2011 Winter Term in Review

Another school semester/term has come and gone. This is my second term as a graduate student, and somehow I managed to survive. So once again this is my thoughts on my courses from last term. Just like the 2010 Fall semester, I took only three courses, but they sure weren’t easy.

Adaptive Control
This was the toughest technical course I’ve had in years. Adaptive control is one of the more advanced graduate control courses, but I’ve only taken one undergrad controls course and one intro graduate controls course last semester, so my background in this area was weak. The course uses a lot of Lyanpunov stability proofs and for half of the term I had no idea what Lyanpunov stability was. I also had a hard time following the lectures, and I didn’t find the textbooks that helpful because they have pages upon pages of stability proofs but not much in the way of examples for solving problems. As such, I didn’t do that well on the course. Better than I expected, but only a B+ and not an A. I did do pretty well on the final, but my midterm and homework marks dragged me down. At least this course is over and done with.

Complex Variables

This is an undergrad (third/fourth year) math course I took to help me for my upcoming doctoral qualifying exam. Complex variables is just a course on complex numbers and how to do calculus-like operations on them. It was a typical undergrad math course and even taught in the typical “copy notes from blackboard” manner. It’s not too interesting, but the course was not hard to follow, and for once the textbook was actually decent and worth the $70 I spent on it. Overall I did pretty well on the course, and hopefully taking this course will help me with my qualifying exam.

Power System Computations
I can’t call myself a power engineering student without taking at least one power related course. Power System Computations cover a wide range of power system equipment and how to do calculations for them, and some of these are also computation algorithms. Some of the material was covered in the power system analysis course I took last term, while other stuff such as voltage and transient stability and power electronic equipment are new. Due to the breadth of material, this could have been a very tough course, but thankfully our professor gave us good notes and, better yet, solutions to old homeworks and exams. Therefore, the course wasn’t too difficult, and I ended up doing fairly well.

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That’s all I have to say for the spring semester. I will spend the next three or so months concentrating mostly on my research project. I have been neglecting my project a bit during the last term due to course work, but since I don’t have courses in the summer I can put more effort into the project, and I’d better put more effort if I want to graduate on time. I also have to study for my doctoral qualifying exam which is coming up in the fall term of this year, so there is plenty to do in the summer.

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