June 1 - 4


I arrived in Providence on Monday morning to move into my new apartment! I got very lucky this summer. One of my friends, who is a Hamilton alum, is currently getting her Ph.D. in neuroscience at Brown. One of her roommates was looking for someone to sublet to for the summer, so I was able to move in! I'm living with two really nice people about a 15 minute walk away from Brown. One of my roommates walked to Brown with me on Monday so I would know where to go on Tuesday.

The beginning!

I got to Prof. Bahar's office at 9am on Tuesday morning. I was very nervous and excited - I've had research experience before, but this is the first summer that I haven't done research at Hamilton! We talked about my past experiences in computer science and potential projects for the summer. Then, she introduced me to a few graduate students and brought me to the lab that I'll be working in for the summer. Everyone was extremely friendly.

Once I got settled into the lab, my task for the next few days was to do some reading. The project that I'll be working on has to do with multiprocessors and transactional memory, both of which I know very little to nothing about. I was given a few papers on transactional memory and a write up by a previous student who had worked on the project before. I've read each of these at least 3 times each by now, and everything is starting to come together!

On Wednesday morning, I got to attend a meeting on the project. It was very exciting, even though I wasn't quite sure what was going on yet. After a little bit more reading, I was given a Brown lab assignment to do so I could understand parallelizing code and a little bit of how the simulator works and how to interpret its data. It took me the remainder of Wednesday to understand the assignment and exactly what I was supposed to do. On Thursday, with some help from Cesare, the grad student in the lab that I'm working with for the summer, I finally got the code to work the way it was supposed to! (Or so I thought at the time - it turns out that I missed parallelizing a few lines of code, so some of the cores were doing work on the same aspects of a structure called a Patricia Trie.) On Friday, I worked on graphing the data from the simulator so I could work on understanding it and the differences between transactional memory and locking. Now, my task is to recreate some graphs from a journal paper that was published about the project using the actual simulator. I think I'm starting to get a grasp on things, and it is very exciting!

Another thing that I enjoy at the lab is that Prof. Bahar and her students go to lunch about once a week. I was invited to go to lunch with her and 3 of her other grad students. It was very nice to be able to talk to everyone outside of the lab. Overall, this week has been exciting, and slightly nerve wracking with trying to understand new material. I'm enjoying being in Providence and the area, and am very excited for the weeks to come!

On Friday night, I went to see water fire with my roommate and one of her friends. Water fire is an event in Providence where fire is lit on pillars in the river. There are street vendors, music playing, and a lot of people! It was really fun to go to and see the event.

On Saturday, I took the opportunity to explore the area. I walked around a town area near my apartment and down a little park-like path for a little bit. It's a very nice area! Saturday night, my roommate and I went to the mall in downtown Providence. It's huge, for me at least! Being from upstate New York, our nearest mall is 45 minutes away, and is one story. This one is about 10 minutes away, and has 3 stories! My roommate and I had a really great time walking around a looking at different stores.

I've had a really good first week in Providence. I'm looking forward to exploring more!