2009 Fall Term in Review

I finally received the marks to all of my courses in the past term, so it’s time for me to write another term review post. I used to write these posts back on my *old* personal blog which eventually transformed into an anime/manga blog. Since this site is now my personal blog, I’ll be writing these kind of posts here instead. As always, below is a list of courses I took, my mark for each course, and what I thought of each of them.

Engineering Law and Ethics
My Grade: 82%
A non-technical but nonetheless important course for engineering students, this courses talks about law and ethics in engineering so we learn how to keep ourselves out of trouble. The class consisted of lectures on various law and ethic topics delivered by the instructors and guests, and almost all of the evaluation was done online. It’s definitely an important course, but just not all that interesting to me. At least I made an effort to attend all the lectures though (unlike half of my classmates). To be honest though, I didn’t put too much effort into this course, and as a result this is my worst course mark for the term. Interestingly, I didn’t too well on quiz on law, but I aced the quiz on ethics. I guess this means I’m ethical but not lawful :wink: .

Power System Analysis
My Grade: 95%
The bread-and-butter course for a power engineer wannabe like me. This was a basic power systems analysis on three phase transmission systems, focusing on short-circuit calculations on symmetrical faults, power-circle diagrams, and some transmission line modeling. It is a course that requires a fair bit of math and circuit theory background, but it actually wasn’t that “computationally intensive” compared to many other technical courses I have taken due to the use of a lot of simplifications and conventions. I suppose if the conventions and simplifications weren’t used then calculating stuff by hand would take forever. The professor for this course was pretty good and gave useful notes, and there were no surprises in any of the exams. Overall I didn’t this course to be too difficult, and hopefully it’ll be the same for my next power systems analysis course.

Power System Optimization
My Grade: 93%
A power systems elective course, this course is basically a course about mathematical optimization but applied to the topic of power systems. During the course we learned about linear programming methods like simplex and non-linear methods such as steepest descent and Newton’s. Instead of a final, we were required to do a final project which I initially wasn’t happy with, but thankfully the project turned out to be fairly easy. Overall I found this to be a decent course. I found the material to be alright and the prof was a nice guy, but to be honest the course didn’t cover that much material. At least I got my credits and a good mark, so can’t really complain too much.

Discrete Structures and Algorithms
My Grade: 91%
A technical elective that I took to fill up credits, Discrete Structures and Algorithms turned out to be an interesting and somewhat challenging course. This is more of a computer-engineering course that covers various facets of discrete math including graph theory, writing math proofs, algorithmic complexity, and summations. I liked this course because it’s a course that makes you think, but on the other hand this is why I found this course to be more difficult than my other courses. During the same term I was going to the math competition club, and taking this course definitely helped. For example, I finally understand what “proof by induction” means lol, which is really sad considering that I’ve been participating in math contests since my first year of middle school.

4th Year Engineering Project
My Grade: 93%
As a requirement for graduation, all students in my program are required to do a project supervised by faculty. During the course of the project we have to write a progress report and final report which is marked for both technical content and English competency. I did my project testing a power systems software package. The project wasn’t hard, but then again I wasn’t asked to do much. I’ve chosen to continue with this project into winter 2010, and hopefully I’ll get a good mark as well.


That’s all for my courses in the fall 2009 term. My average for the term is 91% (weighed on credits) which is probably one of my lowest term averages ever, which is surprising given that this was the lightest course load I’ve had in my university career. I guess I must have slacked off too much with my two days per week course schedule, or maybe this was a side effect of doing 8 months of co-op before the school term. The reason is probably the former, plus the fact I had to put effort into applying to grad school. I can usually crunch through homework assignments and even exams without too much difficulty, but writing application essays and obtaining suitable references was hard work. I managed to complete all of my applications on time though, and all that’s left to do is cross my fingers and hope for the best.

It’s true that I only had classes on two days (great scheduling on my part :lol: ), but I did go back to school on two other days of the week to work on my project and go to the gym. As always I didn’t lose any weight or appear to be any fitter than before, but I did get a little bit stronger. During the term I also returned to the Putnam math competition club for the first time in two years, and at the end of the term I actually wrote the ridiculously hard contest. I definitely didn’t win anything from the Putnam competition (at most got 3 questions out of 12), but at least I did better than I thought I would.

The next term, or should I say the current term, is (hopefully) my last term as an undergraduate, and I’m definitely going to work hard to end my undergrad career on a high note. May the Force be with me… and you too.

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