ArpitGarg's Weblog

An opinion of the world around me

Posts Tagged ‘iit

HRD Ministry: Please Spare the IITs and their Academicians

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iit_hrdPlease HRD Ministry, hands off IIT’s. There is so much wrong with our education system, specially the school system. Government schools are in pathetic state. No one but the poorest of the poor send their children to these schools, that too due to helplessness. Better concentrate your energy there.

The reports about your interference in IIT’s academic functioning are disturbing. Recent incident about you asking IIT dean to reconsider decision to cancel a PhD student’s admission is unbecoming. You might justify yourself with the best of oratorical strengths that you possess, but we are in no mood for that. Admission is sacrosanct to college administration and it’s wrong to meddle with that.

Going by history, I know what you would say minister. A letter came to me and I just forwarded it for redressal. Why add a point to put the matter before its Board of Governors for “suitable verification/redressal? Why not request dean/director to look if the complain had any merit?

Wording of your letter amounts to interference and you know that very well. I would urge you not to upset the already less in number teaching community in premier institutes. There people have given plush careers in foreign universities for their nation. These are true patriots and want nothing in return. There are silent contributors to nation building. They have put their blood into the foundations of IIT’s. Don’t upset them.

You know most of our Profs, the deans, and the directors have spent almost all their lives inside educational institutes, studying and teaching. They are not what you would call socially active beings. They are uncorrupted by this world and its vices. Any student who has gone through IIT’s will stipulate to this; we in fact used to make fun of our faculties for this very trait.

They just do what is the right for students and institute. If they found merit in canceling the admission to a student due to issue with the details provided, they are entitled to it. Let the student fight it out in the court. If you feel student has been wronged, provide student with all legal help, but stop writing such letters to deans of our alma maters.

I would for sure listen to what you have to say, but only after you improve the Govt. school system in our country. I don’t want to be personal, but I would listen to you minister once you are comfortable sending your own children to a Govt. school. Maybe then you would have earn some right to write such letter to the Deans, deans who have give their youth, their life, their luxuries for our nation.

Written by arpitgarg

October 28, 2015 at 1:15 pm

Study in US: A new Reality

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I was talking to few of my friends who are pursuing Phd from US or have applied this year. The number of calls has become less with surprising number of rejects coming in. The situation seems grim.

Let me explain a bit. Every year Indian students apply for MS (Masters)/Phd in foreign universities (prominently US). Seats are offered to select students, often with scholarships. In case of IIT students, mostly, entire tuition fees is remitted. They are also paid stipend based on TA (Teaching Assistant) and RA (Research Assistant) work they do.

Due to the recession in recent times, universities have to cope up with reduced federal and private funding. They are no longer able to support large number of scholarship students. Coupled with the new protectionist approach of US, immigrant students feel no longer welcome, the way they were some time back.

Students need to submit a SOP (Statement Of Purpose) letter along with their admission form. They explain their education, expertise, research preference and the need for scholarship. I have seen a number of SOP’s and the end paragraph is full of blatant begs. “Coming from a poor country…I don’t have means to sustain the education fees…I am from an underdeveloped part of the world”, and more such lines.

For those who might consider me a skeptic, I want to stress that its not like a one way street. Universities also get to choose brilliant students who do research work ample times more than the money invested in. There is another side to it too. A bit harsh though.

The funda of scholarships was based on uplifting the poor. India was always perceived as full of talent. “The students don’t have money but they are brilliant, let’s help them and our research will prosper in return.” During last 25 years or so we have seen some path breaking work done by Indians in the US.

Past 5-10 years or so have seen an unparalleled growth in India. A new kind of generation has arrived which takes a new sense of pride in its country. No ruing the administration but striving towards change. This generation is Globally aware. Studying in US or going to London for a holiday is no longer the ultimate dream. The quantum of this generation is less but the impact is huge. This generation has IPL, the multi billion dollar cricket league, it stands up against racism in Australia, it voices against Ganesha on Chappals.

Here comes the catch. We no longer consider ourselves inferior. We have bred an arrogance on the likes of US, UK and Aus. Still we continue with the same set of SOP’s. How long can this work?

Lets see from the point of view of US citizens. They see Mumbai. They see Indians standing up for themselves. It is difficult for their Govt to explain spending money on students from such  a rapidly growing economy. There is also a lesser moral satisfaction to this philanthropic deed. Would be logical if they moved to poorer countries of Africa. Indians are also waking up to this new reality. I have seen a lot of people now applying for MS/Phd procuring bank loans.

Growth is restrained by this logical tool. The more you grow, the lesser is the growth rate, coz the competition is higher at the top, where the charity stops.

Chatur Speech in Hindi: 3 Idiots

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आदरणीय सभापति महोदय, अतिथि विशेष शिक्षण मंत्री श्री आर. डी. त्रिपति [त्रिपाठी] जी, माननीय शिक्षकगण और मेरे पियारे [प्यारे] सहपतियो [सहपाठियों]| आज अगर I.C.E आसमान की बुलांदियो [बुलंदियों] को छू राहा [रहा] है, तो उसका श्रेय सिर्रफ [सिर्फ] एकिंसान [एक इंसान] को जाता है, श्री वीरू सहस्त्र बुद्धे| Give him a a big hand . He is a great guy really .

पिछले बत्तीस साल से इन्होने निरंतर इस कॉलेज में बलत्कार [बलात्कार] पे बलत्कार किये, उम्मीद है आगे बी [भी] करते रहेगे [रहेंगे ]| हमें तो आश्चर्य होता है कि एक इंसान अपने जीवन काल में इतनी बलत्कार कैसी कर सकता है| इन्होने कड़ी तपस्या से अपने आपको इस काबिल बुनाया [बनाया ] है| वक़्त का सही उपयोग, घंटे का पूर्ण इस्तेमाल कोई इनसे सीके [सीखे ]| सीके, इनसे सीके| आज हम सब छात्र यहाँ हैं, कल देश-विदेश में फेल [फैल] जायेंगे| वादा है आपसे जिस देश में होंगे वहां बलत्कार करेंगे| I.C.E का नाम रोशन करेंगे| दिका [दिखा] देंगे सबको जो बलत्कार करने की शमता यहाँ के छात्रों में है वो संसार के किसी छात्रों में नहीं| No other छात्र,  No other छात्र|

आदरणीय मंत्रीजी नमस्कार, आपने इस संस्थान को वो चीस [चीज़] दी जिसकी हमें सख्त ज़रुरत थी| स्तन! स्तन होता सबी [सभी] के पास है, सब छुपा के रकते है, देता कोई नई [नहीं]| आपने अपना स्तन इस बलत्कारी पुरुष के हाथ में दिया है| अब देकिये यह कैसा इसका उपयोग करता है|

इस स्वर्ण अवसर पर एक श्लोक याद आ रहे है…

उत्तमम दधददात पादम,
मध्यम पादम थुचुक थुचुक,
घनिष्ठः थुड़थुडी पादम,
सुरसुरी प्राण घातकम|

Written by arpitgarg

January 7, 2010 at 3:12 pm

Lyrics (Hindi): Jeene Do, 3 Idiots

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Once in a while you hear a song that makes you nostalgic. Well this one does. Took me back to the inter hostel singing competitions. Don’t know where this song will be inserted in the movie. I would like it to be a stage performance by the college band.  Let me live, at least for a moment. This is to the society which takes the childhood away.

सारी उम्र हम,
मर मर के जी लिए,
एक पल तो अब हमें,
जीने दो…जीने दो – ३

Na Na Na Na
Na Na Na Na Na Na

Give Me Some Sunshine,
Give Me Some Rain,
Give Me Another Chance,
I Wanna Grow Up Once Again.  – 2

कन्धों को किताबों के बोझ ने झुकाया,
रिश्वत देना तो खुद पापा ने सिखाया,
99% Marks लाओगे तो घड़ी वरना छड़ी,

लिख लिख कर पड़ा हथेली पर,
Alpha, Beta, Gamma का छाला,
Concentrated H2SO4 ने पूरा,
पूरा बचपन जला डाला,

बचपन तो गया,
जवानी भी गयी,
एक पल तो अब हमें,
जीने दो जीने  दो – २

सारी उम्र हम,
मर मर के जी लिए,
एक पल तो अब हमें,
जीने दो…जीने दो,

Na Na Na Na
Na Na Na Na Na Na

Give Me Some Sunshine,
Give Me Some Rain,
Give Me Another Chance,
I Wanna Grow Up Once Again.  – 2

Na Na Na Na
Na Na Na Na Na Na

Written by arpitgarg

November 17, 2009 at 2:30 pm

Changes and Phases

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It’s been a long break from blogging. I haven’t been all that busy to tell you the truth. It’s just that the urge to put my thoughts together was missing of late. In fact I was afraid to.

We encounter various circumstances in life. Some of them were never even wished for. Things move and we suddenly find ourselves trying hard to row against the tide of this rapid change. Not everyone is apt enough to handle it. Initially we try and ignore things, up to the point that they are right into our faces. Whereby we experience an outburst followed by rescinding into a shell.

I am sure everyone has faced such times in their life. At least I have.  They used to be frequent during college when the process of learning about life probably started. Before was just a mad race to the top whence there was no time to stop and think. I have faced it again during my newly started professional life. However I find it a bit different this time. Specially in terms of rebound time.

College life, that too in an IIT, gives you full control over your public appearances. You can forego classes for some time before being missed. You need to write the exams though. One could easily lock himself up in the room, coming out when and where he wants to. This aids the recovery process. One needs some time alone to come to grasp with his own insecurities and internal emotional churnings.

What happens during the professional life is that one has to go to office daily, no choice there. He has to meet people daily. One couldn’t possibly get the long away time to reflect on oneself and hence the rebound takes longer.

Now after a few weeks I feel at peace with myself al over again. As per the reasons to the dull phase, when the initial excitement of a new city, a new job, dies down, the reality of accepting it as our own, a routine strikes us. We need some time to settle down. These are the common symptoms among the migrant workers such as me who are born in one place, study elsewhere and work some where else. Here I would like to mention the city of Mumbai. The accepting cosmopolitan nature of this city has helped me a lot in adjusting to the new surroundings. It grows on you slowly. Give it some time and you will fall in love with it. I feel me again, till the next bout of course.

Written by arpitgarg

November 10, 2009 at 10:00 am

Confusingly Chaotic

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During the college farewell, a batch mate of mine asked, “So, where do you see yourself, 10 years from now?” I did what I do best, excuse myself with the sheepish smile. I never had to answer myself this question before. I mean I did schooling coz everybody do. There was no vision or so called planning that went into it. I went for JEE coz that’s what was “the hottest” at the given time. I opted for Computers for no other reason.

I remember a discussion with friends over dinner, “Why they opted for the particular engineering stream?” For most of them the criteria was Rank. I mean come ‘on, if 80 out of top 100 rankers (and more) are opting for Computer Science, that doesn’t mean all of them have such deep interest in it that they would have perished without it Or that the ones who didn’t get it were never interested in it. So let’s get one thing into perspective. What your interests are doesn’t matter during the cut throat competition in a developing world.

I took the job hoping to rise up the ladder along the normal path. As it was about to happen, the elastic snapped. The economic bubble burst and the condition of uncertainty in jobs might have led to the current thought process. Did I really want to be a software developer when I grew up? Was that my dream? If no then am I doing what I never wanted to, 5 days a week 9 hours a day, just to enjoy the weekends of my life. Has my life contracted to mere weekends?

This takes me back to the concept of civilized living. When was the concept of “work” proposed? Who proposed it? Why we followed it? We live on a spherical ball, don’t know where are we coming from, don’t know what’s inside the sphere, what’s outside the view. Just going on working through the week to enjoy the weekends. Working through our youth to enjoy the old age. Something doesn’t seem right. The concept seems flawed. It’s too mechanic, too un-human.

Maybe it’s this mechanics in our life that lead us to a peaceful timely death. Or the chaos would have had us much before.

Written by arpitgarg

January 27, 2009 at 10:59 am

Tring…Tring…are you an idiot?

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I received this call last week.

Caller: Hello, is this Hardhik Garg? not clear whether it was Hardhik or Karthik.
Me: May, I know who this is?
Caller: Hi, I am Shyamsundar. I am a pass out of IIT Guwahati. You are also from Guwahati naa Hardhik. I got your name and number from Satish Mittal. You might know him. He was from your batch.
Me: Arre, my name is Arpit. Yes, I know Satish.
Caller: Sorry Arpit. Actually I just talked to Satish over the phone. He was busy with a presentation. So couldn’t hear him clearly. By the way I am from ‘99 ECE batch.
Me: ’99 passout batch?
Caller: No ’99 joining batch. I passed out in ’03.
Me: Oh!
Caller: Yes, you and Satish would have joined a year later.
Me: Yes, exactly.
Caller: You might know Bora Sir, Gogoi Sir.
Me: Yes, I knew Bora Sir. Not remember about Gogoi Sir.
Caller: Well, I am in Mumbai right now. I came here with regard to my visa for Australia. I was travelling in local train when my wallet got lost.
Me: Oh God!
Caller: Yes and with it went all my cash, credit card, debit card.
Me: So you are out of cash right now. Guessing that’s why he had called.
Caller: Yes. That pretty much the case. I called Satish for help. He was busy in office. I know how it is. I myself was at Microsoft for over a year. So didn’t disturb him much. He gave me your number and asked me to contact you for help.
Me: Oh Ok
Caller: So where exactly are you in Mumbai?
Me: I am at my office in Powai area.
Caller: Oh! Near IITB. I have been there once during college.
Me: Ok. So where are you? How do you need help?
Caller: Sorry yaar. I guess I am not disturbing you.
Me: No problem at all.
Caller: I have just one debit card left with me. Fortunately, it was in the bag and not the wallet. It’s an old HDFC account. I haven’t used it recently, so it doesn’t have any balance right now.
Me: Yes listening.
Caller: Can you please deposit some money into this account. Would it be a problem?
Me: No. not at all. What’s your full name? Shaymsundar…
Caller: It’s S. Shaymsundar. I am from south.
Me: Oh. Ok. Yes go on.
Caller: My account number is XXXX. I will return your money as soon as I reach home.
Me: Oh. Ok. I haven’t received such calls before. Was not sure whether it was a crank call. How to be sure? Just then it struck to me. So which hostel were you in?
Caller: Oh! I didn’t live in hostel. My dad was … he told some Govt job, that I forgot in Guwahati. I used to live with my family in the city.
Me: Ok. You might know Ravi then. He was from your batch only. (Just made some name up to check).
Caller: No I don’t remember any Ravi. Which stream was he in?
Me: I don’t know exactly. Thought you might know. Well so bhaiyya (trying not to sound too questioning), who was the director at your time.
Caller: Oh! He was someone called Mohanty. You might not know him. (Caught you!!!)
Me: Yes, yes. So what is the sum you need?
Caller: Let’s see. I have to take a flight from here to Banglore. I would need 2-2.5K.
sounding hesitant and feeling sorry to disturb me I hope I am not troubling you any bit?
Me: Arre naa.
Caller: Is there any HDFC branch near you? You may check online for that.
Me: I think there is one branch nearby.
Caller: Oh. Thank God! So how long would it take?
Me: It should take me around 20 min to reach there.
Caller: So are you leaving right now?
Me: Don’t worry. I will leave immediately.
Caller: Thanks yaar. I would repay it on reaching Bangalore. I would like to meet you and Satish both when I return from Sydney. You guys are really helpful.
Me: Oh! No problem at all. After all you are our senior. This is the least we could do.
Caller: So. I’ll call you in half an hour.
Me: Yes, sure.

I called Satish. He whispered over the phone. He was in a presentation. I asked him does he know any Shyamsundar and had he given him my number. According to him, this guy called him some 15-20 minutes ago. Was not sure where he got his cell number. From orkut, perhaps. Forwarded the call to me, as he himself is busy. “Plz verify before doing anything”, were his words.

Well. I did leave immediately not for the Bank but for lunch. I went over the chinks in the story with my friends, to weigh the odds.

Chink 1: He was not able to tell the name of the hostel and made up some excuse. Plausible though, I must say.

Chink 2: There was no director by the name of Mohanty. GB Sir were there in our time and if he had passed in 2003, as he said he did, he should have known his name.

Chink 3: I would have understood if he needed some cash. But he needed money transferred into his account. Given internet (core) banking these days, he could as well have called his friends and family. They would have deposited money anywhere in India into his account.

Chink 4: Similar argument goes for the flight ticket to Bangalore. Any of his known one could have booked the ticket online. He just needed the PNR. Instead he went all pains to ask someone he didn’t knew even remotely.

Chink 5: The best part of it. The call was from a local landline number. I tried to call back but it was engaged. Probably a STD booth. So the guy didn’t have a cell number.

He called back and I told him that there is no HDFC bank in my vicinity. Better he call his friends and family to get a ticked booked online. Sorry that I could not help him. Looking forward to meeting him when he is back from Sydney.

Well, I still have his account number. (Based on real events)

Written by arpitgarg

September 9, 2008 at 1:23 pm

The Verdict: What it means

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They say the fight is over. Yet after two years of struggle nobody knows who the winner is? Perhaps the time will have to decide. Hon’ble Supreme Court of India have upheld 27% reservation for OBC’s in elite education institutes. Our HRD minister has called it an historic judgment, a verdict which has vindicated him. Opposing student unions have called on to revive the struggle. Different people: Different views. I would like to put to pen a couple of points which I deem quite intriguing.

  • Financial Burden on the Government

Moily committee report suggested increasing the seats in higher education institutes by 54%. This was to keep the number of general category seats intact. A huge financial burden was predicted. Lately we have seen an unprecedented hiking of the fees by IIM’s up to 250% with IIT’s soon to follow suite up to 100%. The increase in revenue generated from the tuition fees from general category students seems to compensate for the said financial burden for now (I don’t have the exact figures). The only financial burden that seems probable is by the setting up of new IITs, IIMs, which sure is an investment rather than an outright expenditure.

  • Keeping away the creamy layer

This term often intrigued me a bit. Time and again, I have tried to grasp the length and breadth of it. What I concur is that introducing this clause in the verdict seems a bit of a compromise between the Govt. and the SC. Contrary to the popular notion; it might not help in increasing the level of students being admitted via quota. Cutoffs will decrease further. No doubt about that. According to the belief among the intelligentsia it would at least help replacing the privileged duffers by the underprivileged strugglers.

I have used “duffers” as a general notion. It’s not that they have got no brains. It’s just that the urge to succeed seems lacking, when everything is catered to. Maybe the ones who are underprivileged would try a bit more than their privileged counterparts who were lacking a reason to.

  • Additive Reservation

You would find me an advocate of the reservation (not based on caste), as the affirmative action. What I strictly abhor is an additive one. Once propelled via reservation, why a subject be allowed to reap it time and again? Doing away with it would further help to distribute the resources equally among all needful. Most important of it all, it might motivate them enough to work hard at their first and only chance. The motivation might even help them outperform their general category colleagues, paving a path for doing away with the reservation in the long term.

  • Shape of the future struggle?

I remember representing IITG at a Youth for Equality meet during summer ’06 in Banglore (when govt. was about to present OBC reservation bill in monsoon session). I had an opportunity to interact with some of the socially ignited minds from AIIMS, JNU and other IIT’s. I chatted with personalities such as Mr. Khera and Mr. Agarwal (Supreme Court lawyer for the resistance), if I recollect well.

The picture I got was, most of them baring a few agreed to my viewpoint. All they were against was a caste based reservation and the creamy layer. In fact most of the budding leaders were quite sad that they were being labeled anti-reservationists. They said, “Its not anti-reservation pal, it’s a struggle against caste based reservation. Why isn’t it being called so?” Well this is media. It sell what sells.

Now that the creamy layer is out of the way, I don’t feel next phase of struggle would be that extreme (if not incensed by opposition, which seems highly unlikely).

Written by arpitgarg

April 16, 2008 at 4:53 pm

Dreaming again 3: Friends For Sale

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We had an unexpected break this Thursday. The lecture got cancelled (quite an anomaly!). Medical problem, I guess. It’s one hell of a problem in this side of the world, more so, if you are an outsider. I myself took time adjusting to the local weather, had to be medicated a couple of times. This takes me back a couple of years, when I snubbed the CMO, IITG. God! What a prig I was.

“…how to compute the probability…given the…we try to uncover the hidden part of the model…”

The nodding goes on as usual. Lata is sitting right in front of me or as they say I just came and sat right on the back of her. I tell you, I am losing charm in her overtime; her being married hasn’t helped much either. I think it’s finally over.

The Friends For Sale (FFS) application on Facebook is really making me crazy. When I meet someone new, I often find myself guessing how much he is worth.

“…we try to use optimality criterion to solve this problem as best as possible…”

Here comes champu and jj. Pucchu is not here yet. Today champu and I went to Prof. Ketaki. She is the instructor for our humanities course. It was about our presentation that is due.

“…model parameter is called the training sequence…”

Oops! Sir tried to peak into my writing.

I had one of the most satisfying talks with her. She sensed a bit of political sense in me from my mid-sem answer scripts. She talked about how not to lose sense of what we believe in and how we feel about it. “The whole world will try and take it away from you…but it’s so divine that it must be protected”. Her words are still ringing in my ears.

“…let N be the size of the code book. So we get the seq of vectors out of M diff. indexes”

Why is the attendance so low today? I can hardly count 15.

Where was I? Yes, champu. He is the sort of guy who keeps the group going. “Never let the fun die out”. Champu tried to peek into my diary. I gave him the finger.

“…to segment each of the word training sequence into stages and study the prob. Of the spectral vectors.”

God! I feel sleepy. It’s been 2 days now, I guess.

JJ and I finished working on a term paper recently. It dealt with DNA cryptography, such a novel idea. We have worked really hard on it. Hope it materializes.

It’s the purple suit and a brown hair clip today. Can’t I leave it already?

“…once the w-HMM’s recognition of an uttered unknown word is done using a solution to problem.. each word is modeled based upon the given test observation sequence…”

The FFS is engulfing like hell. I was just napping about it. God it’s great. I heard a remark about me sitting in this particular seat. I got the hint.

Champu sneezed, kido yawned while ld enjoyed the usual nap. FFS once again crossed my thoughts. Don’t call me crazy. If you think you don’t get addicted that easily, try it once.

Written by arpitgarg

April 1, 2008 at 11:42 am

Dreaming again 2: Profs, admin and acads

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It’s raining outside, mildly though. We are all here, attending the lecture. It’s just the rain but I often wonder if even a natural calamity would give you a day off here at IIT! Classes need to be at the prescheduled time come what may.

Here, most of the administrative work is handled by the faculty. And going by the general feeling, these academicians often find it too hot to handle. Their performance speaks for it! But when it comes to acads, they are right up there. Lectures take place on time. Exams are never postponed. Labs and presentations progress smoothly. This leads to the obvious question: Why? Why the performance of dean acads is bound to be far better than that of dean establishment (say)? Wait a sec, why am I treading this path anyway?

What’s the chit-chat between praji and jj? I guess it’s about some Sodhi girl. Don’t they have something else to talk about? Let me fool around a bit. Ha! I just gathered Kumar Sir’s attention by sneezing. Sitting beside me they both were caught in the act.

“…If you have 100’s of occurrences of the same word…its unlikely unless you put the same data…the next need for using vector quantization properly…”

What a disturbance. Kumar Sir just glared at me while I was trying hard not to chuckle. As he dictates a lemma let me gather my thoughts. By the way what the hell is a Markov model?

Let me put a few words about praji. As the name suggests he is a sardar. I tell you this coz there is a legend related to it. In the very first year, a quadruplet became very famous. “praji, gd, nappy and dinky. Theirs were an eat-drink-sleep together kind of a gang, nicknamed “Sardar Chaukdi”. The fun lie in the fact that dinky’s full name is rahul shetty. I just teased praji about that Sodhi girl. He is frowning quiet bad.

JJ requires a special mention for he has surprised us all once again. He flew back today morning. All this after he got us convinced that he won’t be back anytime before two weeks. Sometimes I think he likes to fool around with people and surprise them just for the fun of it.

“…obeying the standard stochastic constraints where probability…called an observable Markov model…”

Gullu just cracked one on me. It’s becoming increasingly hard to control the laughter.

That left me wondering as to why the row sum, in a stochastic matrix, should always be equal to one.

Written by arpitgarg

March 31, 2008 at 6:51 am

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