Home Stretch

Things are winding up. This afternoon we’ll deliver our presentation for the process mining course, concluding this practicum. Tomorrow morning our group will present our solution for the fourth and final assigmnent in architecture, though I won’t be there, having received permission to instead attend the simultaneous (note the quality of planning that went into scheduling this) exam preparation session of the distributed systems lecture as proxy for our group. Just as well, because for once, as agreed upon with my programming partner, I haven’t contributed anything to this solution. And I’m glad, for replacing our ReST interface with the apparently highly confusing gRPC framework for remote procedure calls seems a regular nightmare. Yesterday my programming partner has been sending staccato complaints over our group chat all day. I’m still not sure whether he’ll be able to complete the assignment in the next 24 hours, but I’m determined to hold him to the terms our deal. I really, definitely, have contributed my share this term and the previous one. Time for some payback.

In any case I do trust that whether this gRPC mess works or not we’ll all get the PVL. Nobody can have any interest in failing any of us this late in the game. And it’s the assistant, again, who is responsible for subjecting us to this technology nightmare. The professor, judging from his studied disinterest during the last presentation (the one with the Kubernetes deployment and integration tests), apparently couldn’t care less, yet of course he’s the one making the decision. I really think we’ll pass by even trying. In any case I know for a fact that the group in which my process mining programming partner is in didn’t have anything that worked as late as 10:30 p.m. last night, and their presentation is this morning. Oh yes, she is submitting all of three practicum assignments today, because apart from process mining and architecture she also has the final meeting of the distributed systems practicum today, the one we opted out of by presenting our solution before Christmas. Her partner is a hyperperfectionist, so in spite of having had her own solution ready for weeks, she has been prevented from submitting it before this, the final week but one of the term.

The funny thing is that some courses are still meeting, namely those without exam and grade. On Monday we had the last but one meeting of the adaptive agents project course. I spent all of it composing a wiki entry on our project (genetic optimization of neural networks, if you recall), outlining, as requested by the professor, the idea, implementation, and results, as well as possible improvements and extensions. I probably overdid it (again). It’s two or three pages long, in eloquent prose and with many links. Sometimes I still can’t help being an academic! I concluded on a positive note, for afterall, we learned quite something about Python, concurrency, Docker containers, Redis, and debugging a distributed system, though not so much about neural networks that we didn’t already know. But afterall, in the end it basically worked, if neither very fast nor very efficient. Still good enough for a term project.

Unfortunately there also will be two more meetings of the seminar, inconveniently scheduled, as you may recall, at 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday. So I’ll be sitting there right until the evening of the last working day before the exams.

Yesterday I studied at home. I composed my five minutes opening presentation for the oral exam in architecture. I did the second Altklausur for distributed systems (unfortunately there are only two from this professor) and made only two very small mistakes there. I also reviewed several books on software architecture and found that most of the contents already sound awfully familiar.

And suddenly a lot of the pressure I had been under before this upcoming exam period, most of it unconscious, melted away. I re-read some of my blog posts here from earlier exam periods and somehow realized that this one, too, will be over soon. And that most likely, as always, I will do well, probably better than I consider possible now. I have been here before, in fact four times before. And even though this one will be tough, what with three exams in three consecutive days in the first week, it certainly won’t be worse than the first two terms (five exams each). And almost certainly none of these exams will be half as bad as the horrible programming exam in term two, or the 16 to 18 pages exams our erstwhile math professor has become infamous for in terms two and three, or the two exams in the time for one in intelligent systems in term four.

And anyway the worst this fifth term could do to me is already behind me. I have come through doing the regular five courses and a series of murderous practicum assignments while working two days a week. Surely whatever the outcome this is the real triumph of having survived this fifth term, and it’s already in the bag, or at least as much as I can make it. In more than one sense this is the home stretch now.


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