Lindsey Kuper (lindseykuper) wrote,
Lindsey Kuper

Reversing the arrow

06/11/2010: What I'm doing at work

This week is the fourth week of my internship. Here's a page of my notebook from work. This little scrawl, I just realized, does a decent job of capturing what I've been doing for the project I'm working on, and what I'm going to be doing for the next several weeks.

At the top of the page, there's a square with four corners connected by arrows; at the bottom of the page, a similar square. Notice how in the top square, the top arrow points from left to right, but in the bottom square, the top arrow points from right to left? The top diagram is what we've got. The bottom one is what we want. So that's what I'm working on: reversing the arrow. (For instance, today I made progress by confirming that the arrow is in fact currently pointing from left to right. This is good! Wouldn't want to go reversing an already-reversed arrow.)

So that's what I'm doing at work -- at least, that's what it looks like whenever I get out of the trees long enough to see the forest. What I'm actually doing mostly consists of resolving linker errors. Many linker errors. I'm working mostly with research code (written by grad students at various institutions, not by my co-workers), and "brittle, poorly documented and not sustainable at all" pretty well sums it up. (To the authors' credit, it's not like they don't know this. The code comes rife with warning labels. It's better in that respect than most research code.) As I told Chris chrisamaphone, "I'm down to just linker errors!" are my new Famous Last Words.

In that regard, yesterday was particularly bad. So when I came in this morning and saw today's xkcd, well -- look, I'm sorry about this; I know it's bad form to be Randall Munroe Is The Only One Who Understands My Existential Despair Girl. That didn't keep me from experiencing such a sudden and profound rush of relief at the idea that finally someone knows how I feel that I actually teared up a little. And then I fixed the damn problem!

Tags: programming, research

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