I. Original objectives
First off, I should re-state my broad goals as I originally presented them in February... from my original proposal :
My previous research experience has been computational, but has been oriented entirely toward solving biological problems. The goal of this independent study is to begin "porting" my background in biology to a set of problems with general relevance in computer science, and to hopefully make a unique contribution to the graphics group that will draw on my experience in neuroscience and biology.
With that in mind, I'll address the points I presented as major goals for the semester, and review the projects I've worked on.
II. What I've done
First of all, a summary of the projects I've spent time on this semester.
One thing I can offer as "results" from this effort is the notes I collected when I was trying to familiarize myself with Song's project. Although this is pretty casual, it might be useful to someone in the future who's trying to get acquainted with the same project. My notes are available at :
III. What I'm going to do
In the final weeks of the semester, I also plan to do the following :
Now a brief discussion of how these projects fit into the broad goals specified above, and how each fits the general criteria that I specified. As I mentioned earlier, they are problems in computer science that demanded someone with a working knowledge of both CS and biology.
For example, I was able call upon my knowledge of neuroanatomy to add a biological perspective to Song's analyses. At the beginning of the semester, we quite literally didn't know which way was up in our data sets, and we weren't even sure what species was imaged in one of the data sets. Through our constant review of the images, we have completely oriented ourselves regarding major structures in the data. I think this is significant progress, and I think I was able to make a unique contribution to Song's efforts.
Similarly, my work with the spectral data allowed me to work on a biological problem from a computational perspective. I had to consider statistical issues and approaches to data-fitting, but I also had to consider the underlying acquisition in choosing analyses that would yield biologically meaningful results.
Given that I have achieved my primary goal of using my background in biology to make a contribution to research in CS, and given that I have produced the above documents as tangible results of my work, I feel I deserve an 'A' in CS194 this semester.
From my perspective, I feel I have also gained from this independent study exactly what I hoped to gain - experience applying my knowledge of biology to problems that may interest me in my graduate career. More generally, I really wanted to spend a semester working in the computer science department... at the end of this semester, due to this course and due to my other involvements in the department, I feel almost like a CS major. :)