May 2012

hi there.

Mary Poppins in the summer time?

June 8th, 2012

I am Loren Lin. I am a senior studying Computer Science at the University of Texas at Austin. This summer, I have been blessed with the opportunity to work under the amazing Dr. Lu and partnering up with the awesome Daniel Brooks. Our research includes image shape based retrieval and how we can make it more efficient and faster in an extremely large database. I'll get into more detail about that later, but for now I want talk about my experience in REU so far.

June 3rd: Arrived at Texas State and noticed the campus has way too many construction sites going on. At dinnertime, I met so many interesting people here at REU. We all ate pizza, laughed together, and had a really good time on our first day! Dr. Ngu filled us on what our schedule looked like in the coming week.


June 28th, 2012

Alright, continuing from where I left off... 20 days ago!

June 4th: Went to the Nueces conference room for an orientation to get an idea about what the program is all about. Listened to the professors talk about their experiences about the past students who did research and how they dealt with all of that. We got to eat some sandwiches and chilled some more at the conference room. It was a good day.

June 5th: We got to listen to Dr. Gao and Dr. Ngu to give us a little head start and refresh our minds with Computer Science lectures. Dr. Ngu also talked about correct research ethics. Who to acknowledge in the paper, How to paraphrase without taking credit as your own, how to get the resources, etc... It was very interesting just seeing how the research world works.

June 6th: This time, we got to hear Dr. Gao's, Dr. Ngu's, and Dr. Lu's research projects and what they are working on. Each of them are so passionate in what they do and really love working on these problems. They basically explained what problem they faced and tried to propose an effective way to BEAT that problem. But it's not as easy as it looks, it takes several days of reading LOTS of research papers and lots of brainstorming on how to tackle it. All of them are really good. I was not able to go to the MCPS lectures though (3 research presentations was good enough for me, do not need 5 more).

June 7th: Daniel and I met up with our mentor and discussed her idea. We were gonna do a shape-based image retrieval, which is basically sketching a drawing and retrieving images based on what we draw.

This is my really bad drawing of what it would look like.


She then gave us 13 papers to read. I almost wanted to cry, but then this is part of what the Research Experience for Undergraduates is all about. Read. Lots. Of. Papers.

June 8th: Did some reading. It was a lot of papers than I am normally used to and it way quite hard to pick up the long articles quickly. around 5, the REU people went to the park and played some frisbee/soccer/tennis. We also got to have delicious BBQ to eat! Nathan and I was able to challenge Dr. Gu and Dr. Gao to a tennis match. Of course we won...they were no match for our youth. :P

Week 2: Did lots of research paper reading. Monday, only 1 paper. Tuesday, it got better (3 total). Wednesday, went to Intel. Thursday, 5 total. Friday, about 8 total.



July 1st, 2012


I'm back!

June 13th, 2012: All of us went to Intel at Austin! We learned about what they did in the company, how would one solve a certain problem in the most efficient way, and what innovation is all about! The entrance was really cool and all. Had a bunch of patents on one wall, and a brand new cafeteria where employees could chill.


Wall of patents!

They have their own gym, prayer room, and even a mother's nursing room (for children I presume). Intel gave us a small tour around their offices. They all live in cubicles. But they do have a room where they hang out! There was a TV and a small kitchen with a sofa as well! Next, we went to the lab where they perform microsurgery on their chips, which makes them so small with so much power! All the equipment cost at least a million each. You can see how much they invest on their product and research. Overall, it was a nice place. I even got to drink some coffee! The building overall was very nice and modern. All the employees looked very happy.

Happy Employees! (Assuming the people in the poster are employees, not models)


Week 3: This week was a very hard week for me. I had to write an interface of the shape-image retrieval by this week. I was never really good at Computer Science, and I was still learning what it means to be a researcher. Most of the time, I would just look at the code and have absolutely no idea what to do. I found it boring and became unmotivated. I wasn't doing my best. My partner became frustrated and I felt like I did not even belong in this program in the first place. I was about ready to give up. After talking with a few of my friends and Dr. Lu, they found out that I was experiencing all of this because I did not give me all. How can I know that I can't do it unless I even take that step to try? It really helped me when talking to Dr. Lu. She continued to encourage me to just go for it and do it myself. That is part of what the research experience is! So, a BIG shout out to my mentor, Dr. Lu for being there when I was at my lowest point and never giving up on me.

Week 4: Working on the project yet again. Trying my hardest of course.



June 26th, 2012: SWRI Visit!

Went to San Antonio and went in the middle of nowhere! Well it seemed that way when we got there. It was almost like a mini campus for researchers. South West Research Institute's (SWRI) sole purpose to get research work done. Some government projects, and some businesses. Whatever it is, they wanna research and solve a problem as best they can. The employees there totally enjoy it, too! There was so many projects they do each year. From cave exploring techniques to building a huge robot to paint the outside of the plane with LASERS! YES! LASERS! it was fascinating. We then had a panel discussion about what they do and how the do research, etc. I'll let the pictures do the talking.


SWRI Campus is huge, but it's also a very beautiful campus.

Me and the famous Driverless SWRI car!!!!!!!!

June 27th, 2012: Got to go to IBM! There was a guy from the Human Resources that talked a little about what their company is all about. "Our vision is to pursue excellence" I feel like that's the vision for every company though. Anyways, they took us to one of their labs and showed us how they worked on their wafers. It was pretty interesting. They also have high-speed probes that costed $50,000 each! Expensive! Then we had some guy talk to us about how they do research. We ate some pizza and talked with a few of their employees as we ate. We talked with one of the oldest members of IBM and he gave us cards to Destination Z, some website he made. We made good use of his cards (you'll see later). The tour for their servers was probably the most interesting though. They were basically super computers 16 32GB memory speed!! running about 5GHz per chip! AMAZING! I really enjoyed IBM a lot. probably my favorite out of the three trips. More pics for your view pleasures!

IBM Visit!

"Our vision is to pursue excellence. Isn't that excellent?"

Shiny wafers and autographed PS3. Yep, IBM made the chip for the PS3!

Some guy gave us some cards. I made sure to make good use of those cards.


Delicious, loud servers.

They were explaining how the servers worked. I made sure they worked (hence the thumbs up).

July 27th, 2012


Why, hello there! I'm back! after 26 days of RESEARCHIN'! We JUST had our third presentation 3 hours ago. It went better than expected, though we still have a lot of work to cover! between July 1st and now, many things have happened. Sit down, relax, and read about the life of Loren Lin.

July 6th, 2012: Our second presentation! I was kinda bummed out from my presentation because I was not able to finish the interface and even give a small demonstration of it. Everyone else's was good. fun stuff.

July 11th, 2012: We were able to have a guest lecture by Ms. Romanella. She basically talked about what it takes to get into graduate school, what kind of things you should expect before you apply and after you apply, and the whole process about graduate school. I was one of the few who was not interested in going to grad school, but there was a lot of other students in the program super interested in attending graduate school.

July 13th, 2012: We had another guest lecture by Dr. Caverlee! He was pretty interesting and talked about some of the projects he was working at A&M. he made some jokes about Longhorns, but we still know Aggies are still scrubs (JK AGGIES <3 YOU GUYS!) Hook'em HORNS!
anyways, he talked about how he acquired data from the social media such as twitter, facebook, instagram, etc in order to locate events like earthquakes or tsunamis. And ways to determine what is bad data, like twitter has lots of spambots, so how they figure out what is a spam account and remove it (such as repeating same tweet, repeating in same intervals, etc) All in all, he was a great speaker. hopefully next year's REU will get to hear him speak.

July 20th, 2012: Research presentation skills workshop. Dr. Ngu teaches us how to present your research presentation skills well. and how the evaluaters determine how well you present it!

July 2nd, 2012 - July 27th, 2012: lots of figuring out how to make the best interface. We stuck with one of the post-docs interface code (Wengang) and tried to build on that. Later, Daniel and I collaborated to make the search indexing to work and to display results on the interface. We still have some bugs with the sketching. 
One bug I fixed was sketching on the sketching area would record only every few points, leaving a lot of space in the points, therefore not able to determine the theta. What I was able to do was fill the those points so we could have each pixel data! I WAS SO HAPPY WHEN IT WORKED! YAHOOO!!!!!

I think around July 19th - 20th, there was so much frustration going on because I was not getting out results and I was too slow. At this point, I even thought that Computer Science wasn't something I should be doing. Senior year, almost done with CS, and I thought about quitting the major. Do a liberal arts major or something. Even thought about quitting the REU program. Then what I realized was that I was being bitter to what I was doing and wanted to give up and do something easier. That was wrong of me. It never occurred to me that I should've just worked a little more harder. Just try coding a little big more. And then see how you do. So after figuring that problem out, I thought, "hey, cs aint so bad!" That's why I was so happy! After a tough week and almost giving up, I was able to tough it out and make it work! I really appreciate Dr. Lu, even when I can be most frustrating to her, that she still stuck with me and believed I could still do something for this project. Even when the other people said, "dismiss him," she said, "NO! I'm giving him another chance." Even when I thought, "i'm useless," she said, "you're here to learn, not to be useful. just work your best and you'll have no regrets." Through her perseverance, I have grown and learned so much about myself.

Thanks again, Dr. Lu for being my mentor. I could not ask for anything more than what you have done for me. I'm extremely blessed that you're my mentor and so lucky that you chose me. THANK YOU DR. LU!!!!!!!!!

July 28th, 2012

We are working on debugging our interface stuff right now. Adding just a few functions and seeing if there are any more problems that arise. It is a bummer that I'm working on a Saturday, but it's fine. 1 more week left, then it's over! Not sure if I'm happy cause it's almost over, or sad since I will leave all my friends here. Very confused now... I'll try to lean to the more optimistic side. :)

July 30th, 2012

Attempting to make the poster. Keyword "attempting"; meaning trying to do it, but doing it way too slow...

August 1st, 2012

Almost done with my poster design! So close to home! As I was making it, my friends decided to hack my blog and strikethrough, bold, and underline my whole blog. It's a pain, but I fixed it... Hope they don't do it again.

August 6th, 2012

it's been a while but the last day of this research was August 2nd. The night before, we did crunch time. I designed the poster and made it look nice and neat. Then we all printed it out and cut them. pasted each paper very carefully to the poster.

The next day: PRESENTATION DAY! Everyone had great presentations and looked great! We had 3 judges come look at our project and ask us about what we did. Daniel was pretty good at explaining. Couldn't have done it any better! Then I introduced them to the interface. They were really impressed, as was the rest of the REU students there! In the end they did project awards, and we ended up winning! Hooray! Thanks everyone for your support! it's been a great summer here!

Working on our project

Giving you a preview of my poster! With my T-shirt over my dress shirt.

Certificate of AWESOMENESS!

Loren Lin

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." ~Jeremiah 29:11

Last Updated (Sunday, 19 August 2012 18:35)