The End of a Dilapidated Assignment

Well, this is the end. Guess like the external motivator of homework was not enough to compel me to fully complete this assignment. After all, there were meatier assignments to finish on a weekly basis — and despite what people might think, writing good, engaging blogs is very hard. Phrased another way, at least the conspiracy theory that this is all some marketing ploy, which underlines the theme for these blogs, could not have been realized on my watch.

The last week was a discussion about the hashtable and Python method quirks (well it was called aliases but they’re pretty much little quirks of the language itself). The discussion on the hashtable was by far the most interesting topic in the entire course, as it was a hands-on implementation in which is seldom discussed outside. Trees and linked lists are fairly standard topics, and programming quirks is the more easily searchable of the four concepts. So, they will be ignored.

A visual representation of a hashtable, copied from Wikipedia user Jorge Stolfi.

In short, the hashtable can be built using a list (array) and a hash function, which generates some evenly distributed index to place the object in. However, the hash function does not necessarily guarantee a unique number for every single object, thus some objects might get the same index number, which is called a collision. The usual fix may be to introduce buckets, which are lists that are searched linearly that stores values of the same hash, or to offset the object from its hash-derived index. Both methods introduce something to the hashtable though — a sense of empirical design.

What is empirical design? Something I made up to refer to things that require fine tuning and empirical analysis in order to become ideal for the task; it is not mathematically or logically slotted in as the most ideal solution, but calibrated to be close enough. The professor said this is an expected thing in Computer Science.

Indeed, although the effects of a hashtable — constant access time — sounds exciting, it is in fact designed very simply.

All in all, writing blogs were more challenging than rewarding. Besides, the conspiracy theory that this is just a marketing trick just makes so much sense after all. Yes, I will end this series just like how it started, with a conspiracy theory. They could have just done hand-in assignments after all, like every other discipline that requires writing — all without the need of a motivating factor like “public viewing”. Pssh. I can check how many people actually read these series of blogs. Less than 10 total, not including potential duplicate viewings due to how Medium counts views. I can count the viewership with my hands. Public viewing is of no concern and should really not be a thing.

Ha! This is me, signing out for this blog series. Hopefully I’ll write something else I am more passionate in some other time.

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