Episode 1: Quantum Computing for… Dummies?!?

Olaf squinted at the text document. He tilted his head. Scratched it twice, and yawned.

Crap. No matter which way he approached the problem, it seemed like a mountain. One of those mountains, that looks like a molehill at a close distance, but you walk into like you would into Mount Everest. The problem being an article about decoherence in quantum computers.

Olaf tilted the swivel head on his LCD monitor. Nope, no idea. The window with an open document typed in OpenOffice stared back at him. How embarrasing, thought Olaf. I have done this before. He glanced at the clock. 22:00. Six more days at most. Crap, why the hell did I pick quantum computers as a project for the science writing course? Olaf smiled. Earlier this semester, he read one of his earlier edits to the class. The blank point-blank stares. The yawns. There he was. Facing the class, stressed by the thought of a barrage of complaints, bothered by the zombified expression of his classmates, and struggling with the words. Olaf realized later, that he was one of the few students who had some sort of science background. Dude, do you expect a bunch of English and Writing majors to grasp the complex concepts behind quantum mechanics, networks, digital cryptography and quantum computation in a single article and keep awake?!?

In the end, they liked it. With a bit of editing, the class liked his other articles. Only one last hurdle remained. “Its too long and too much information.” said one of his peers. I bet they suffered mental overload with that one. Olaf chuckled.

Six more days to the end of the semester. And nine more assignments. Olaf sighed. He stared at the screen. OpenOffice stared back at him. Olaf stuck out his tongue at the window. The program stared back at him.

“Screw this!” Olaf exclaimed. He already wasted most of the day on this one edit. All he really need was an half decent intro. Maybe he could reguriate an intro. Olaf smiled. He did just that.

Originally posted: Saturday, December 2, 2006 @ 18:51

Author’s Comment: That is how I felt rushed at the end of the semester. But will never forget reading my first professionally written piece infront of my writing class. I was surprised by how well received it was. And the compliment from my classmates. They understood everything I wanted to explain. Its was like hitting them over the head with a textbook in terms of the amount of facts and my boring narration. The professor, Guy Allen, who read an earlier, crude edit was also amazed how much I progressed. For the rest of the semester, I just kept on raising the bar for myself. And stressing out about it. 😉

Oh to my fellow classmates, forgive the comment of “overloading”. You guys taught this stuck-up science student more about exciting scientific writing, then almost anyone else. Except Guy, who we all agree is like a god in writing. 😉 I love you guys.

Chillin’ and Dreamin’

Elation!!! I finished work for yet another course, Business of Computing, and an assignment for the Foundations of Research course. So all the work for my Computer Science courses out the way, I can concentrate on the assignments for my two other courses. Staying up all night, sure wore me out but nothing a make-up nap did not help.

Right now, I am sit chilling and relaxing. I can finally concentrate on my “other” projects. Well after I finish my assignments and write my exams, but you get the point.

Taking about my side projects, I am pleased to say the justCheckers project is moving along well. I am impressed the amount of attention project received lately. A lot of this attention comes from the increased ranking on SourceForge.net. The ranking seems to increased, thanks to migration to Subversion and the recent updates to the site. I set up a wiki that should speed up development of specifications. Maybe we will see a new release soon too.

In other news, Arnold Rosenbloom – my professor for many past course including this semester’s brand new Informational Security (CSC347) – will post my article on RSA cryptography and its demise thanks to quantum computation. I plan on resurrecting the SiteChunks project. Also as promised last Friday, I will post an update to the Self-Experiment: Fast Personal Context Switching, later on today.

Article A2 Done

Relief! I managed to edit that article that kept on bugging me all weekend. The article deals with a brief introduction to quantum mechanics. I managed to bring it down to a 5 page rather then a rambling 10 page one.

That leaves me with 5 more articles to write and edit for my professional writing course. A warning to future science writing students, find a topic that does not require a full gigantic explanation. I did my entire project on quantum computation. And yes, explaining quantum computation to a bunch of university level non-scientist, while keeping the entire thing flowing and entertaining… well I found it challenging.

Anyways, I sometimes wonder if I should not become a writer after all. Maybe it will be easier to get bread on the table then a programmer. Shocking.