Escapades in Research

Hello World!

Hope everything has been going well for you all! Sorry there was no post last week. It was partially because midterm season just ended, and partially because since all I was doing was studying for midterms, not many interesting things happened. Now that midterm season is over however, peculiar things are taking place in my life once again!

I’m going to start this post with a thank you note to my Algebra II Advanced teacher, Mr. B. While I was a big fan of Mr. B as a person, I was not the hugest fan of his class. I’m good at highly theoretical math such as discrete mathematics, but terrible at simple math that most people find very easy. I have been told by a multitude of teachers that this is because my work-checking skills are quite insufficient. But back to Mr. B. There wasn’t really much either of us could do about the fact Algebra II was not a theoretical class, and I did not have the greatest of math experiences my sophomore year. However, I recently scored 100% on a math quiz because of a particular trick with quadratic equations that he taught me! So in the unlikely event that the esteemed Mr. B is reading this, thank you very much!

I’ve been hanging out in Kemper basement recently, and found some cool science stuff. For example:

Fridge Issue
Fridge Issue

UC Davis is so cool! Also, Kempy the blurry Kemper turkey says hello (hey it’s hard to take a picture of a moving target).

I have finally made some progress for Professor Lowe-Power, who is the professor I’ve been conducting research for. He is a wonderful man with a wonderful and pun-worthy name! I’ve literally spend half this quarter just getting into his server, setting up the python virtual environment, and running what he wants me to run. Frickin’ undergraduate research! I’m starting to realize something though: This is one of those times where the bottleneck in moving forward is 100% me. There is absolutely nothing stopping me from improving the website other than the fact that I am 19 years old and know nothing about anything. Right now the site is written in what looks like HTML4 rather that the modern standard of HTML5, and looks like this:

Gem5 site

There is a LOT of improving to be done.

A quick crash course for non-programmers here: most programming languages can do most things. C++, Java, Python, and Ruby are general purpose and can run anything from a factory assembly line to a video game. Some languages are much more specific. The languages that I’m going to talk about are HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and JSON and yes I know they are not all programming languages. HTML is a markup language rather than a coding language because it’s not Turing Complete. It consists of various tags that tell the browser how to render the webpage. So if I had a word with <h1> header tags around it </h1> the browser makes those words look big. CSS isn’t really a programming language or a markup language, it’s a stylesheet which means that it does things like give sites fonts and colors. CSS is just there to make sites look pretty, and can’t exist if HTML isn’t there to support it — kind of the 1950s woman of programming. JavaScript is a real programming language, but it’s a front end language. That means that it runs in the person’s browser. So on the server you’ll have a back end language to generate a combination of HTML, CSS, and JS. The server will send all that to the viewer’s web browser and they will all work together to create the site. JSON is a form of object notation — basically it’s a format that information is stored in, and multiple different programming languages can all read it.

So back to what I’m doing. Basically, the way the site is currently set up, it uses Python to run the experiments in Gem5. Then it generates the data. Python then sends the HTML and CSS to a webpage. What I’m going to do is something a bit different. I’m going to write a Python script that will run the experiments and send them into a JSON file. Then there will be a separate HTML/CSS/JS script that will take the JSON file and render it into a very nice looking site.

Anywho, here are some more weird monuments to strange eldritch cultures at UC Davis!

More Heads
Who is this strange man? I don’t know! But I guess he’s important.

May you be ever victorious in your endeavors!