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William Rosenfeld

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  • 1 review
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The scope and depth of the class were outstanding and addressed a timely area of interest for IT professionals. Professor Shroff's presentations were well organized, simplified complex material, and interesting to follow. I learned a lot that makes me a better practitioner and improved my understanding of how the world of Amazon, Google, and NSA work. Several suggestions that would have made a good experience awesome: The lectures spent a lot of time using relatively complex mathematics to prove theoretical underpinnings of the techniques covered. I would have gotten much more from the lectures if they provided less formality and more worked examples, showing how to apply the techniques. Potential students should be prepared with strong math, particularly, probability, skills. Each of the homework problems was interesting and well conceived but lacking adequate direction. The discussion board back-filled in many cases but, for example, I didn't benefit from the several hours I spent learning that Mincemeat needs to be patched to deal with UTF-8. A simple note to that effect would not have reduced my learning of map- reduce but would have eliminated substantial frustration. The Distributed File System and NoSQL database sections were of prime interest to me but were given relatively little attention. Expanding coverage of these key technologies and including a homework problem would be be great (assuming that lightweight tools are available). The two guest lectures wasted 20% of the lecture time for me. The topics were obtuse / theoretical, the speakers hard to understand, and their practice of addressing questions from the live audience, which we couldn't hear, was maddening. A process to allow discussion of homework by those that have completed it would be helpful in fully leveraging the learning. I spent substantial time beyond the minimum on the homeworks and would like to have discussed my questions and results. A forum section that could only be entered after completing the homework would address this need.