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Dec 27th, 2019
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  1. List a few words or phrases that describe your ideal college community.(150 words or less)
  2. My ideal college community is urban, metropolitan, and liberal. It's diverse and accepting to everyone. It has sufficiently many nerds and sufficiently many non-nerds. My ideal college community is positively competitive – it pushes me to my limit but helps me reach it. Its students love learning for the sake of learning and sharing what they learned.
  3. List the titles of the required readings from courses during the school year or summer that you enjoyed most in the past year. (150 words or less)
  4. My school system doesn't have the notion of required readings, sorry.
  5. List the titles of the books you read for pleasure that you enjoyed most in the past year. (150 words or less)
  6. Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!
  7. Problem-Solving Strategies by Arthur Engel
  8. A Beautiful Journey Through Olympiad Geometry
  9. List the titles of the print, electronic publications and websites you read regularly. (150 words or less)
  10. Codeforces Blog
  11. Alhudood (Arabic variant of The Onion)
  12. I usually read about math history because it's actually nice to contextualize something as abstract as math and to know what happened to get us where we are now. My favorite sources are Britannica and Brilliant.
  13. And, of course, social media
  14. List the titles of the films, concerts, shows, exhibits, lectures and other entertainments you enjoyed most in the past year. (150 words or less)
  15. Lectures: physics lectures by Professor Walter Lewin; small and large gaps between the primes by Professor Terrence Tao; bounded gaps between primes by Professor Yitang Zhang
  16. Youtube Channels: vsauce; 3blue1brown; mark rober
  17. Shows: Chernobyl; The big bang theory; Mr Robot; How I met your mother
  18. Films: Inception; Now you see me; Ex machina
  19. Ted Talks: The astounding athletic power of quadcopters; Top hacker shows us how it's done; Brian Cox: CERN's supercollider
  21. Please tell us what you value most about Columbia and why. (300 words or less)
  22. That it's typically atypical.
  24. Let me elaborate. What's the typical Columbia student like? Hard-working? Sure. Smart? Of course. But that's not what I'm asking. For other universities, there're always some deep personal traits that describe students. Nerdy engineers, set to be CEOs, and even exclusively white rich kids from New Jersey; but that's not the case for Columbia. There's no sentence that clicks and makes you say "Ah so a Columbia student." This along with its huge international student body makes Columbia as diverse as it could get.
  26. But let's talk about the academics. I'm one of the not-so-few people who want to study both computer science and electrical engineering in depth, and it's horrific for me to give up on one of them. When I first heard about the computer engineering major, I dismissed it. I, and many people, think a computer engineer can't do any more than an electrical engineer: CE is just a subset of EE concerned with computers only. But here I am, applying to Columbia with CE as my first interest. You changed my mind about the whole major. With linear algebra and circuit analysis, probability and VLSI, it's perfectly balanced between theory and practice, between CS and EE. It's atypical.
  28. With the free time I'll thankfully (hopefully?) have by, well, not double-majoring, I can do a lot. I can take some of the endless courses in Columbia College, participate in research through SRP, or explore the ample opportunities in the Big Apple (although I here students are afraid to go beyond 125th street.) In all cases, it's good to know that if I ever get lost in the big city, figuratively or literally, I can always return home to some great friends, light trees with them, drink hot chocolate, and listen to a cappella.
  30. For applicants to The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, please tell us what from your current and past experiences (either academic or personal) attracts you specifically to the field or fields of study that you noted in the Member Questions section. (300 words or less)
  32. I always admired the concept of provability you find in math, where you use logic, deduction, and very creative ideas to unveil new knowledge and provide a solid proof something works. Through competitive programming, I got to apply this concept a lot, but with the existence of a computer, I used it to solve problems math alone can't touch, further having fun translating my ideas into code.
  34. Before competitive programming, I was into electronics. I used to play around with snap circuits, something like LEGOs but with electronics. I used to read books on their theory. So when I learned programming, I naturally bought a microcontroller and began my journey of integrating hardware and software.
  36. I like how hardware makes what you can do with software pretty much limitless and how software makes working with hardware much easier. I remember how I made timers using pure electronics; a pretty big circuit where you had to physically turn a knob was replaced by a line of code.
  38. With these two as my biggest interests, I was naturally into robotics. When I first knew I could participate in a robotics competition, I was so excited I didn't care it was two months away. I loved coming up with ideas to tackle problems the robot faces, actually implementing these ideas, and working on something that actually works and moves. I worked on each robot for months that I even got a bit attached.
  40. Coming to robotics from a competitive programming background was different. While the most followed approach for robots was trial-and-error, making small adjustments and seeing whether your robot improved, I sought the provability I'm used to, making me always have different ideas and perspective. I integrated what I loved most about CS and EE, just like Columbia's CE program.
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