Thursday, July 31, 2008

EngGen403 tutorial

For this tutorial we had to perform a debate about a random topic. We formed four groups of six and were given 10 min to prepare. We got a gay topic: "Engineering is better than Arts". We were given the proponent position. Sad to say, we failed our engineering peers because we lost the debate. It was a mess because we didn't know what "Arts" constituted; Ill informed. I think we concentrated too much on the negatives of the Arts degree rather than the benefits of Engineering.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Continuation of bonds.
Face value
payment at maturity.
Coupon rate
interest payment as a percentage of the face value.
dollar value.
Take the yield as the discount rate. Assume bond is being valued at the start of the period.

Going through lots of examples. With semi-annual bond periods, use 2 for m rather than 1/2, half the coupon and yield. Can use the internal rate of return calculation to figure out the bond yield and value.

Jumping through a couple of slides to "Earning the promised yield". Three assumptions: reinvestment at the same rate, holding till maturity, paid timely.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Today's lecture is on profession by IPENZ.
Self regulation
Acknowledging a mistake or problem.
Assessing the community, chain effect, economics and impact of solution. Support for profession through a body. Difference in competence levels. Code of ethics and enforcement of standards. Should not make decisions or give advice under duress.

Disciplining professional members in response to valid complaints. Legal process. Enforcement of standard.

Keep educating yourself to keep your value. Keeping up-to-date to be competitive with new graduates.

All in all, a pretty sick way to do a sales pitch for joining IPENZ.

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Lecture computer crashed so re computer had to be rebooted. This was good because I caught the late bus so I ended up coming late to the lecture.

Custom instructions implemented in functional units in the custom CPU. Can be used for reactive systems. Interrupts is a fairly unstructured way of handling events because the processing is diverted from the main program.

Using Esterel as the inspiration for reactive processors. Temporal loops and await statements consume ticks. Basically creating an Esterel processor where threads are controlled by software. Reactive core manages concurrency and monitoring signals. No context switching
because of abortions.

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Monday, July 28, 2008


Philosophy lecturers from Phil105 are here!

An argument consists of reasons called premises and a conclusion (the statement you want the reader to believe or be persuaded by). Standard form. Suppressed premises.

Complex arguments use subconclusions as premises for following conclusions. Series/parallel (co-dependent/independent) argumentation. Material and logical test. Plausible premises. Logical progression.

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Free Maths guidance at unispace. Effective annual rate: compounded interest for some period (taken as the annual period), annual percentage rate: simple interest. Use cash flow and interest rate of the same frequency. This is needed to keep the two in sync.

Discounted Cash Flow (DCF).

Retail Investor
"Mum and dads"
Bond notes
Short term bond
Rate of face value paid semi-annually
The return on the secondary market

Overall not too hard of a lecture. Used the concepts of previous lectures and applied it to different situations where interest and time were main factors.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

CompSys705 homework

A single output is associated with each input element drawn from a fixed set. (Also a well behaved relation).
A set of outputs are associated with each input element.

Not all inputs are mapped to an output.
Each input maps to one output. Not all outputs need to be mapped by an input. (Function that doesn't reach the range).
Every output is mapped by at least one input. (Function that goes up and down).
Injective and surjective. (Function with a monotonic gradient that doesn't flatten).

Partial order
Elements in the set can be related by the <e; symbol so that the reflexive, transitive and antisymmetric conditions are satisfied.
Total order
A partial order which also satisfies the comparative condition.
A partially ordered set in which every pair of elements has a unique supremum and infimum.

Friday, July 25, 2008


Lecture is going slowly as usual. Going through models of computation and hardware/software implementations. Should think about the underlining model of computation to help with formal methods. You can force yourself to use a type of model and make work arounds to work with the specification.

SystemJ - the idea is to use the language and the model of computation will follow.

Custom processors: can modify the execution path, add to the instruction set and hardware ports, functional units.

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Mathematical techiniques applied to embedded and software systems.  Lecturers seem to be lenient and flexible with the course work. Model checking occurs over the whole state space but this is a big problem when the state space explodes due to the product automata. Explicit state model checking is a searching procedure where you backtrack and see if you have reached an outcome; reachability analysis.

Binary decision diagram - data structures for Boolean function manipulation. States encoded as BBD and modelled checked - symbolic model checking.

Design/property verification checks that the model behaves to specifications and satisfies the temporal logic. Implementation checks that the resulting implementation on hardware or software is equivalent to the model that it is based on.

Simulation/testing may be used to show the presence of errors and verification proves the absence of certain errors. Verification shouldn't replace simulation as there us a large range of properties to prove.

CCS: calculus of communicating systems.
CSP: communicating sequential processes.

CCS operators. Interleaved parallel used for parallel composition. Interleaved parallelism is non-deterministic because you do not know ahead of time what sequence will be taken. If you have to wait for the outcome then it is not possible to predict what will happen.

Homework: function, relation, partial function, injective, bijective, surjective function, partially ordered set, totally order set, lattices.

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Started out by continuing with annuity. The difference between ordinary annuity and annuity due is when the cash flow occurs. Ordinary annuity takes cashflow happening at the end of the year while annuity due takes cash flow occuring now so you get one more year of interest.

Karing is very bored but typing on on the ipod touch is very hard and challenging but stimulating but very good practice in case I ever get enough money to buy an iPhone.......yay!..actually it's not that hard after all.....I shall go copy notes now....woah I accidentally pressed some wierd thing and the text started deleting itself!!!!!

PS: when I get my macbook will you help me set it up??!???!!!!!????

If you're doing problems and you round your answers for the interest rate then you will be penalized. What's funny about that is that the interest rate is not guaranteed to be the same for each year. But oh well, the problems are set in a fictional world.

Going onto loans. The principal value is the present value of repayments. So, the principal value can be used to calculate a fixed repayment amount. Paying a loan earlier is not beneficial because you have to sacrifice the interest that can be earnt on the money you will use to pay off the loan. However, if the interest rate between savings and borrowing is very different then it is better to pay off earlier.

*yawns*....Karen is obviously bored and sleepy again...the thing I hate about fin251 is that all these calculations are under the assumption that there is no tax which is just really really stupid since it makes you think it's really easy to invest a small sum of money and earn lots of money by making deposits....oh yes..they also use unbelievably high and unreal interest rates which do not change as apparently it is too advanced and goes beyond the scope of this course.

So back to me! The real interest rate is the nominal interest rate with the inflation rate subtracted from it.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Another test from my iPod touch

Well the main purpose of starting this blog and blogging in general was the idea of jotting down lecture notes and pitting them up for anybody to see and use. I don't usually take notes during lectures. This happened about 2 years ago when I started leaving my MM2 course book on my locker and I didn't make an effort to go through the chapter exercises. Since then I've basically forced myself to understand the lecture ok the spot. Sometimes it works but other times it's a mess. Hopefully I'll be able to jot down quick notes and problems I have during lecture time for later review. I'll just have to make sure I don't make any funny spelling mistakes with the autocorrect feature of the iPod touch.

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Three day lecture summary

Since I've only started blogging late yesterday night, I thought I'd make a very quick summary of my lectures three days into semester two. Exciting I know ...

(Communication is important)^100. Missed out on lecture notes because I came late and people were late to enrol so not enough notes were printed off. There was a drunk guy in class and he was sitting in the back corner and he basically communicated his thoughts on sustainability through his constant laughter. The course co-ordinator gave a pre-compiled speech for us to listen too. Didn't like it very much because it was too rehearsed and not personal enough. He went through the course content and the guest lecturers involved. A speaker from BECA came and gave a general overview on communication in the work place. The importance of understanding sentences used and the habits of generalisation and misrepresentation. The 24 hour rule to make sure you have interpreted an email correctly. The hidden risks of giving friendly advice as a professional engineer. The role of an engineer as being more than someone fixing things; we provide advice as consultants.

Came to the lecture late again. No girls in the class room. Sad. A guy in our class has an iPhone 3G and Zoran proceeded to ask them what sort of embedded communication devices it had. Went through the course and list of special topics to research on. Still have to pick mine but will probably try and get a real-time topic. Or one that focusses on handling real-time commands and handles them through sorting/ordering as a form of precedence. Might look into Erlang as a possible language to do modelling. Erlang is a programming language which has many features more commonly associated with an operating system than with a programming language: concurrent processes, scheduling, memory management, distribution, networking, etc.

Still wasn't sure if I wanted to do digital communications since I know I'm bad with signals and fourier transform. The first lecturer was quite monotonous but if you concentrate a little, he is interesting. Yet more assumptions about the signals being modelled. Additive noise and uncertainty of the voltage received. Went through the usual block diagram from reception, sampling, detection and decision. Missed out on the second lecture because of the EngGen 403 test.

A just for fun paper. Went through what makes a corporate. Agency conflicts and remedies. Market value. Book value. Calculation of interest. Present value. Future value. Annuity. Pretty basic things that "Management for Engineers" has taught us already. It'll be interesting if the lecturer talks about markets and that it is speculative and no one is wiser than any other.

Spark feedback

Got some spark feedback to day. Well most of the judges thought the ideas were sound but some were concerned with the target market. Probably should have mentioned that, after establishing StockShaping in New Zealand, the effort needed to introduce the service to overseas markets would be a lot less than launching in all markets at the same time. A lot of international companies use small markets as test beds before implementing world wide. If the idea flops, then only a small market is affected.

Carrying on, the main judge saw that the concept had some potential and that we had good timing because of the processing power needed to run the financial models. Now that I think about it, the location that StockShaping would run from wasn't mentioned. The judge might have thought it would run from a consumer's personal computer while we were thinking that it would run from a server farm owned by StockShaping. I didn't think of using GPU's for their GP capabilities like CUDA but I was thinking of using FPGAs for on the fly processing between the database and incoming requests/commands. The FPGA could have a python programme running on it and any database commands will be translated to the correct queries without having to use a soft programme. The benefit of FPGAs would be the ability to update the algorithms while keeping the speed up advantages.

Keeping on topic, the main judge didn't get the impression that we knew how big of a task it would be to create a fully working simulator; especially in the realm of realtime services. The judge also hinted at the possibility of getting postgrad research dollars to pursue this; that ain't a bad idea. Even if the conclusion is that the system is too complex for prime time, I'd still have had the opportunity to pursue the idea.

However, the idea seemed to be exciting and memorable. Good news is that I can still enter in to 10K and Aspire. I'm sure that would make the Aspire lead happy.

Can't complain

Had a 10% test where we had to write a complaint letter for EngGen403. I just can't complain and when I do, it's unstructured and hard to interpret. I ended up making up a fictional complaint about how a fictional company called "Pave My Way" did a really crap job paving my fictional drive way because areas of the paving started sinking into the ground. I made the fictional company look like a premier paving company with good contractors and track record. It just makes it easier to persuade the company to come and fix up the fictitiously bad job to save their fictional brand image.

I can't really say that it was a good complaint because I usually live with complaints unless the incurred costs are just way too high for me or I have to spend heaps of time sorting out the problem myself. I don't think my "argument" was all that logical. I'll have to think back to the days of Phil 105. Have good premises to support my conclusions (or sub conclusions).

iPod touch

Posting from my iPod touch.

Testing layout

So here I am late at night trying very hard to make my css behave with my html. My <div>'s keep moving around the place that I want them to be. Anyway, that's the least of my worries since I have to make sure the layout looks as intended in IE6/7. Looks fine in Safari and FireFox though!

Seems like I'm going to have to modify my homepage theme so that it works under the default blogspot template. Still not sure how the and tags work.