Summer 2020 update

Posted: Sat 26 September 2020
Filed under personal
Tags: personal math programming climbing

Another 9 months have gone by without a blog post, and this time I don't even have lack of time as an excuse my lack of writing. This summer turned out to be quite different from what I had planned, which probably goes to show one shouldn't plan too far ahead, in this day and age. I figured it might be a good time make a list of what I did this summer, and contrast that with what I was planning to do, before I forget the details.


I was supposed to begin my summer with a conference at Haifa, but that of course didn't pan out, given the pandemic. The expectation was to follow up the conference by learning more Lie group theory and associated dynamics and representation theory, along the lines of what Hee Oh does, but I never got around to doing that.

However, I did manage to get some math done this summer.

  • I worked with my undergraduate collaborator CP1, and my postdoc mentor BW, as a part of AW's REU, and managed to prove some asymptotic bounds on the minimal stretch factors of certain pseudo-Anosov maps. BW is still reviewing the paper right now, and fixing up some sections, but hopefully the preprint should be up on ArXiV soon.
  • I also have enough theorems to write up a paper on the project I have been working on since February. Writing it up might be a bit of a nightmare, given how long it's been since the earlier results. But hopefully I should have something up on ArXiV in a month.
  • I also learnt enough Teichmüller theory and Teichmüller dynamics to pass my prelims, which is definitely good. I am no longer as afraid of complex analytic Teichmüller theory as I used to be.


This summer was fairly productive in terms of programming: I went through most of nand2tetris, i.e. designed a 16-bit computer from scratch, starting with the NAND gates, going up to assembly, followed with an intermediate VM language. I skipped writing a compiler for compiling Scheme to the intermediate VM language, because the Scheme specification is more complicated than I thought. I followed that up with trying to write a x86-64 microkernel in Rust, but x86-64 has a lot of details to debug, so I shelved that project as well. Right now, I am writing some userspace filesystem code that should be easier to debug, given that it doesn't work at the kernel level.


My climbing goals have suffered the most since the pandemic began. Originally, I was planning on getting my lead climbing certification this summer, and progress to climbing 5.10+ or 5.11- outdoors, but none of that happened after the gyms closed down. I've only climbed twice outside since then, and my footwork, among other things, has obviously degraded. I'm just hoping that once the gyms open up again, I can recover to the point where I was in a month or two.

  1. I figure it's a good idea to not name people I know personally in my blog. 


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