What I'm up to this week (February 26, 2017)

First blog post, very exciting. I want these updates to be my way of giving people something to look forward to for the week and also my way of staying accountable. Like a workout buddy. You are all now my workout buddies.


I've been trying to teach myself some Fortran. Why you may ask? Beyond just the nerd cred, it's still used as the foundation for a lot of modern scientific and engineering software. Numpy for instance, still calls Fortran modules, leading to confusing missing compiler errors at times. I hear even Matlab was once referred to as "Fortran with wheels" and was originally developed as a way to make Fortran linear algebra libraries more approachable to students. 

Maybe this week would be a good opportunity to write a summary of Fortran and why it's an interesting, albeit very niche, language.


Recently I've been seeing a number of articles talking about various computational and mathematical approaches to the problem of gerrymandering, basically the process through which political boundaries are drawn in order to provide electoral advantages to a particular party or interest. I want to get more of a survey of the work that's been done, and see how I could get some of that code running on my own computer. Ideally, I'd even be able to modify it and see how different spins on the problem lead to different results.


Another programming language, it's very similar to Fortran in usage (science and engineering) but is way more modern, having only been first published in 2012. It has a lot of interesting features and an emphasis on speed to solve what the developers refer to as the "two language problem". I'll probably do another summary for Julia as well and post when I run across something particularly interesting.

I think that's about it for now, that's already a fair amount to do for a week. Go big or go home, right?