the neural bit

a nerd doing nerdy things and writing about them

Analyzing the Viterbi Algorithm

This summer I am taking CS5114 - Theory of Algorithms at Virginia Tech. Our first Project was to analyze a Dynamic Programming algorithm, and compare it to other approaches that solve the same problem. Since I am focusing on DSP/Communications, I decided to look at the Viterbi algorithm, a Dynamic Programming approach to decoding Convolutional Codes.

This Website

This site was adapted from my old, static HTML website. I wrote the original site way back in high school (with many updates throughout college), and it was beginning to show its age. The biggest issue was that I didn’t create it with any sort of templating to begin with, so when I wanted to update the appearance, my changes had to be manually propogated to every page. Enter jekyll and octopress.

Comfortably Numb Solo Synthesis

During my last quarter at Rose-Hulman I took a great class called ECE481 - Electronic Music Synthesis. In it, we discussed a lot of concepts used to synthesize music, including additive and destructive synthesis, FM synthesis, the Karplus-Strong algorithm, and various post-processing and mixing techniques.

As a final project for the course we were asked to create a song using some of the techniques we learned about. For my project, I chose to synthesize the solo from the Pink Floyd song “Comfortably Numb” using the Karplus-Strong Algorithm.

High-Altitude Imaging

In the spring of 2010 my brother and I decided we would like to launch a camera into near-space, in order to take images of the earth from 90,000+ feet. We were primarily inspired by a well known project completed by some MIT students called Project Icarus. They became somewhat famous in the fall of 2009 by launching their vehicle into the stratosphere for less than $150. We have also utilized resources from the UK High-Altitude Society for various information regarding this project.

LED Audio Visualizer

Completed LED Visualizer

In my Embedded Systems Design class, we were required to create a final project of our choosing which demonstrated our understanding of the course concepts. My partner and I decided to create an Audio Visualizer for our final project. The idea was to display the audio spectrum in real-time (calculated with an FFT) on an LED Matrix.

Carputer

A few months after I got my new Volvo S70, I began to think that the stereo head unit would be perfect for a carputer (car computer). It’s a rather large head unit, probably about twice as tall as a typical one, so there would be plenty of space inside for a computer and the other necessary electronics. The other great thing about it is that you can remove it just by popping two tabs and pulling it out, making debugging really easy.

Predator-Prey Simulation

This project was inspired by two classes that I took. The first was Introduction to Complex Systems, which I took my senior year in high school. It was a sort of review of a lot of interesting high level math concepts, we spent a while talking about fractals and the mandelbrot set, and then moved on to what really interested me, cellular automata.

The idea of cellular automata is to make a lot of little cells that follow some relatively simple rules, but when you watch their overall behavior over a lot of iterations some interesting patterns form. The most famous example is conway’s game of life.

The second class, which I took my freshman year of college was Differential Equations 2. In this class we modeled a lot of random things t demostrate differential equations and one such model was the populations of predators and prey living in the same area. If you fiddle with the constants in the model just right you can end up with two sinusoidal populations with the prey wave lagging the predator wave a little bit. The idea is that when there are a lot of predators, they kill off the prey, but when the prey populations gets so low, the predators begin to starve, so the prey have time to reproduce and so on.

So one day in DE2 I began to drift off and came up with the idea of making a predator prey simulation using cellular automata, and this is the result.

Stack Processor Utnik (S.P.utnik)

During Fall quarter of my Sophomore year at Rose I took Computer Architecture. For most of the quarter, the class is assigned to design a 16-bit processor in teams of 4. These are the results of that project for my group.

Hollow Book

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My senior year of high school, my roommate and I stumbled on this tutorial on making a hollow book. We decided it would be pretty cool to have one, so I pulled a book that I had already read off the shelf and we got to work. We finished cutting it up and gluing it that same night.

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At first we used it to store our contraband - Nothing really bad, our high school didn’t let us keep things like matches or extension cords in our rooms, which we thought was ridiculous.

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Now that I don’t really need to hide that “contraband” anymore, I use it as a toolbox.