### Finally, we're getting somewhere.

So, i finally met the professor whom i've been stalking for almost 3 weeks now! I kept mailing the prof and swinging by his room, hoping that he'd be there. And last wednesday, i finally met him, Prof. HSR, a professor in the Elec Dept at IIT Madras. He's known to be a pundit on antenna design and simulations. When i started working on the radio astronomy project, as senior had asked me to contact him regarding any doubts and more fundamentally, the direction in which my project would head.

well, now that i've finally met him, i did get quite a few doubts cleared and know what i'm supposed to be doing in the coming months!

Apparently, as i suspected, the response function of the antenna or the gain from the antenna is frequency dependent and trying to deconvolute the signal (in the frequency spectrum) from the antenna without the proper response function is moot!

Also, in addition to the response function, the effective aperture of the antenna is also frequency dependent and we have to take this into effect as well when we're temporally deconvoluting the signal.

Simulating the radiation pattern will help us understand the effective aperture of the antenna and we need to similarly simulate the response function of the antenna as well.

These parameters will be different for different antenna designs like yagi-uda, half-wave dipoles etc. So, the next step of my project will be to try and decide on the best antenna architecture for my antenna so that i have good gain through my observation band.

And this is where we have one more twist.

There are certain antenna structures which will give us a frequency dependent response function i.e the gain from the antenna will be the same over a huuuge band, of the order of ~200MHz. They are rather hard to construct but once we take care of that, we have one less problem to worry about when we're dealing with the data.

Anyway, for now he has asked me to understand finite element method and it's use in simulating the radiation pattern of an antenna. i will have to understand the response function as well.

Along side, i am looking for a good low noise amplifier and i'm trying to compare my method of retrieving data from the antenna to the method mentioned in the radio jove manual.

It seems to be quite a bit of work.
And believe me it is...

Let's see how of it i get done this semester...

### Animation using GNUPlot

Animation using GNUPlotI've been trying to create an animation depicting a quasar spectrum moving across the 5 SDSS pass bands with respect to redshift. It is important to visualise what emission lines are moving in and out of bands to be able to understand the color-redshift plots and the changes in it.
I've tried doing this using the animate function in matplotlib, python but i wasn't able to make it work - meaning i worked on it for a couple of days and then i gave up, not having found solutions for my problems on the internet.
And then i came across this site, where the gunn-peterson trough and the lyman alpha forest have been depicted - in a beautiful manner. And this got me interested in using js and d3 to do the animations and make it dynamic - using sliders etc.
In the meanwhile, i thought i'd look up and see if there was a way to create animations in gnuplot and whoopdedoo, what do i find but nirvana!

In the image, you see 5 static curves and one dynam…

### on MOOCs.

For those of you who don't know, MOOC stands for Massively Open Online Course.

The internet is an awesome thing. It's making education free for all. Well, mostly free. But it's surprising at the width and depth of courses being offered online. And it looks like they are also having an impact on students, especially those from universities that are not top ranked. Students in all parts of the world can now get a first class education experience, thanks to courses offered by Stanford, MIT, Caltech, etc.

I'm talking about MOOCs because one of my new year resolutions is to take online courses, atleast 2 per semester (6 months). And I've chosen the following two courses on edX - Analyzing Big Data with Microsoft R Server and Data Science Essentials for now. I looked at courses on Coursera but I couldn't find any which was worthy and free. There are a lot more MOOC providers out there but let's start here. And I feel like the two courses are relevant to where I …

### On programmers.

I just watched this brilliant keynote today. It's a commentary on Programmers and the software development industry/ecosystem as a whole.

I am not going to give you a tl;dr version of the talk because it is a talk that I believe everyone should watch, that everyone should learn from. Instead, I am going to give my own parallel-ish views on programmers and programming.
As pointed out in the talk, there are mythical creatures in the software development industry who are revered as gods. Guido Van Rossum, the creator of Python, was given the title Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL). People flock around the creators of popular languages or libraries. They are god-like to most programmers and are treated like gods. By which, I mean to say, we assume they don't have flaws. That they are infallible. That they are perfect.
And alongside this belief in the infallibility of these Gods, we believe that they were born programmers. That programming is something that people are born wit…