Simulation problems

June 30, 2012

It turned out something had gone wrong with my simulations. They had started, but not finished, even though the computer told me they were finished. Later, I found out the computers had been down last week. This meant I had to redo my simulations. While I was at it, I also improved the code for the simulations and made it write away a few more variables (to do with the equilibrisation of the system). In the end, I spent nearly all of my time working on the code and simulations, as opposed to working on what I planned to work on. Needless to say, I haven’t done what I planned (will do so next week). When things don’t go as planned, that is difficult for me. So the thing with the computers happening, wasn’t too brilliant. On a positive note though, the simulations have been improved so hopefully that will be useful.

The radio incident

June 24, 2012

A few days ago when I was at university, someone thought it would be “funny” to play the radio really loud over the intercom. As someone who cannot fade out noises, this completely disrupted my concentration on my work. At first I did not know what was going on. Ads were playing, I was seriously wondered what company hired a van with a horn outside to shout ads through the windows. After a few ads, there was music. By then two others in my room had established that someone funny was playing the radio loudly through the intercom. I had to get my mp3 player out or I would not have been able to work at all. Even the music on my mp3 player distracts me, I prefer to work in silence, but it’s much better than the radio with its ads, music and chatter. It did not help that the two people who were in the room besides me, talked even louder over the radio and laughed (I focussed on my work and did not respond). It’s hard enough for me to work in that room with people walking past, talking, a printer printing, a microwave bleeping, people in the room mashing on their keyboards. Let alone there being a loud radio! Gladly it was turned off a while later and wasn’t on the entire time. I was glad when I could go home. Maybe it sounds odd but the radio indident made me feel upset and frustrated. It’s yet another clear signal that I’m different and that I don’t really “belong” in this world. I’m not “normal”. I was half way home before my anger had subsided. I’m not sure how well I can explain how I felt. It might be difficult to understand, I’m not sure I understand it completely. Needless to say, the radio event took a bit of energy away from me. It was a relief to be back home, to be able to relax and be in a bit of piece and quiet.

On another note, my university work itself is going pretty well. I’ve worked a lot on my thesis and also on the simulations and code. There is still plenty more to do but progress is progress! I should post some more pictures of my simulations in a while, they’re nice to see in my opinion :).

June 24, 2012

TechUnited (the Dutch team) won the RoboCup 2012!! Robots autonomously play soccer, 5 vs 5. It’s great that our team has become the world champion!


Zinderend was het, de finale. Nr 5 waar we in stonden. Bij rust 2-1 voor ons, dat voelt erg onzeker, vooral omdat Robot nr 2 was uitgevallen met wat later bleek een losse kabel. Vorig jaar in Istanboel hadden we ook al een doorgebrande versterker tijdens de finale, dat komt dan gelijk weer boven. Halverwege de rust was het probleem gevonden. Hoewel we natuurlijk al vaker hebben gewonnen van MRL, onder andere bij de finale van de Robocup Dutch Open, zijn teams altijd sterk in ontwikkeling tijdens zo een week. Door de wedstrijden tegen goede tegenstanders leer je het meest, en alle teams verbeteren zichzelf altijd. Met de zenuwen gespannen gaan we de tweede helft in… na 2 doelpunten en staan met 4-1 voorsprong op Iran (MRL). De seconden tikken weg aan het eind, en we hebben de neiging hardop af te tellen! En dan de fluit: YES!! TechUnited zich…

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My reading style

June 18, 2012

I thought I’d take some time and tell you about my ‘reading style’. Generally I like to read the following genres: fantasy, science-fiction, fiction, literature, non-fiction, horror, thriller, other (not necessarily in that order, though the first three are my favourites). The genre that I have the most books of, is fantasy. I have quite a lot fiction books too. I have some science-fiction books (sci-fi as I call it), some literary books, a few non-fiction books, a few more thrillers and a few horror books.

The past while the way I read books is generally that I read one that is one genre, then read a book of another genre, and so on. What I mostly read is fiction, with some sci-fi or fantasy in between. Because fantasy books are often part of a series, I don’t read them as often anymore either (also felt less like it). I don’t want to read too many series at once, because that gets confusing. So I’m in ‘the middle’ of a few series, but don’t want to start any new ones yet until I’ve read more of other ones. I haven’t read that much of my non-fiction books yet (I only have a few, though), nor of my literature books (that might change soon though). I rarely read any thrillers and horror anymore, it just doesn’t pull me as much (and I don’t have that many books of it). What also counts is that most of the thrillers I have are translated into Dutch and I rarely read any Dutch books anymore. In fact it has been a while since I’ve read a Dutch book. That might sound strange for a Dutch person, but I prefer to read books in English if they are originally English. An other thing that is somewhat important, is that some books I have are quite heavy or an omnibus or combined books (thus making them extra big or heavy), this is not handy for when I travel so I tend to read lighter paperbacks.

When I was a child, I used to go to the library, first with my family, eventually on my own. We even had to go to two different libraries to have enough books for me to read! I’ve read quite a lot of the children’s books they had at those libraries. I also read information books as I call them, about lots of different subjects. These days I don’t go to the library anymore (they haven’t got that many English books, and I’ve read quite a few books at the library), these days I prefer to buy the books I find interesting and keep them. Very rarely I don’t like the book I bought, most of the time I like it a lot. I don’t read a lot of information books anymore. There is of course the books for my study (chemistry, physics, maths books), and other than that I do have a general knowledge of most topic (at least those that interest me), specifically because I read a lot in the past. But these days it’s hard to find a book that’s exactly on my level, because I know so much it’s difficult to find one that I can understand easily (shouldn’t be too difficult) and that contains new information (it shouldn’t be too easy). Also it costs energy to learn new things, and I’m usually too tired for that, my study is enough.

Hopefully in a while I will (have) read more of the genres that I don’t read much of these days, because I do love to read! (except maybe thrillers, really not that into them any more, strange isn’t it). In a next post I will tell you about some of my favourite books and authors!

University work, tiredness and stress

June 17, 2012

My university work is going allright I would say. I’ve been working on simulations and on my thesis as well. For the next while, I suppose a lot of my work time will be spent on my thesis. There are a couple of parts of theory that need to be added. It’s kind of stupid but because I see this as a big thing, it’s kind of hard to get into it. I’m sure that once I get going it’ll be allright though. It’s just getting there that’s difficult.

The past few days I’ve been quite tired. I’ve done a lot (quite a few situations that I couldn’t seem to get out of), probably too much. I’m trying to rest this weekend, so hopefully in a few days I’ll feel a bit better. It can be a bit difficult though as I do want to do things that tire me, such as spend time with family and watch tv. When I’m a bit tired I can still read but I was so tired even that was difficult.

When I’m tired I get more easily annoyed, and this is not nice for me and people around me (if I don’t have the strength to keep the annoyance inside me). In my tiredness I was also ‘mad at the world’, for things being the way they are. I realise though that that doesn’t help anything, but when I’m tired it’s sometimes difficult not to get angry and feel bad for myself.

I’m a bit stressed from time to time (or really, most of the time). Even though it’s weekend now there are still things I stress about, such as my university work. I know it’s stupid, and for the most part probably a waste of energy, but I can’t really help it.

Shopping with my mum

June 14, 2012

A few days ago I went shopping with my mum. We weren’t out for that long, but because I get tired easily it was enough. It was a lot of fun! Shopping can be a lot of fun to me, but it can also not be (it really depends on the situation and how tired I am). There was market, so it was a bit busier than it otherwise would have been. I’ve got some shorts (jeans), a blouse, a T-shirt and several pairs of socks. Oh and a pair of leggings for under my skirt. So I got quite a lot of the things that I needed/wanted! I went out shopping with my boyfriend about two months ago and we could barely find any shorts (especially jeans’ ones), but now (in a different place, though) there were lots of them! I tried on several and the ones that I liked the best, fit me the best! So that’s good.

My mum unfortunately couldn’t get the things she wanted, so that is a shame. She did get a pair of shoes but not any of the clothes that she needed. Hopefully she can find more next time she goes shopping.

The current fashion seems to be (around here at least), round necklines instead V-necklines. The both of us much prefer the latter. It’s happened quite a lot that I disagree with fashion, which can be quite annoying when you try to buy something that the shops just aren’t selling. Hopefully next year the fashion will include V-shaped necklines in T-shirts etc. again.

There are still a few things I would like to have, such as a new vest, but unfortunately that’s not sold in this time of year (it makes sense, though). So I’ll have to wait until the autumn I think, though I can always try (I wasn’t on the lookout for it before as it didn’t have a high priority for me). I would also like a new pair of shoes, I’ve only got one pair and it’d be nice to have black shoes to go with certain clothes moreso than my current brown shoes.

It was fun being out with my mum though, I enjoy spending time with her.

Book sites

June 13, 2012

It was not until a while ago, that I decided to really do something with book sites. Let me explain. These sites (links below) allow you to input your books, rate them and (in some cases) come up with recommendations of other books they think you’d like to read. I keep a book database on the computer, have been doing that for longer than I’ve been a member of these sites, and that will still be my primary database.

The problem with these sites (yes I start with the one bad thing XD) is that while they have a lot of books, I have some books from Dutch authors and they are not on these international sites. While this is not a big deal for me, my primary database will remain on the computer. I also have some books translated into Dutch but originally from English authors (and French, Swedish, German, etc.) and do not always recognise the English title. Sometimes it’s literally translated and thus easy to find, other times it is completely different and it would require me opening the book to find out. A few of those books are still in plastic though (I know! terrible XD), and until I read them I think it’s easier to keep them closed and wrapped in the plastic. These days if a book is from an English (or American) author, I definately buy the book in English. I’ve hardly read any Dutch books the past few years.

Now for all the positives of these book sites (I’ll talk about each individual site below), it’s quite easy to search for a book and put it in your local library (or shelf as some sites call it). It’s easy to give them tags, so you can sort them ie. based on genre (that’s what I did). It’s lovely to see all the covers next to each other (well, you may have to press ‘next’ depending on your amount of books etc.). You can have friends and see what your friends read and what books they have. Putting all my books into these sites (and it’s actually handy that some of them allow you to import from another one) was actually a lot of fun and made me want to read more books! I have quite a few books, you see, that I haven’t read yet (and also some that I’d like to reread etc.). The amount of books I have with each site, is different because some sites don’t have the exact edition I have, this is most notably with omnibus or combined books. So instead I sometimes filled them in seperately. There are probably a few books I missed, too, on some sites. I did check after I did the import but I probably missed some things.

The individual sites, broken down and my opinion about them:

GoodReads I found a bit less handy to use at first, but it’s growing on me. Most people use this site (and LibraryThing, more below) instead of the other ones. Your reading progress is tracked and you can, I think, enter challenges, such as read x amount of books per year. GoodReads seems to have a relatively big database of books, with lots of editions and covers. It seems to have a good recommendations system. You can rate books, write reviews and fill in when you finished reading a book. You can set how many pages you’ve read of a book, with a neat little bar (at least, I’ve seen this on other people’s profiles. I haven’t tried to do this myself), a feature the other sites don’t have to my knowledge. You can export a list of your books to be imported at other sites. The site allows you to view books in a database like manner (including sorting options) as well as viewing them with their covers.

I find Shelfari the handiest to use (though GoodReads is growing on me rapidly), it’s very easy to add books, tag books, rate books etc. Shelfari are owned by Amazon these days so you can import your purchases from there straight away if you wish this. I still have an old account there, my Amazon account and legacy Shelfari account are not linked. You can rate books, write reviews and you can fill in the date when you finished reading a book (or what you are currently reading) and your reading progress is tracked. They are still working on the recommendations so I haven’t seen them much yet. Maybe if you have an Amazon account you do see recommendations, I do see recommendations on Amazon when I’m logged in there. You can import a list of your books from a Goodreads file. The site doesn’t allow you to view the books in a more database manner like GoodReads does, but it does give you a shelf with your (beautiful) book covers. Most of the time there is a cover from the edition I have. You can also upload a picture/photo of the cover you have.

BookLikes is, I believe, originally from Poland and its team is not as big as the other sites’ teams. This shows in the sense that the site has a lot of duplicate books (and sometimes duplicate authors too). Gladly you can report any wrong information in an easy manner. Still, it might annoy some people. I have to admire their book database considering their team seems to be the smallest. They have most of my books, the ones they don’t have are combined books and omnibus books, sometimes. This is not too much of a deal as I can often add the books individually so it doesn’t bother me too much (it can be handy in fact). The site displays your books in a shelf like manner, with covers. You can unfortunately not choose between different covers so you’re stuck with the one that they chose or is the most popular (I have no idea how the cover is chosen). You can rate your books, but unlike the other sites you cannot say when you finished reading something, so your reading progress is not tracked (you can say which book(s) you are currently reading). You can import a list of your books from a Goodreads file, which makes it easier to start your database. Their logo is a cute owl, which doesn’t add anything maybe, but I think it’s very nice. The site also shows recommendations. This site has the smallest community of the ones I’ve looked into. Still, since I’m such a bookworm and all, it can’t hurt to have more options to make friends and find new books.

LibraryThing is used by a lot of people, its downside is that if you want to enter more than 200 books, you have to pay a one-time fee. While it’s not that much or anything, to me LibraryThing doesn’t offer enough extras compared to the free sites, that I’d want to pay this fee. If I didn’t have my own book database and lived in the US, perhaps I’d think about it. LibraryThing allows you to buy a scanner, and then scan the barcode of your books to be entered on the site. This is an easy way to add your books, but since I don’t live in the US buying such a scanner is a lot more of a hassle (or so I think, I haven’t looked into it to be honest! I’m happy with my database and the free sites). I think the site has the biggest book database out of all of them, and your books can be neatly sorted in a database like manner or with covers. I can’t say much about recommendations because I’ve only entered a few books on the site.

There is also Anobii, I have an account there but I don’t use it at the moment. I just noticed they have an app that also allows for barcode scanning, I don’t have a smartphone though. I can’t say that much about this site as I haven’t looked at it since I signed up for it, two years ago or something? It displays most text in Dutch for me at the moment and when I try to change language to English (as I prefer that) nothing happens, maybe you need to be logged in for that to work. So I can’t really comment much on this site as I haven’t really looked into it.

Anyway, those are some thoughts on these book sites (I’m sure there are others), all in all I think it’s a great idea and I love using them (I use Goodreads, Shelfari and BookLikes on a regular basis at the moment).

Update on university work, problem is solved!

June 12, 2012

University work is going well, this morning I solved a problem that had come up yesterday when I tried to put the particles in the structure I wanted. It looks like it’s solved, anyhow! It always makes me feel good when I’ve solved a problem (and really frustrated when I can’t seem to solve it!). The problem was that upon moving, the particles overlapped each other, but only certain particles did this. It turns out, because of the way the periodic boundaries work, that some spheres coded in where actually the exact same sphere, but drawn twice. Stay with me for a moment. The particles are all in a simulation box. Periodic boundaries mean that all around this box, there are exact copies of this box (this is called minimum image convention). Periodic boundaries means that when a particle exits the box in one direction, it enters the box again from the opposite reaction. So the spheres I had at the corners of the box, actually were the same ones but the program draws them just like the coordinates I gave it. The solution was to remove certain ‘duplicate’ spheres, it took me some time to figure out which one’s which though and by trial and error but mostly logical thinking, I managed to remove the right ones (although there are various ways it could be done, it doesn’t matter which of the duplicate ones I remove, as long as there’s one of each kind). I don’t know if it makes sense, anyhow I’m glad I solved the problem!

Now I’ll have to prepare files for simulations and run several simulations (at different pressures) to find out what happens to the structure depending on the pressure (and other variables, but they stay constant). Aside from that, there is my thesis to continue writing on. There are several more parts that my professor wants more content on (and I think she is right), so I’ll have to read some more books and articles, among other things. Most of the parts to be added have to do with the theory of molecular simulations. Of course the part with the results of my simulations is and will be a work in progress until all simulations have completed and I’ve interpreted their data.

Pretty soon now some more results from the simulations with the volume changing slower, will be there (I mean the simulations will be done). I’m not sure what they’ll be, it could be that the volume is still changing too rapidly (I believe I made the chance of it to occur 25% once the volume move has been chosen, instead of 100%. The chance to randomly choose the volume move is equal to the amount of units in the box plus one I believe. With units I mean either big spheres or a tetramer (a tetramer consists of four smaller particles and is considered one unit).

Hopefully I’ll have some other posts up in a while on a few games and book stuff! I do feel like writing about certain things, anyhow.

Summarising post of the past few months

June 11, 2012

Wow, and again I wait a few months until I post here again! It’s terrible of me. Not that there are a lot of people who read this, to my knowledge (and pretty much all of those learn how I’m doing, elsewhere). So. I’m working on my master thesis and recently it has become clear that we’ll aim for the graduation of May/June 2013. We have also agreed on the work I will do and won’t do. It’s going relatively well I would say. There are still ups and downs, sometimes I run into problems, sometimes they’re easy to fix. I guess it’s all part of research. I’m currently working on the binary system, that is to say, a system with 2/3rds big spheres and 1/3rd tetramers (four spheres attached to each other). Here’s an image of a random, initial configuration.

Binary system initial random configuration

However it turned out that particles get stuck because the volume shrinks too rapidly compared to the particle movements and rotations. The single hard spheres did not get stuck, but these tetramers have a more awkward shape. So there were two options now, and I’m exploring both. First is to let the volume change less rapidly. This does mean that in order to get the same results, I will need to simulate longer. The second option is to let the particles start in the structure that we’re interested in (for the binary system that is the MgCu2 structure) and then see if/when it melts. So that’s what I’m working on at the moment. I will also need to recode the single hard spheres and the sole tetramer system to start in certain structures (fcc). Below an image of what the MgCu2 structure looks like.

A snapshot of the MgCu2 structure

I have more images but I don’t want to crowd this post with too many of them, so more of that later (if I remember XD). My project is going well I would say, so that’s nice.

Other than university, what am I up to? Well, I watch some tv now and then and I play a game now and then. I can’t do either of these things too often. I also read books, read quite a few of those since I last posted here. I should write some reviews or something!

I’ve played a little bit of Mass Effect 3 since I last posted here in February, I’ve played some Defender’s Quest and some Magical Diary. So not a lot really compared to the time frame, but that’s okay. Those last two I’ve only played in the past few weeks (Magical Diary has only been out for a bit and I didn’t know Defender’s Quest much before then) since I bought them, but Mass Effect 3 I’ve had since around launch day. All three of them, so far, are great games and I thoroughly enjoy my time with them.

Book wise, I have signed up for GoodReads, Shelfari and BookLikes. Maybe some day later I’ll post links to my profile(s).

Well, that’s enough of a summarising post I’d say. It’s probably best to talk about specific things in specific posts, I think, otherwise things get a bit cluttered.

How my master research is going

February 24, 2012

And again some months pass before I look at this blog again. This time my dad making a made me think back of mine. Since quite a bit of stuff happened today, and in fact over the past few months, I thought it was about time I wrote (another) update.

I’m still working on my master project. Things are going with ups and downs, now and then there is lots of progress in a short amount of time, at other times there are just problems that persist for a few weeks until I’ve figured out solutions (or sometimes, what exactly the problem is). I still don’t enjoy programming, though I do think I enjoy it a lot more than when I first started! My programming on tetramers and binary systems (single bigger spheres mixed with tetramers) is complete! Well aside from possible errors obviously, because you never know (I keep finding them!). The latest results finally look good though. I’m currently gathering data and making graphs for the equation of state for single hard spheres and tetramers (that’s two seperate systems). However the program I was using for it didn’t want to display the axis properly (certain points are meant to be closer together than others, yet the program keeps displaying them all within an equal distance from each other). I’m in the process of finding a different program that works and learning how to use it. I made the first steps today but I ran out of time since I had to go to a colloquiem. The colloquiem was interesting, it was about colloids and electronic ink, electrophoresis etc. It was tiring to stay at uni for a longer time but the subject was quite interesting so I guess you could say it was worth it.

On another note, there are more students in our room which upsets me a bit as it’s no longer as quiet and calm (aside from the heating, the copy machine, footsteps and typing sounds) as things used to be. It could be worse though, so far nobody has had long chats about unrelated things. This morning, someone (I assume he’s a student though he doesn’t look really young, but I could be mistaken) needed to work on my desk so I had to be relocated to a different desk. As I’m not so good in dealing with unexpected situations, it took me a while to get used to this new desk. I don’t know how long he’ll be working there for but I assume he’ll be there for the coming weeks at least.

I’m starting to be able to follow the work discussions better and better. Obviously there are theories that I haven’t heard of before but I can generally understand what people are trying to research and it’s getting more interesting than at first.

Another thing of my work is that sometimes there is more work to do than other times. If I’m stuck because of an error and I can’t find the error, at some point I stop looking and take a break. I find that difficult as I feel guilty sometimes when I work different hours than I should.

I’m not totally enjoying my project all the time, sometimes yes, but other times no. I tend to get stressed, especially on fridays (or thursday nights etc). But now that I think about it I do think I enjoy it more than at first. Perhaps that’s also because things are going well atm.

On a completely unrelated note: I am playing more video games! Lately I’ve been playing some hours of Skyrim, which so far is an awesome game. I do have most of the sounds muted, this helps me a lot.

Well it’s now time to cook so with that I end my post here, hopefully I’ll make another one soon!