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Monday, April 26, 2010

MT365 - TMA01

At times I can be so stupid! Where to begin? I wanted to typeset MT365 - TMA01 but in a course on graphs, networks and designs you can expect to do a LOT of drawing. Although it is possible to make beautifully typeset drawings in LaTeX, which requires in-depth knowledge of additional packages, it is rather time-consuming. Very time-consuming. I had to accept defeat. I sent in my work drawn and written by hand. Typesetting TMAs is not required. It is one of my perfectionistic obsessions, I suppose. No, not an obssession, more an addiciton. I like working with TeXnICCenter, LaTeX, Mathematica. It feels cool, sort of professional. As though you are producing real papers. Life is a game. Life is what you make of it. As long as it is enjoyable. Stupidity #1 is a serious planning miscalculation. I planned a LaTeX delivery which I could not deliver in time which led to the worst what can happen: passing of the cut-off date without having permission of the tutor to send in work after the cut-off date. It is all over the Open University documentation. A tutor is in its right to refuse work send in after the cut-off date and mark it with a 0. - Technically today -is- the cut-off date of MT365, I have sent in my work today by priority mail and informed my tutor. He will mark my work as it comes in. Stupidity #2 was not informing him earlier, when it was clear I couldn't ship friday. My solid advice to all ( prospective ) OU Students start with your TMAs >>now<<. I know of students who work soildly ahead. That's excellent.

About the TMA itself. There were three only three questions adding to only 60 points. Which is rather odd. But CMA41 is in the same booklet and counts for 40 in that booklet. So three questions.
One on graphs, we had to draw various types of digraphs, calculate the number of Hamiltonian cycles in a graph under different assumptions. As an application of graph theory there was a question about food webs in an eco-system. Who eats who and what are the competing species, what happens when a species disappears?
The question on networks was about calculating an optimal flow in a network with minimum and maximum capacities in the various arcs. In such a case it is important that you start from a feasible flow. As an application of network theory there was a question about the reliability of telecommunication networks.
It turns out that I like the track on designs most. It has the most pure mathematics in it. For the question on designs we had to list various polyhedra that met certain conditions. Then we had to prove mathematically that if a certain polyhedron had exactly four faces meeting at each vortex then the number pf triangles must exceed the number of pentagons by 8. The polyhedron was of type triangle / pentagon. Here we see the connection with graph theory because the proof I gave used theorems from graph theory. As an application of design theory there were questions about the planning of  a scientific research project. An area where design theory is often used for planning purposes.

I don't think it is fair to myself or realistic to strive for a distinction on MT365. I would be very satisfied with a grade 2 pass. I am confident that I will pass. IF I keep studying hard on the various topics, but MT365 is too hard to even think of a distinction. I would guess that I scored 36 / 60 or 60% and that is an inbetween .

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