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Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by vinay.emani) | Reply
That's the point. Any student will be able to code the Div2 250 after sufficient amount of practice. But as I said, most people are just too afraid to try.
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by shalinmangar) | Reply
In my first SRM, i could not solve a div2 250, too. I think after sufficient amount of practice, any student can code div2 250s with no trouble.
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by shalinmangar) | Reply
To add to shalinmangar's post. This problem is not limited to the just the centralised universities. I'm in a deemed university where the professors can make all the decisions they want to. My institute is regarded amongst the best in the country, but the situation is equally bad here. There are a few briliant students, and that is despite of the institute.

The worst example of this was my Design and Analysis of Algorithms Paper in the third year. The questions were directly about writing down some algorithms which had been done in the lectures, without the teacher or the students understanding the basic mechanism being followed. Though it was called Design and Analysis of Algorithms, it was more of Memorization of some standard algorithms.

Shalin's case seems better where students divide the work. Here we have those brilliant few coding, and their solutions being submitted by everyone. And in the practical examinations, we will have questions only from those exercises which we have done. So its just a question of memorizing the programs, and then typing them out.

The B.Tech projects which are such an important part of the course, students instead of working on them throughout the year, the work happens only in the week before the submission. (Yes, the week! Its not an exaggeration), and still everyone gets an AB (we have a 10 point system, starting from AA,AB,BB and so on). I have personally suffered from it the last semester, and at times did wonder how useful it was to have put in so much effort.

Somehow I don't agree with the fact that GPA co-relates with creativity. The best coders of my institute are 6-7 GPA types.
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by Insight) | Reply
I'm not sure about the students but a large part of the professors at my university would do very poorly in SRMs.
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by Insight) | Reply
I assure you it's quite true. I italicized the code in my post to mean that they sure can solve it but coding is another matter. Maybe I was exaggerating the situation a little but I am not saying this figuratively. I have organized programming contests in my college containing Div2 250s and Div2 500s and no team (two students in each) was able to get more than 3 250s in 3 hours. There were no successful solutions for the 500s. This has repeated itself three times.

The problem is not so simple to identify and correct. Given the huge amount of jobs in the Information Technology sector in India, any reasonably bright student with a college degree can land a reasonably paying job. Therefore, almost no students are willing to go for teaching as a career. Without good teachers who set and evaluate the exam papers, creativity cannot be fostered.

In my college's case, a central university drafts the syllabus and exam papers for all subjects. If these people set a test paper requiring creative answers, the answers would then need to be evaluated by people who have the time to understand and evaluate the answers we write. Given the shortage of such people and the huge amount of students in college this becomes extremely difficult. Hence the tests I write are reduced merely to creative writing competitions (yeah, I mean that literally) which are easy to grade since the evaluators can see how many pages you filled and they can spot the keywords easily.

Some of the faculty at my college are good but with the curriculum and test papers coming from the central university they don't have the freedom to change too many things. But they do foster programming skills by asking for assignments in code...to which most students divide the work among themselves and share the code.

In my college the students are placed in companies in their third year (junior year as the call it in the USA). After that, all they have to do is to maintain a certain level of marks till they graduate and start working where most companies like Infosys, Wipro etc have their own training period to teach them the things they need to do. So nobody tries hard in college because they can get a comfortable life without the effort. Everybody wants to work with companies like Google, Microsoft but they don't want to put in the required effort. It seems like they have just accepted their fate and I find that really disgusting. Again there are exceptions in people like me who are trying to break out of this but the going is not easy.
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by Insight) | Reply
But to be honest I suspect that it is not true. Given practice I think that most coders will be able to manage the Div2 250s.

Please, don't be that honest telling him that he is suspected! Moreover, if all coders are able to manage the Div2 250s, why there exists DIV2? Div2 250 point problem is the most important difference between div1 and div2.
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by mohamedafattah) | Reply
I guess what I really take issue with is the claim that "no correlation" exists. What I have tried to say is that, in my experience, I have never found that a 4.0 GPA has failed to predict creativity. As I said, it rarely has false positives. This almost immediately destroys the idea that there is no correllation, or that GPA has 'nothing to do with' creativity. Those are very strong claims, and I stand by my statement that "they are totally crazy".

I probably sound like I'm defending my GPA because I'm pointing out that my grades required creativity from me. I have no surer data than this direct experience.

It's a common misconception that Einstein didn't get good grades because his ideas we not accepted. Actually he had quite a respectable average, and was an imposing student, but had the tendency to be sidetracked by his own projects (he was quite distractable, you see, there's even a fairly recent suggestion from psychologists that he had ADD). Numerous bright individuals have missed straight A's due to bad luck, inattention, indifference, etc. etc.

It's just that in most serious programs (that I know of, anyway) creativity is required to make excellent marks, and anyone who manages to do so for every single course is very likely to possess some creative aptitude. Therefore, GPA has 'something to do with' creativity and problem solving. There is a correllation. And in fact, high grades appear to be a very good predictor of creativity. It appears that you have confused this fact with another one: low grades are not the best predictor of no creativity.

Too often I hear pronouncements that something has 'nothing to do with' this, or 'is because of that'. The truth is nearly always more complex.

Edit:

To shalinmangar -- is this true? Does the university faculty know this? It seems to represent an incredible failing of the system if this is so... my 12 year old brother can handle Div2 250s, and he's not paying for the education. Perhaps it might be a good idea to offer a wakeup call to the university, by recommending some kind of TC event to the faculty -- perhaps it will shock them into action. TopCoder is a fairly objective measure of a certain type of problem solving aptitude. Maybe it would be good for the universities to have faculty aware of their failings in this area.

But to be honest I suspect that it is not true. Given practice I think that most coders will be able to manage the Div2 250s.
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by Insight) | Reply
OK, that's right! But that means that All of those having 3.5 GPA need not to create anything in their projects because there are a lot of courses that does not need any creation. Moreover, those who had created something in their projects didn't necessarily get more than 3.5? If this doesn't sound correct, remeber all that countless courses as English Courses, Management Courses, Engineering Drawing. How often do you need to create an idea in such a course? Circuit Analysis course, which I prefer to make a computer program solving the exam for me? So, how GPA still be a measure of creativity?

By the way, it sounds you are defending your GPA. I am not accusing all those who made a high GPA by lack of creativity. Especially because I am one of them. ;) But I am trying to prove that there exists no correlation between the GPA, and creativity.

Much more, there are limitations of your creation in the university. There are boundaries that you should think of, in order to be acceptable. Einstein's ideas couldn't be accepted in his time, because of the old Newtonian physics. And he definitely did not get the 4.0 "your measure of creativity". But with just one and only one simple idea concerning Relativity, he could explain thousands of physical phenomena that had no comfortable expanation. However, that was not accepted and he did not get a Nobel Prize for his theory of Relativity. On the contrary, there are scientists who had no problems on getting a high GPA. As much as I remember, Heisenberg had always been ranked in his school / university.

Even in TopCoder, you are bounded by the Von Neumann architecture. Although one day another one can have his own working ideas that replaces that architecture.
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by Insight) | Reply
Believe me, it does really depend on the university. My class toppers will barely be able to code the Div2 250 within the 75 minutes and worst of all they are just too afraid to try. There are good universities and bad universities and I'm sorry to say that mine would fall among the latter ones.
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by mohamedafattah) | Reply
That is totally crazy.

We had an honors project, that did get graded, and quite strictly as well.

All of my upper level CS/Math classes required high levels of creativity to solve the bonus problems, which were basically required to get an A. There were interesting projects, where invariably the creative people would do well, and the dull people would do poorly, and they heard about it.

All of my upper level humanities classes required interesting thought and quality writing. I put a lot of work into each of them. When the papers came back I had a good discussion with the markers, who typically found my ideas to be thought-provoking and worthy of an A. The papers that bored him did not receive such a mark.

In my school, all the people in the honors class with a GPA over 3.7 received special recognition. I knew all of them very closely. Each one had written videogames, and plays music, and are incredibly lively and interesting to be around. They are creative people. They are all in grad school now.

At my school, creativity was required to get high grades. Maybe your school is different.
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by Insight) | Reply
Don't say it is a test of creativity. Those students who made 4.0 GPA needn't to create anything! GPA can not be a measure of creativity any way!
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by Krzysan) | Reply
I have to say that I've yet to meet anyone with a really formidable GPA that wasn't creative. They generally are really smart people.

I'm sure that high GPA, as a test for creativity, has plenty of false negatives, but I think as far as false positives are concerned it's probably not so bad.
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by dimkadimon) | Reply
I agree. GPA only measures your ability to do well in exams, to study hard, to memorize many things and reproduce them and to know what answer is expected from you. It DOES NOT measure your creativity or problem solving skills.

I guess it depends on the school.
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by dimkadimon) | Reply
I think people are misunderstanding what I said a GPA showed. It's not about smarts, it's about dedication. Of course, there exist teachers that will give you a B no matter what you do, but 90% of the time if you just try hard and are smart you'll get an A. Sometimes being smart is optional. Showing that you try hard, even on the classes you don't care about, shows something like Kawigi was talking about.
Re: What is the Benefit of going to University? Ask for same advise (response to post by mohamedafattah) | Reply
Yes! It is difficult to get a creative job and a job will sometimes make you do something that u don't like. I do some boring teaching to earn my living and then set problems to do something creative. These two have conflicting interests but I guess we must sacrifice to do something creative. If I try to impose my creative ideas to my students may be most of them will flee.
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