prediction for the future is the revolution of virtual technology, specifically for the
entertainment industries. In a first world country, when all basic human needs are handled, people look
for ways to satisfy their boredom. They spend resources for entertainment such as going to a concert or
skydiving anything to stimulate their senses. The issue is that the values of those stimulations do not
often match their cost; a ticket to a Taylor Swift concert could cost over 200 dollars! As technology
advances, we see people develop cheaper alternatives for entertainment for the mass such as video
games and movies. In fact, technology allows us to stimulate ourselves in ways reality does not allow
such as escaping to a farway galaxy or a fantasy world.
The issue, however, is that the difference between virtual reality and actual reality is too
different and thus people still pick to stimulate themselves in the real world. We can only do so much
with a 2D screen. Yet we see that the state of virtual technology is rapidly growing to more closely
match reality. For example, currently there is the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality head mounted display. By
taking advantage of lenses to project the same picture with different focus and shape for each eye,
the device simulates the depth of field and 3D-ness of reality. Additionally, the Rift is connected to an
external position-tracking device(similar to a gyroscope of a phone) to track head movement and adjust
the scene projected accordingly. This technology, in a sense, puts the user in a new visual world.
Personally, this proved quite impressive when using one at a hackathon. One team did an Iron Man
dev with an Occulus Rift and a Myo(hand gesture detection device). Depending on the hand gesture,
one would either fly around or shoot out projectiles at enemies. Also while in the air, when I moved my
head, I could see objects around me like clouds and the sun which further added to the stimulation that
I was actually flying. While the graphics of the stimulation is something to be improved on, the
technology is still in its prototype stage. As graphics get better and development for applications get
more complex, virtual reality becomes closer and closer to being as detailed as reality. More so, we
would not have to limit virtual reality to visual. For example, headphones have become quite adept at
simulating sound form multiple angles. For example, when playing an orchestral piece, one can hear
violins in one ear and cellos in another can represent actually listening to an orchestra live depending on
the instruments' positions. When combining both visual and auditory virtual reality, one can simulate
reality much more accurately. Why pay for a concert when one can virtually see crowds of people
cheering for an artist and listen to that happen simultaneously. The only thing that is missing is the body
odor and crowdedness(smelling and sensory senses). Who knows? In the future, maybe those can be
represented using technology as well. As of right now, this virtual technology are used primarily in
military; one can use it to train soldiers by simulating a battlefield. This is preferable to actually having
mock battles as those are more costly in terms of resources. However as the technology become more
commercial and better(we see this with the commercial dev kit of Occulus Rift), the technology can be
used in entertainment industry. I imagine a virtual reality bar in which people go in and enter an entire

new world. Whether it be taking a vacation, going to a concert, or even entering a fictional world, the
possibilities are endless.
This situation, as shown in popular sci fi movies and novels like The Matrix, begs a philosophical
question. Supposed the technology reaches a state in which people cannot discern actual reality from
the virtual reality. In this case, why would anyone pick to live in imperfect reality when one could create
a utopia in the virtual reality? Only time will tell what humanity will choose to do when such a time