Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Algorithms course and Video

There's an excellent audio and video presentation of the algorithms course at MIT's Open CourseWare. Don't miss the courses in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Mathematics

Friday, July 21, 2006

Blog outage and other updates

Blogspot has been unavailable in India since the last few days. I called up Airtel to find out when access to blogspot will be allowed again. I was told that "the site has been indefinitely blocked".

My growing frustration got me to look into Yahoo 360. I was pleasantly surprised with the blogging facility. I could post formatted HTML and it came out very nicely. As an experiment, I have uploaded my first python program. The really cool thing is that with every post, it is also possible to setup a mini-poll and see what people think.

Please visit my Yahoo 360 blog and give feedback. Through the poll and otherwise.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

First major contribution to the Linux Kernel

The code is now in linux-2.6.18-rc2 the feature is called per-task delay accounting. It gives me my first set of copyrighted files in the Linux kernel, download -rc2 and open up kernel/taskstats.c, include/linux/taskstats*, Documentation/accounting/getdelays.c

The Documentation/accounting directory has a lot of details on how to use and extend our feature. The review processes was very informative, learning and entertaining.

If you are interested in seeing how the review happened, the process, let me know and I'll post the relevant URL's. In case you are interested in what's happening in the Linux Kernel front, Andrew Morton gave a talk at OSDL Japan, about the new features and their current status.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Learning a new language

I am usually faced with a problem while trying to learn something new, specially if it is a new computer language. The problem is that some basic language concepts and constructs are very obvious. What I am usually interested in is -- to become productive in the new language as quickly as possible and avoid learning things I already know. I have been trying to put together a language learning template. Here's the first draft of it

Phase 1

  1. Learn simplest form of I/O (learn how to accept user input and display output)
  2. Learn how to write comments
  3. Learn about numeric types and numeric operators
  4. Learn about strings and arrays
  5. Learn the basic constructs of the language like if, while, for
  6. Learn about strings and arrays
  7. Learn about functions, classes, error handling
  8. Learn about simple File operations (open, read and close)
Keep Phase I as simple as possible. Try the simplest of examples to learn the jist of the language.

I am still working on what one could learn in Phase 2. I would appreciate comments, suggestions to make the list complete. Phase 2 is very language specific and its hard to come up with a good list of things to learn. I'll probably pick a language and see if I can follow Phase 1 and come up with a template for Phase 2.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Simple C tidbits (tasty morsels)

I cam across the term tasty morsels in the book Expert C Programming: Deep C Secrets by Peter Van Der Linden. I have been thinking of accumulating them myself, the challenge is to avoid duplicates and keep them interesting

My friend Phani Babu asked me a simple question

"Can we declare static variables in a struct, if no why; if yes where will it be stored?"

My answer was

"We cannot from what I know. struct is a data type declaration keyword, specifying storage might not be acceptable there. But the case for c++ is different where you can have static variables in the class and later on define them outside with the syntax [type]: [class]:[var] [= value]"

The requirements for both languages are clearly different. C being a structured language had no support for methods within a structure or a class. With the addition of classes came the concept of instances of a class. With instances came the need to share data across instances. This could be done using global variables, but it would be ugly. The solution was to allow shared per class data across instances.

Any add-ons will be credited and appreciated.