Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

With Great Power Comes a Great Wardrobe

During lunch today, I saw a rather unfortunate bird that appeared to have a growth on its side, preventing it from flying. Among the rest of the birds, flying and hopping around, it sulked on the ground. I felt bad for the poor thing, imagining that I might catch it, taking it to an animal rescue place.. but I didn't do anything. Meh.

For the curious, what I do at work, in great detail...Side 1:

  • Design (with my boss, who does more of this part) psychology experiments
  • Program those experiments in the E-Prime (variant of BASIC) programming language
  • Given behavioural data from ePrime and fMRI data from the scanner, construct design-files that map individual MRI images to time-points and conditions for that part of the experiment. (done in Perl)
  • Build various subsets of the larger design file for specific analyses (done in a mix of perl and unix shell commands, e.g. cut, grep, etc)
  • Transform subject MRI data into a uniform geometric space so differences between brains is accounted for to allow for analysis using multiple brains (uses brain analysis software, mostly stuff in Java from UPitt)
  • Do statistical analysis to find regions with significant cross-condition changes (more Java stuff from UPitt) of appropriate size and statistical strength (this is part art, part science)
  • Plot activity in those regions for specific conditions (uses software developed in our group written in the R Statistical language), rate statistical values
  • Present all this in a pretty web interface
Side 2:
  • Recruit subjects (mostly via cmu local newsgroups)
  • Instruct, Train subjects on experiments
  • Bring subjects to the scanner, conduct experiment there
  • Handle payment for subject
  • Manage all the paperwork associated with all of this
Side 3:
  • Administer a set of servers used for analysis of research data
  • Write software to aid in analysis
  • Help other researchers with experiments and analysis
  • Document analysis process on Wiki
  • Administer group webserver
  • Train users on use of computer systems
  • Administer desktop computers, printers, network in group
  • Backup the many terabytes of data involved

I saw someone on the bus today that reminded me a bit of Nicole, in particular the faux-oriental look that some completely non-oriental people have. It was kinda cute.. but over all this time since I last dated...

I've been trying to remember the name of a movie I saw ages ago -- someone set up a large machine with plenty of gears that caused time to flow oddly, and a village sent a boy along with a bunch of young men to destroy the machine to save their civilisation. The effects of the machine caused the men along with their town to crumble to dust and for the boy hero to age into an old man before reaching the machine, but he managed to destroy the machine by jamming the gears, which released all the stored time. If anyone recognises the film by this description, let me know.


Tags: work

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