Easter Break ‘Fun’

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Having been back at home for two weeks already, the release of the dreaded summer exam timetable has inspired/frightened me into finally doing something productive this break after a lot of sleeping and catching up with friends! A blog entry might just fall under that description, and it provides a welcome distraction from memorising seemingly endless lists of UNIX commands! So, despite the looming prospect of five exams in seven days (thank you, weekend, for existing!), I thought I’d let you know how everything’s been getting on in my world.

The term finished in a flurry of group coursework sessions as attempts to model a railway network using the Event-B language in Rodin produced some interesting discussion, particularly when we were asked to consider adjacency and, consequentially, bi-directionality of sections of track. Should we therefore make the relationship (adjacency) between these track sections symmetric (ie. if you can move from one section of track to another, by implication you can move in the opposite direction) or use the image of the relation’s inverse for letting the trains traverse tracks? Suddenly a very simple concept becomes a complicated discussion packed with mathematical terminology but, once formally specified in its entirely, hopefully an error-free system could emerge from it – Network Rail, Group 6 eagerly anticipate your call!

We’ve also received a hefty chunk of individual exercises and projects to complete over the break ranging from diagrammatically modelling John Lewis’ gift service to programming fractal explorers, but not so much that the holiday is lost to work. Indeed, lots of the coursework is excitingly challenging: its roots lie in topics covered in lectures, but ultimately it requires you to read around the topic for yourself (Google is your friend here!) in order to find an efficient solution to more specific and intricate problems, which is ultimately really satisfying when everything finally comes together – one friend said they probably spent more time playing with their fractal explorer than actually programming it!

In the last week, I and a fair few coursemates decided to take advantage of the glorious weather and meet up for a game of football on the Southampton Common fields. Although we were all completely out of breath by half-time, and unlikely to be signed up by Barcelona any time soon, it was a great laugh and plans are afoot for it to become a regular thing when we all return. The only issue: after being so used to it at school, all of us were sure the teams’ captains would pick us last!

Have a great Easter everybody!

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