Kurt McKee

lessons learned in production

Hey there! This article was written in 2004.

It might not have aged well for any number of reasons, so keep that in mind when reading (or clicking outgoing links!).

Now that was an exam

Posted 7 December 2004

My CS311 final today was probably the most relaxed exam I've ever taken. Multiple times people were talking during the exam, there were several times when the entire class burst out laughing, and it was just a great environment to take a test in. There were some really funny things that happened, and here are some of my favorite quotes before, during, and after the final.

Breakfast with Mike Jurewitz and Brian Davis

Mike : OK, breadth-first: touch all adjacent nodes, and then go to each of them and do the same thing. Depth-first: go as far as you can, and when you can't go any farther, backtrack until you have a new path.
Me : In your face, Brian!
Brian : I already knew all of that. I even typed out these notes about it to study with. Shuffles through printed Powerpoint slides

Walking into class. Prof. Ben Watson is seated at the front

Me : OK, so are we still on for cheating?
Brian : Absolutely.
Mike begins to take off his hat
Me : Mike, we need that for the signals.

Jimmy Tang turns in his final

Ben : OK, great...Did you ever pick up your midterm?
Jimmy : Uh...
Ben : I'm thinking no. I don't recognize you.

Brian has turned in his final and left. Ten minutes later Brian walks back into the room and hands a piece of paper to Mike

Ben : That may be the most obvious note-passing I've ever seen.
Brian : It's Huffman encoded. He won't be able to decode it until well after the exam.

Matt McLoughlin walks up to the front to ask Ben a question

Ben : It would be good if you would actually write that out, if you have the time.
Matt : Glances at chalkboard, which reads "60 minutes left" I've got an hour.

One of my exam answers

Exam : Does insertion sort, heap sort, or count sort fit the situation best?
Me : I don't really know what count sort is, but I know it wasn't in the "We're all O(n2)! Never use us!" section of the book, so it's probably a good choice.

Talking with Brian and Mike after the exam

Brian : What did you do for the sort question?
Me : I claimed count sort. I don't know what it is, though.
Mike : I didn't know what count sort was either, so I just said "Heap sort...?"
Brian : I put heap sort too. I didn't recognize count sort.
Me : I actually don't think that's right.
Mike : Really? Why?
Me : Because that's not what I put.
Mike : "It's just got to be right! It's just got to!"