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Dave Henry
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About These Notes
These notes provide a way for the author to get out some of the things that are stuck in his head. By doing so, you, the reader, are not only provided a glimpse into what it's like inside Dave's head, but also given an opportunity to contribute to it.

October 2009
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Dave Henry [userpic]
MIT Update and ask for help

It's been a while since I revealed the Secret Plan, and I figured that some of you are probably wondering, "So what's Dave's status with MIT?"

That, plus I could use some help.

Ironically, the fate of my re-admission to MIT is being determined by an anonymous group, known only to me as "The Committee". The Committee has decided that, before they allow me back into a degree program, they'd like to see how I perform in an academic setting -- just elsewhere. Course VI (EECS (the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department)) has more or less said, "as far as we're concerned, if there was a course you could take here that started tomorrow, we'd camp out overnight in order to reserve you a front row seat."

Now, I can understand the Course VI point of view on this. I am, after all, an accomplished Geek who speaks nearly fluent Human, and, once in a while, has been known to pass as Human (briefly (in the right lighting)) while maintaining my Geek sensibilities. Plus, I'm just generally a good guy to have around.

On the other hand, if I'm willing to be objective, I can also understand The Committee's point of view. It has been.... (let's see: it's now June of 2008, and I was last in an actual class at MIT in December of 1986, so that means...) well, let's just say it's been a while.

So I understand that they not only want to ensure that I'm serious about this, but that they don't want to see me set myself up for failure by going back in before I'm ready.

That said, it's a little annoying. You see, 6.01 (the Institute Lab course that is a foundation to any Course VI degree) is only offered in the Fall. So that means that if I don't want to delay things for another year, I need to find, take, and pass with at least a B grade two courses this summer.

Oh, yes, 2. (I'd mentioned 2, right? I meant to say 2....) You see, The Committee would like to see my performance in courses, not in a course.

So, here's the part where I ask for help.

I need help finding, local to the Boston/Worcester area, summer courses that teach:

  1. Something equivalent to 18.06 (that's Linear Algebra to you folks who went someplace that likes words better than numbers).
  2. The python programming language.

The thoughts being that:
  1. 18.06 is a prerequisite for the degree I'm going for and although Course VI won't accept transfer credit from other schools, Course XVIII (the Mathematics department) will.
  2. Apparently knowledge of python will prove useful in other courses, and they aren't going to let me get away with taking a course in a language I've coded in previously.

So, please, if anyone can help me find courses that meet either of the above criteria, or can point me in the direction of something that will help narrow my search, I will not only award a Bonus Point, but also put you on the Dave's Graduation Party Planning Committee (plus, I'll be, like, all really, really thankful and stuff).



Yikes, two courses this summer on short notice! I'm not going to be much help but good luck finding something that works.

(I don't think I was with-it enough to comment on the original post, but a BIG Kudos! to you and your determination. Finishing is HUGE. Go Go Secret Plan! :-)


Secret Plan Good. :-)

Tufts appears to have a linear algebra course in the second half of their summer session. Their summer CS selection is pretty thin, though.

Do you have a link to the Tufts course, or was it pretty easy to find from their main page?

Does this link work for you?

It works beautifully, thank you.

Harvard Extension? BU Extension? Cambridge College?

That's in descending amount of money, I believe

For the summer, it's not Harvard Extension, it's Harvard Summer School, which means classes are (a) harder and (b) three times as expensive.

If I'm really going to do this (and it's starting to look more and more like I am), then the "harder" part is less of a problem. The "three times as expensive" part, on the other hand remains a pain in my butt.

Another difference between Harvard Summer School and Extension School is that most Summer School classes are daytime (all Extension classes are evenings). (As if you didn't already have enough reasons to forget about Harvard.)

Coincidentally enough I actually ran into Robert Winters (the professor for the Harvard linear algebra class) today, and asked him if he knew of any other linear algebra classes in the Greater Boston area that run in the summer but haven't started yet, but no, he doesn't.

No idea when it runs, but here's a heavy duty 8 week linear algebra course at Harvard. I'm pretty sure it's more than you need for 18.06.


Harvard's summer session started the day before yesterday. There are short session classes that run 7/21-8/15, but I don't think any of them are what you're looking for.

Late registration runs through the day after tomorrow, and would add a $100 late fee to the $2350 cost for the class.

(Robert Winters is a pretty good teacher.)

I think you'd do fine at any school, so maybe the criteria should include "convenient location". I mean, I would think of places on the T, but for you, maybe driving to Northeastern's night school campus in the suburbs (Burlington maybe?) would be a lot less hassle than coming into Harvard Square.
Alternatively, if the Committee was up for it, you could propose some kind of independent study/distance learning thing, like University of Phoenix or Western Governor's school, which would probably have a flexible schedule and allow you to cram two courses into it. I know some people look down their noses at distance learning, but I think it's really come a long way and is pretty reputable these days.

Distance Learning

MIT has/had an initiative to put their course work up on the web, so they may be more sympathetic to distance learning kinds of things.

Re: Distance Learning

MIT's done a great job with making academic material available to all by putting all their coursework up on teh Intarwebs. However, they offer no chance at actual MIT academic credit for any of their web stuff.

Also, as I mentioned in my reply to nuclearpolymer, in my case they're specifically interested in seeing proof of my ability to perform in a classroom situation.

Sadly, in this particular case, they're specifically looking for more "traditional" classroom experience. Everything work-related learning I've done the past 20+ years has all been independent study, and I was a member of ESG my first time around at MIT, so they are already convinced I can do well under those circumstances. They're looking for proof that I can work well in a classroom, too.

At UMass-Lowell:
92.221 Linear Algebra I
Elementary set theory and solution sets of systems of linear equations. An introduction to proofs and the axiomatic methods through a study of the vector space axioms. Linear analytic geometry. Linear dependence and independence, subspaces, basis. Inner products. Matrix algebra. Applications of the above will also be discussed.
Prerequisites: 92.225 and 92.321 or permission of Coordinator

90.320 Shell Scripting Using Linux
This course will look at the theory and practice of scripting languages through a detailed study of two- the bash shell language and the Python graphical scripting language. While these languages are different in form and execution we'll discover the similarities and give you the skills to more easily pick up other popular languages such as TCL/TK, PHP and many more. The student will discover the techniques learned may also improve their skills with compiled languages like C and C++.

Neither one shows up on their summer listing, but then -- as far as I can tell, NO courses are showing up on their summer listing. Summer Session II appears to start on July 7.

Oh, here's the list of summer courses:

Neither of the courses I found (in the general listing) appear to be offered this summer. Sorry.

Neither of the courses I found (in the general listing) appear to be offered this summer.

Naturally. :-/

Too bad, UMass Lowell's just about ideal as far as convenient locations go. I'll try calling them and see if those courses might be available some other time.


BU's Summer II session starts monday. They have a linear alegebra class for $2K:


No python there though

Have you tried asking whether you could take two classes at MIT in the fall with some kind of special student status and then apply to be in a degree program in the spring? Or were they specific about wanting you to go elsewhere?

A few more unhelpful comments: Brandeis' summer session 2 hasn't started yet, but I don't think they have the classes you want http://www.brandeis.edu/summer/courses/offerings.php?programid=15

Bentley College offers "Matrix Algebra with Applications" but nothing helpful in the CS realm. However, they do have an undergraduate evening program so if you could find two classes maybe the scheduling would at least be better. http://www.bentley.edu/registrar/schedule/listing.cfm?term_code=200807&div_code=E

Babson doesn't look like they have anything useful at all.

Anyway, good luck and sorry to not be of more help.