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January 21st, 2004


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11:58 am - Classes
On subjects I've meant to update on but have not... I'm taking a bunch of classes right now. The structure does me well, is the rational.

With corvisdog
On the canine front, I have corvisdog enrolled in two Agility classes. One is Beginners II, on Monday nights. We are halfway done with this, but there will be more when they are over. The other is Begining Gamblers, on Saturday morning. Where morning means 8:30am in Plum (near Monroeville). My dog is just about the only thing that would get me up and out at that time. But he and I enjoy it. Gamblers is a lot of off-leash work, designed to show off not only his sequencing and my handling, but being able to point and tell him what bit of equipment he should use without following him.

Misty Pines also has obedience classes on Saturday. I'm not sure I approve of all of their methods, and I believe their integrated Agility work could be detrimental to him (they do things differently in ways I don't approve). But he still has some work to do to be a fully well-rounded canine. And I will get his Canine Good Citizen certificate. I'll just have to see where we do that training -- I just missed the start of Animal Friends (where he did his previous work) CGC course. I also have signed up for some dog seminars, and considering signing up for additional ones like Flyball

Academic daemonv
Continuing my exploration of the MBA curriculum, I sat down with my father before the semester started and walked through the available courses for this semester. We came up with a list of 5 or so classes this mini that would be worthwhile and worth looking at. Last Tuesday I had a really long day, sitting in on over 9 hours of classes. But I ended up with two selections that I'm pleased enough with.

The first one -- 15-899B -- is a mistake, and I know it. Computational Genomics (course description below in the Appendix) is not an MBA class, nor is it likely to satisfy any other graduate requirements I may encounter in my continued schooling. This will be my fourth Computational Biology course, a field I'm still not confident I like. But I do like the problems, and the course description got my intellectual juices flowing, so... Yeah. Another 12 unit graduate project course to distract me. It is going to be a lot of work, and it is 9-10:30am Tuesday and Thursday, which is probably going to be the hardest part.

The second one -- 45-770 -- is fun. Based on the course description, my dad gave the following endorsement: Every program has this class, and it is very hard to teach. The class, when done well, is fun, but the relevancy is often unclear, and one wonders what they are getting out of it. And then, after graduation, students realize that the material of the course is 90% or more of what they do. My dad was mostly pushing me to take a marketing course, and I certainly should. But I showed up to this class, Tuesday and Thursday 8-10pm, and was captivated. It was one of the more engaging lectures I've had at CMU. The professor is a social networks guy, and his focus is on the various informal networks and how they relate to power distribution and organizational efficiency. The stuff and stories are great. And I finally get to take a case-based course (my dad has been a case-based instructor for a long time)

Holistic daemonv
I am also trying out the Bridge Club's introductory class, because I have long figured it would be relevant to know the basics of bridge. Seems like the kind of game that I might like. I am also still looking into language classes, although the focus may be shifting back to refreshing and enhancing my Spanish (more on that later).

And yesterday I went to my first Pilates class. CMU offers one about 30 minutes after my comp.bio class ends, and I figured it might make a nice sequence to my Tuesday and Thursday mornings if I did all that and arrived to work straight from a post-gym cleanup and fitness high. The class was OK, a lot of it was new and there were a lot of people (many were more experienced). I've been meaning to do this class for months, this is not a New Years thing. I've heard it is good for flexible core strength, and I am not making as much progress in my flexibility program as my strength training -- and I'm not sure Yoga is for me. So I tried it, and it seemed OK. I noticed that I was walking differently after, and I took that as a positive sign that I should at least keep with it for a couple of weeks. I skipped my evening workout to get a clean assessment -- and yes, I feel delightfully sore all over this morning. So, chalk that onto the list of my studies.

Yeah, Tuesdays and Thursdays I have class at 9-10:30am, a Pilates workout, and then another class at 8-10pm.

15-899B
Recent advances in High-throughput expermental methods in molecular biology hold great promise. We now have the complete DNA sequence for many organisms. DNA microarrays have been used to measure the expression levels of thousands of genes, and more recently microarrays have been exploited to measure genome-wide protein-DNA binding events. While useful, these datasets present many computational challenges. In addition to analyzing individual data sources, principled computational methods are required in order to combine these data sources to infer genetic interaction networks. In this class we will discuss statistical and algorithmic approaches for contemporary problems in functional genomics, with an emphasis on fusing diverse sources to model systems in the cell. Topics include: DNA sequence data, binding motifs, gene expression data normalization, clustering and visualization, cancer classification, continuous dynamic models, protein-DNA binding, protein interaction networks, information fusion, graphical models and systems biology.

45-770
This is a course about living, surviving, and thriving in organizations. The course is designed to improve your effectiveness as a manager by introducing you to concepts and frameworks for understanding organizations and organizational processes. Organizations have been studied from the perspective of several social science disciplines including psychology, sociology, economics, anthropology, and political science. The field on which this course is based, organizational behavior, draws from all of these disciplines and applies the relevant research. This course will introduce you to this research and ways to apply the knowledge through in class exercises and case discussions.

We will approach the topic of organizations from a strategic perspective. The inability to effectively organize and coordinate people and processes can, and often does, derail strategic initiatives. This course focuses on how to build the organizational capabilities that underlie successful strategy implementation and that provide firms with a sustainable source of competitive advantage.


I think I've added a bit of fun to my day-to-day life. Yes, I am not a well person.

(3 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:vermonster
Date:January 22nd, 2004 11:26 am (UTC)
(Link)
"The professor is a social networks guy, and his focus is on the various informal networks and how they relate to power distribution and organizational efficiency."
umm social capital... yeah that's what i'm doing my comps on (sort of).
[User Picture]
From:daemonv
Date:January 22nd, 2004 11:59 am (UTC)
(Link)
I don't think it is. Maybe.

By informal networks, he's refering to the various diagrams one can make that are alternative to the Organizational Structure: who trusts who, who is friends with who, who turns to who for technical advice. By understanding what those connections are, one can be more effective at getting things done -- rather than just making the most superficially-competent guy boss, and having him wield his Authority to get new programs implemented, you might find the person who most people trust, or turn to, or whatever. And you can recognize where there are informational bottlenecks and the like.
[User Picture]
From:leko
Date:January 22nd, 2004 12:33 pm (UTC)
(Link)
And that's where friendster comes in...

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