Computer Networks (CSC-364 2000S)

Responses to Questions and Comments from Introductory Survey

You may also want to look at my responses to questions from CSC105 and my responses to questions from CSC152.

As I write these answers, I sometimes wonder whether I've become less ``deep'' than I used to be. I guess kids just sap (something).


Where are your ancestors from?

Where are you from originally? (Like starting from your ancestors.)

I was born in Boston. My mother was born in NY and my father in NJ (on a commune in Stelton). Both grew up where they were born and then went to Chicago for college. Their parents were all born in Russia or Poland (or areas that tend to change hands). The only town name I know is "Bialistuk" (and I know I've spelled that incorrectly).

What do you want your children to do?

Would you like your son(s) to go into computers like you?

I'd like them to do whatever makes them happy (and, hopefully, earns them enough to live). William currently wants to be a "Doctor Professor Astronaut Archaeologist". We'll see what he really wants to do when he grows up. Jonathan isn't old enough to tell us what he wants to do.

What is your favorite word?

What's your favorite word in the English language?

I like ``defenestrate'' a lot, although I must admit that I learned it in Latin class. (Yes, it is an English word.)

Having grown up in Boston, I must admit to being fond of the exclamation ``Wicket neat!''

At Chicago, The College instituted an event they called ``Kuviasungnerk''. I'm proud to say that I convinced many fellow students that it is an Eskimo word meaning ``Winter festival of the summer flowers''. In fact, it's a nonsense word The College invented.

What are your hobbies?

With kids, who has time for hobbies? Once upon a time, I used to spend a lot of my free time collecting recorded music (vinyl, magnetic plastic, coated aluminum) and cataloging my collection. However, I haven't cataloged anything I've bought since coming to Grinnell.

I also like to read. These days, I tend to read urban fantasy and popular scientific works.

What are your long-term goals?

This is both a personal and professional question, but I've put it in the personal section. As a parent, my primary goal is to raise healthy and happy kids. My general goal is to be able to do the things that I enjoy. I enjoy teaching, doing research, and interacting with students. In a slightly shorter term, my goal is to attain tenure at Grinnell so that I can keep doing the things that I enjoy.

What is your favorite restaurant in Chicago?

You assume that I was able to get out a lot in Chicago. We tended not to leave Hyde Park, so most of my answers are limited to there.

For fast food (at least fast food for omnivores), it's hard to beat Harold's Chicken Shack. We used to claim that ``When the gods on mount olympus get tired of nectar and ambrosia, they order out from Harold's''.

For mid-level coffee house atmosphere, I like the Medici on 57th. Good pizza, good coffee, great atmosphere, squeeze your own orange juice on Sundays.

I alternate between prefering Medici and Giordanos for deep-dish pizza.

My favorite Chinese restaurant in Chicago is Moon Palace.

What's the most powerful Macintosh system you currently use?

The G3 on my desk. I think we put 256 MB of RAM in it, and it has two monitors. I'll admit that I don't remember the processor speed.


Why did you choose to go into computers

I've always liked problem-solving. I found that I particularly liked the approach from computer science, which involves some nice abstractions, but also allows you to build things that actually do something.

Which colleges and univerities did you attend?

My last semester of high school, I went to Boston University. The primary reason was that it was the only way to get social security survivor's benefits in college.

As an undergraduate, I attended The College at The University of Chicago. I graduated from Chicago in three years (and one summer). I stayed at the UofC for graduate school. I taught at Dartmouth before coming here.

What was your undergraduate major?

My undergraduate degree is in mathematics. I was one of those students who did the absolute minimum for the degree in the field (Chicago has large distribution requirements, so that was somewhat understandable).

Why not industry?

I am curious why you haven't done much work in industry. I am guessing you not only enjoy teaching, but based on the number of publications you have that you enjoy being involved in research which allows you to publish. As someone who is going to graduate in computer science and being able to make a good deal of money, but who also has a strong interest in academia, both in computer science and other areas, and has thought about trying to teach at the college level someday, what advice can you give me?

You're correct that I really enjoy teaching, and that's probably the primary reason I'm in academia rather than industry. I must admit that I also like the consistency of academia (I may always be under stress, but it's always the same stress) and the security (once I have tenure, they're more or less stuck with me). I also very much enjoy working with students. My salary, while small by industrial standards, is still quite comfortable, and I know many folks in academic CS who supplement their salaries with consulting.

You'll have to wait on the advice. Remind me if I don't give it.

Why do you teach at Grinnell?

Good students, good colleagues, close student-faculty interaction, good support. I also like the ease with which faculty in multiple discplines mingle.

The Course

Why do you think K&R C is better than ANSI C?

I don't. I just know K&R C much better. There's also some temptation to prefer ``We don't have a formal language spec'' to ``We have a formal language spec, but it doesn't give an answer to every question''.

How do I get an A?

How much time should I spend every week if I (who had only 151 and 152) want to get an A from this class?

It depends on your abilities and the quality of your work time. I hope that students who work hard for about ten hours each week and think well about the subject matter should be able to get A's. My experience is that there is often little direct correlation between time spent on the class and grade received.


Thursday, 20 January 2000

Friday, 28 January 2000

Disclaimer Often, these pages were created "on the fly" with little, if any, proofreading. Any or all of the information on the pages may be incorrect. Please contact me if you notice errors.

This page may be found at

Source text last modified Fri Jan 28 13:45:40 2000.

This page generated on Fri Jan 28 13:44:11 2000 by Siteweaver. Validate this page's HTML.

Contact our webmaster at