First 20 days in MIT

Back in 2014, I was doing a Washington D.C. research trip on political think tanks' landscape from July to August. I got a chance to visit Boston and MIT/Harvard area. I instantly got drawn by the geeky vibes in MIT. Fast forward 3 years, I still find it hard to believe myself studying as a visiting undergraduate in the nerdiest place on earth and #IFHTP #IFLTP !

The intensity and quantity of events happening in MIT is unbelievable. Think of it as frequent as Hong Kong's business conference + nightlife scene, but all with a high tech spin on it. Like deciding the direction of a startup, choosing what not to do is the most critical question to keepx you going. On average I have 2-3 sleep cycles per night ( around 5 hours ).

For now my time is split into 4 categories:

Academics

I am taking 5 classes now. During the class selection process, I intended to choose more bio-based classes because a) Boston has a strong pharmaceutical presences b) biotech is really the future.

  1. Deep Learning for Life Sciences 6.802
    • The class cut to the chase within first two weeks. It teaches the thinking and intuitions behind deep learning, then expects you to jump straight into Tensorflow for implementations. Learning curve is steeeeep but luckily the support is good.
    • CNN for image processing; RNN for generative transcripts; Decision making for complex diagnostics.
  2. Principles and Applications of Genetic Engineering for Biotechnology and Neuroscience 9.26
    • This is definitely my favourite class out of 5 classes. It is taught by Zhang Feng, inventor of optogenetics and the hottest tech in 2017 - CRISPR-Cas9. The commnnity expects that these two techs are both Nobel-prizes-worthy.
    • Next-Gen DNA Sequencing, Neuropsychiatric Diseases, CRISPR, Genome Editing
    • the most exciting part for me is that Dr. Zhang has agreed to co-led one of discussion sessions with me on CRISPR biology !! Analyzing a Nobel-prize-to-be techniques with its inventor ?! This's EXHILARATING.
  3. Experimental Molecular Neurobiology 9.12
    • Teaching foundational lab techniques for neurobiolgy experiments. It was way too out of league for a guy without high school biology classes, but Mary Lambo and the rest of teaching staffs have been supportive to the idiot in the lab.
    • Recombinant DNA , PCR, Neurons (....)
  4. Engineering Innovation and Design
    • taught by entrepreneur Blade Kotelly, founder of SONOS (Apple's official home sound system suppliers). The class is one of the best business classes I have taken, but may trade it with a UROP instead. Tough choices.
    • Design thinking, Engineering principles, projects for developing Alexa skills
  5. MAS.664J/ 15.376J Media Ventures
    • flagship "action lab" under the Media Lab.
    • Idea Pitch sessions, developing market traction,
    • With rooted belief in determinism, I found it fascinating about the people I met in the class, which led to the next sections related to the hk venture.

Ventures

Back in HK, Peter, Jeff and I were building a conversational bots layer before I came. We have discussed the scenario in which people could benefit in a cross-language context. After the MV class, I bumped into Conors, Sloan MBA 18', who pitched about Myanmar's microfinance opportunities.

It turns out that he has been trying to solve a problem of language barriers.
- micro finance - educations - chatbots for providing loans to SME

  • Problem is more legit in SEA/developing countries
  • bots for services - underinvestment of NLP of asian language

-exciting things could be achieved.

Fraternity

Out of a random occasion for superbowl watching, (which turns out to be the most epic games in recent years) I got to meet the brothers of ADPhi. It was never in my plan to join a frat but the people I met in it are just exceptional. I decided to pledge without detailed researching. Alumni list of ADPhi

I didn't realise until today researching for the blog. Alumni from ADPhi include HP founders, 2 US Presidents and Head Judges, Rockafellers, TechStars founder. These are all phenomenon persons who have shaped the course of U.S. history. I joined for the sole reason that the people here are awesome and friendly. I guess that is a silver linings (or another term ?)

Fun

  • joined Harvard dance team for a ballroom dance intro
  • Bijou
  • hack at MIT
  • ADPhi throws its first official parties after quite some time.
  • East Campus's party is the most hipster party I have seen in my whole life... including pole-dance, clothing-optional rooms and more
  • uncountable hackathons (want to do )
  • ski trip (want to do )

From the Dome

This blog entry helps me to retrospect what I have done and not yet done in MIT. Better make it count for the remaining ~70 days left.

Minds and Hands

mens et manus