Course Reviews @ CMU

☆: courses which I thought were worth attending CMU for. I’m stingy with these, so a course without them might still be good. Opinions are free if you want them.

Semester difficulty ratings: {light, medium, heavy, death} corresponding to {lots of free time, routine, strict routine and some all nighters, regular all nighters}. I generally aim for medium to heavy semesters.

Context: I entered CMU with decent programming background and meh math background. I’m generally better at systems than theory. I strongly prefer reading ahead.

Fall 2018

  • TA 15-150
  • 15-300 Research and Innovation in Computer Science
  • ☆ 15-312 Foundations of Programming Languages
  • ☆☆ 15-354 Computational Discrete Mathematics
  • ☆ 15-445 Database Systems
  • 70-364 Business Law

Dropped: 15-330
Other commitments: database group, Microsoft lounge
Overall: heavy. Courses weren’t so bad, but I was trying to do too much extra stuff.

Spring 2018

  • TA 15-150
  • 02-261 Quantitative Cell and Molecular Biology Laboratory
  • ☆☆ 15-359 Probability and Computing
  • 15-388 Practical Data Science
  • ☆ 15-440 Distributed Systems
  • 80-180 Nature of Language
  • ☆ 98-317 StuCo: Hype for Types

Other commitments: none
Overall: medium. Distributed has good notes (I particularly like the PAXOS slide), but the projects were much better in the Fall. PNC office hours were really helpful.

Fall 2017

  • TA 15-122
  • 15-210 Parallel and Sequential Data Structures and Algorithms
  • 15-213 Introduction to Computer Systems
  • 21-268 Multidimensional Calculus
  • 21-373 Algebraic Structures
  • 82-117 Arabic Conversation & Dialect I
  • 82-273 Introduction to Japanese Language and Culture

Dropped: 15-295, 80-180
Other commitments: internship hunting
Overall: death. In retrospect, I spent too much time on trying to TA properly, though I don’t particularly regret that. Courses were mostly busywork. I regret taking 268, thought I would need it for 359 but it turns out you don’t.

Spring 2017

  • 15-150 Principles of Functional Programming
  • ☆ 15-251 Great Theoretical Ideas in Computer Science
  • 33-121 Physics I for Science Students
  • 73-100 Principles of Economics
  • 82-115 Beginning Arabic for Oral Communication

Dropped: 21-269
Other commitments: desk services (Sun midnight to noon)
Overall: death before dropping 269, heavy after. 251 and 269 were both time consuming, lived up to their reputation. Didn’t really spend time on other courses.

Fall 2016

  • 15-051 Discrete Math Primer
  • 15-122 Principles of Imperative Computation
  • 15-128 Freshman Immigration Course
  • 15-131 Great Practical Ideas for Computer Scientists
  • 15-151 Mathematical Foundations for Computer Science
  • ☆ 21-242 Matrix Theory
  • 76-101 Interpretation and Argument
  • 99-101 Computing @ Carnegie Mellon

Other commitments: desk services (Sat and Sun evenings)
Overall: light. Wish I did more stuff. I found 151 harder than 242 because their notes were being written as we went along and I couldn’t read ahead. 242 notes are great, succinct.