After weeks of traveling, including spending midterm break in London, it was time to head back to Cambridge. After an uneventful train ride (which fortunately occurred just two days before King’s Cross was shut down during a power outage), I arrived back in Cambridge, and made my way to one of the colleges where we are living. We’re all living in single dorm rooms with our own bathrooms (although the beds at the college I’m staying at leave a bit to be desired). Once we had settled in, we all went for a formal dinner at Wolfson College, where we were treated to a three course meal as everyone talked about what had happened over their breaks.
The next day, we started to ease back into more traditional classes, learning about pseudorandom generators, and a little about how they are used in Cryptography (short version; true random is hard, so take true random and stretch it to get a good key for encryption). We also
At the end of the week, we presented on various programming languages through history, up to about the 80’s. Some of the languages are well known (such as Basic) and others were somewhat less famous (such as the language I helped present on, PL/I). Although interesting, some of them used syntax that today just seems very annoying to work with. Probably the most interesting thing about learning about all of these various languages was seeing how they interacted with/inspired each other, either by serving as a direct predecessor, or by introducing new ideas
As we go on in the program, I expect there will be more interesting topics, both inside the classroom and on excursions (especially since as I’m writing this, we’re already in Manchester learning about the innovations that eventually lead to computing)!