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Lindsey Kuper

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GrammaTech internship interview [Oct. 24th, 2009|12:38 pm]
Lindsey Kuper

What I did over the summer

Yesterday I had a phone interview with two computer scientists at GrammaTech. To prepare for the interview, I spent some time beforehand thinking about what kinds of questions I'd like to be asked, such as "What was the research you did over the summer?", and what I would say in response. While I was thinking about the answer to that particular question, it occurred to me that at some point -- not necessarily during this interview, but someday -- I was going to have to talk about monads with non-Schemers, and I was going to have to speak their language, which was problematic because "return a >>= f ≡ f a" looks to me like the cat stepped on the keyboard while I was trying to write C. So I made three yellow sticky notes and put them on the wall over my desk to serve as a sort of Rosetta Stone for the monad laws: first in math, then in Scheme, then in Haskell, and finally in English. Thus satisfied, I went back to thinking about things that might actually come up during the interview.

Five minutes into the interview, I was reading off of those sticky notes. I guess they were a good idea.

We talked about all kinds of things: teaching, miniKanren stuff, even my GPS follower. I had mentioned a few specific projects I'd worked on in my letter, so it's not as though they had to go out of their way to find things to ask me about, but I was pretty excited that they were interested in my projects at all. In the latter part of the interview, they asked me to solve a programming problem, but they didn't ask me to actually write code, just to describe what tools I would use, how I would do it, and how long it would take (both how long it would take the computer, and how long it would take me). It was a straightforward problem, but seriously, guys, I'm going to take the graduate algorithms course in the spring, because 2003 just isn't getting any less long ago.

Anyway, I think the interview went reasonably well. They've asked for references, so we'll see what happens next.


[User Picture]From: cola_fan
2009-10-24 08:04 pm (UTC)
Nice header image. It seemed like a really good stock photo until I clicked through. Someday I will learn more math! I'd love to study and catch up all my gaps in linear algebra, and on... and maybe get a glimpse of what these groups and categories are all about.

Good luck! for the internship!

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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2009-10-24 08:13 pm (UTC)
Stock photo? What do you think I am, Graham?! Sheesh.

Anyway, hooray for learning more math someday! I want to learn more signal processing someday.
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[User Picture]From: cola_fan
2009-10-24 08:55 pm (UTC)
We can teach each other! A good reference for audio signal processing at a fundamental level is MDFT by Julius Smith (really cool audio dude).
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2009-10-26 12:35 am (UTC)
Thanks, Chris!
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