I tear my eyes away from the screen to look at my clock. 2:30 AM. Damn, later than I thought. I glanced at my roommate in his bunk, gently snoring as he had been for the past several hours. Must feel good to be a physics major.
My monitor attracts my attention again, and I turn back to the project at hand. A grey window sits in the center of the screen, saying simply
The instruction at “0x00402612” referenced memory at “0xcccccccc”. The memory could not be “read”.
It didn’t go away. I’d been over the code what seemed like 100 times. The pad of paper to my left that had my notes was filled with abstract trees filled with numbers, letters and hexadecimal memory addresses. I had started right after dinner, the night before it was due. Shruti did also, and she told me she was done at around 11:00. I asked how she had done the problem, and she said that she used a matrix. It was fast, efficient, and it worked. She said goodnight and I started working again, trying to figure out why my trees didn’t like to grow past being decrepit stumps.
I was using a vector to store inputted values and then quick sorting the contents. Once quick sorted, I made an array of 0 depth binary trees and then went through the sorted list adding elements together dynamically into an ever growing single binary tree. Once done I planned on an in-order traversal to get the final list.
A fucking matrix.
3:40 AM: Restate my assumptions. The easiest way to do a problem rarely impresses anyone. I know my way works. I know it in my head, on the paper, but not on the screen. I have had every error you can imagine, even one that said “Internal error 42167: Contact Microsoft technical support or reinstall Visual Studio”. Unfazed I kept on, not flinching in my goal of combining 6 different chapters into one beautiful and fluid program.
The extent of this complication force on my life is great, to the point my friends have come up with a term for what I do, when I complicate a problem: Baconize.
I turned on some low techno, even though it could have been loud, Dave wouldn’t have noticed. Turning back to my computer screen, my head filled with vectors and nodes, and I continued into hour 11 of what turned out to be an 18 hour project. I continue to remind myself that I’m just a freshman, and that it’s downhill from here . . .