This was my third and last semester as a Master’s student at Saarland University, and I spent most of my time working on my thesis. I was also a teaching assistant for a specialized lecture in Language-based Security, and I was actively involved in the organization of the Master’s Honors Program.
For my Master’s thesis I created step-indexed semantic models for the imperative and functional object calculi, and I used these models to prove semantic soundness of an expressive type system. I started with this in November, after a quite long period of reading related work and assessing candidate topics together with my super-supervisor, Jan Schwinghammer. All the results and proofs of my thesis are already done, and I am currently typesetting everything in LaTeX. After I submit my thesis in April, we hope to publish a shortened and possibly improved version as a conference paper.
This semester I was a teaching assistant for a specialized lecture in Language-based Security. Most of the research topics covered by the lecture were totally new to me, so I learned a lot out of it. And even more important, tutoring itself was new to me, and I realized I really enjoy explaining to students. Other than holding the tutorials, I had to correct and grade quizzes and exams, and sometimes I did the sample solutions to the homework. In the evaluation of the course the students were very happy with my performance as a teaching assistant. Nevertheless, I should practice more noticing when they have difficulties understanding my explanations.
Master’s Honors Program
As a spokesman of the Master’s Honors Program, I was (probably too) actively involved in the organization of the program. From helping mask the temporary absence of a study coordinator, to organizing a Christmas party and the weekly movie night. I also attempted to create a Honors Program Seminar, where students in the program could present interesting research. This was a total failure, for many reasons, the most important one being that there is no need for such a seminar. On the contrary, maybe there are already too many. For example, during the last five months I gave five talks related to my thesis, three even before I did any real work on it. While I like giving talks, I like it even more when I have something important to say to an interested audience.
In November I attended the IBM Top Student Recognition Event in Stuttgart. As a sequel, I am now preparing a visit to IBM & Bosch for the students in the Honors Program. The other trips I took this semester were with ZiS to Luxembourg and to the Weihnachtsmarkt in Trier. I also attended an XWiki meeting in Paris and spent several days with the team.
This semester I also started running, and even though I was new to this too, yesterday I have run my first half marathon.
Thoughts about the Future
Finally, some weeks ago I was accepted for an IMPRS PhD fellowship, and I plan to do my PhD here, as soon as I submit my Master’s thesis. I hope I will find a “real” problem, that matches my interests and at the same time constitutes good research. A multiobjective optimization problem that will take some effort to solve.