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MIT Trivia

September 19, 2010

A quick one this time.

Yesterday I attended, as a listener, to my first MIT class, Dr. Raskar’s Computational Photography. It’s an amazing course about exploring the limits of what is photography and what are we able to achieve (or not able yet, but dreaming always is). The students are encouraged to understand photography as a representation (and not capture) of rays, and to think in higher dimensions instead of just converting a scene (from a given point of view) to a 2d pixel matrix. I highly recommend everyone to watch past SIGGRAPH courses on the subject by Dr. Raskar and others:

Another important thing to notice is that things happen here really fast. I mean at BLAZING speed. At the Computational Photography course, students are supposed to work on four (4) projects during the term, being the last and final one complemented by a conference grade paper (I mean SIGGRAPH grade…). All projects involve programming at some level, and sometimes creating your own crazy devices for light handling. I’ll talk more about this class as the course progresses.

Now some trivia:

1 – I already mentioned that I’m impressed about how many activities happen here at the same time. I’m not able to attend to many of them because the work @ Media Lab takes as much time as I actually have, but my wife is going to enjoy this part of MIT Life a lot. Some people even said to her: “Welcome to the J-2 club…” (J-2 is the US entry VISA for student dependents, my VISA is of type J-1). There are all kinds of crazy stuff, such as Korean film festivals, Anime exhibitions, Art classes, English Classes, Lectures (always from famous international professional in assorted areas – each department has at least 2 or 3 lectures every week). Most of the activities are free, except for the organized classes, which are cheap anyway and always worth it.

A very funny thing is that many of the free events include FREE FOOD. There’s actually a email list and local website called “Free Food @ MIT“. Lol… I heard that some guy survived for 2 (two) months only by eating free food here. Today there was free eastern food at the Korean Film Festival, and it smelled very good.

2 – Sports and athletic department. Even as a visiting PhD student* I can use the facilities there for free. And it’s amazing the amount of options one can find there. You can get equipment for any sport and practice at the available courts (all indoor and air-conditioned).

I could see Volleyball, Soccer, Basketball, Badminton, Squash, 50m Swimming pool (hot water), ice arena for skating and hockey, running track (indoor and outdoor), plus the outdoor tennis courts, soccer, baseball and American football fields. There is also a very complete Gym with brand new equipment and INSTRUCTORS, locker rooms with showers and towels available. The athletic center stays open up to 11pm on weekdays and up to 9pm on weekends.

* I’m not paying the university to be a visiting student here – remember that MIT is a private school – the Brazilian government only pays me a scholarship to help with the rent and living costs, which I’m very grateful for of course.

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 19, 2010 2:09 am

    Free food? OMG… Cintia, be carefull! xD
    Anime exhibitions, Art classes… *___* oh God!

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