Updated Semester Report

This semester I wrote my report for the masters honors program earlier, before I started forgetting things. However, since then some things changed so I need to update it. Here it goes again.


Honors Program for Graduate Students
Semester Report – Summer 2006

Catalin Hritcu – catalin.hritcu@gmail.com

Introduction
At the end of each semester it is a good idea to look back and see what went good and what not, and maybe come up with some ways to improve. This was my second semester at Saarland University and it was a hard one indeed. During lecture time, the six classes I attended took all of my time, but I learned a lot from them. Only during the break could I develop open source, and most important I started reading and doing research.

Talks/Research
As usual, I attended a lot of scientific talks: The PS-Lab and IMPRS Master Seminars, the Empirical Software Engineering Seminar, the Colloquium of the MPI and GK, and the Distinguished Speaker Series MPI-Inf/SWS. In May, I attended the Trustworthy Software Workshop which was an excellent opportunity to meet young scientists and find out more about research in software verification and related areas.

Thesis
During this semester I decided to do my master thesis with Jan Schwinghammer from the Programming Systems Lab. My topic will most likely be related to separation logic, a sub-structural logic that supports local reasoning for imperative programs. It is designed to elegantly describe sharing and aliasing properties of heap structures, thus facilitating the verification of programs with pointers. Officially, I will start my thesis only in October, and I expect to submit it by the end of March 2007. However, I already started reading related research and sketching some proofs.

Honors Program
This semester I was also spokesman of the masters honors program, where we had a movie night, a trip to the days of the open doors at Dagstuhl and a grilling party together with the bachelors honors program. The other trips I took were around Saarland and to Metz and they were organized by ZiS.

Romanian-Bulgarian Night
In May, I helped organize the Romanian-Bulgarian Night in the Max Plank Institute for Computer Science, an event with around two hundred participants, folklore music, dance, traditional food and drinks and a bit of interesting facts about the culture and the traditions of our countries. My task was to manage the group effort, and even though it was hard and time consuming, it was also fun and rewarding. And judging by the reactions of the people who attended the event, everything went very well.

Open Source
This semester I improved uml2vg, which starting with version 0.17 supports UML 2.0 activity diagrams. And this summer, like the one before, I helped a friend who took part in the Google Summer of Code 2006 program. We worked together on an extension of XWiki, which will allow wikies to be distributed and replicated using the JXTA peer-to-peer protocol.

Failures
And since “if you don’t fail at least 90 percent of the time, you’re not aiming high enough” (Alan Kay), I had some failures this semester too. I applied for a summer internship at the Palo Alto Research Center and also to the IBM Top Student Recognition Event in Rome but was not selected for any of them. However because trying then, I was recently invited to visit IBM Stuttgart for two days in November.

Lectures and Grades
Finally, here is a list of the lectures I took this semester, together with the name of the instructors, the number of credits and the final grade:

Conclusion
To conclude, although this was a very good semester from the point of view of credits and grades, there were other important things I had to sacrifice, like reading and research. Fortunately, next semester I will be able to make up for all this when writing my master thesis. Additionaly, I will tutor a specialized lecture in Language Based Security, since tutoring is recommended to the students in the honors program.

[Previous semester report]

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