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MPALG 1112-4 Parallel functional programming, DAT280|DIT261

Status: Avslutad
Öppen för svar: 2012-05-23 - 2012-06-10
Antal svar: 23
Procent av deltagarna som svarat: 48%
Kontaktperson: Mattias Bingerud»

Opening question

1. Which university do you belong to?

Some of our courses are taken jointly by students of the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology. In order for us to be able to look at the answers of each student group separately, we would like you to indicate which university you are registered at.

21 svarande

University of Gothenburg»6 28%
Chalmers University of Technology»15 71%

Genomsnitt: 1.71

Your own effort

2. How many hours per week did you spend on this course?

We mean total time, that is, it comprises the time you spent in class and the time you spent on your own work. Try to estimate the average time over the entire study period.

23 svarande

At most 15 hours/week»5 21%
Around 20 hours/week»10 43%
Around 25 hours/week»8 34%
Around 30 hours/week»0 0%
At least 35 hours/week»0 0%

Genomsnitt: 2.13

- Workload varied wildly as assignments were generally up late and due shortly. Things got hairy when they coincided with deadlines in other courses, would"ve appreciated if the assignments were up earlier so we could plan better.» (At most 15 hours/week)

3. How large part of the teaching offered did you attend?

23 svarande

0%»0 0%
25%»0 0%
50%»4 17%
75%»13 56%
100%»6 26%

Genomsnitt: 4.08

- Missed most of the guest lectures» (50%)
- Some collisions with another course.» (75%)
- I took a somewhat illegal 4-day vacation mid may, which of course happened to coincide with some of the most interesting guest lectures. Alas.» (75%)
- Missed some due to personal reasons.» (75%)
- I had another course with lectures in the same time slots. I would have liked to attend all of it.» (75%)
- Both John and Mary are excellent lecturers, and surprisingly so was every guest lecturer they brought in.» (100%)

Goals and goal fulfilment

The course syllabus states the course goals in terms of learning outcomes, i.e., knowledge, skills and attitudes to be acquired by the student during the course.

To review the learning outcomes for this course, click here. (Opens in new window)

4. How understandable are the course goals?

22 svarande

The goals are difficult to understand»1 4%
The goals give some guidance, but could be clearer»6 27%
The goals clearly describe what I am supposed to learn»15 68%

Genomsnitt: 2.63

- GPUs are mentioned but not really included. A lot seems to overlap with the Parallel Programming course.» (The goals give some guidance, but could be clearer)
- However not all topics were covered.» (The goals clearly describe what I am supposed to learn)
- Very clear and good goals.» (The goals clearly describe what I am supposed to learn)

5. Are the goals reasonable considering your background and the number of credits?

Answer this this question and the succeeding one, only if you do know the course goals.

21 svarande

No, the goals are set too low»0 0%
Yes, the goals seem reasonable»20 95%
No, the goals are set too high»1 4%

Genomsnitt: 2.04

- Well, for me they seem reasonable. I get concern people raised about the gap between intro to func.programming and afp as a prerequisite. I had no problems with it though since I took AFP.» (Yes, the goals seem reasonable)
- We did not have time to go through everything. GPU programming in particular.» (No, the goals are set too high)

6. Did the examination assess whether you have reached the goals?

21 svarande

No, not at all»2 9%
To some extent»2 9%
Yes, definitely»16 76%
I don"t know/have not been examined yet»1 4%

Genomsnitt: 2.76

- It"s understandable but the goals are not fulfilled since the course is new and probably changed from what was thought from the beginning. One example of the things not tested were GPU programming.» (No, not at all)
- All topics were not covered» (To some extent)
- Some goals were omitted due to various reasons, we were told. - Thus the exam covered the remaining goals fairly well.» (Yes, definitely)
- The exam was very well balanced.» (Yes, definitely)
- Very good exam, however the lack of an API blindsided me. There"s nothing wrong with that, but I think it"s the only programming-focused exam I"ve taken in the last 3 years that didn"t provide one. Normally we"d have been able to tell from previous exams, but without those some form of warning would"ve been nice.» (Yes, definitely)
- Thought the exam was a bit on the easy side.» (Yes, definitely)
- I had an other exam at the same time. I looked at the exam later and think it was pretty much testing what we should have learned in the course. » (I don"t know/have not been examined yet)

Teaching and course administration

7. To what extent has the teaching been of help for your learning?

23 svarande

Small extent»0 0%
Some extent»6 26%
Large extent»4 17%
Great extent»13 56%

Genomsnitt: 3.3

- Lectures were excellent overall, although some of the early ones tended to repeat themselves at times. I think 3 separate lecturers in the first couple of weeks advised us to chunk the work sensibly using almost the exact same examples and wording. The assignments felt very ad hoc, probably because they were. For the most part they still worked well enough, but I honestly think I"d have learned more from a more directed approach similar to the assignments in the advanced functional programming course. The "write a Repa tutorial" assignment felt particularly vague. I wrote most of the "winning" entry and writing the Mandelbrot code in Repa was a good learning experience. It could probably make a good assignment if cleaned up and converted to repa-3. However, most of my time was spent on writing several pages of explanatory pdf, which felt like a waste and had me gnashing my teeth through most of it. It did make me focus on making my code as clear and compact as I could manage which is educational, but overall I"d very much rather had made my code clear and comapct without also writing a large tutorial about it.» (Large extent)
- John and Mary did a good job keeping it interesting. » (Great extent)
- All involved teacher are great lecturers, and the many guest lectures were both interesting and inspiring.» (Great extent)
- Both John and Mary are excellent teachers.» (Great extent)
- Very good help was offered.» (Great extent)
- The lectures were very good, especially considering that this is a new course.» (Great extent)

8. To what extent has the course literature and other material been of help for your learning?

23 svarande

Small extent»3 13%
Some extent»10 43%
Large extent»9 39%
Great extent»1 4%

Genomsnitt: 2.34

- Most of what I learned comes from the lectures and labs.» (Some extent)
- RWH is a good book for general reading, but not very focused on the particular subject of the course. Then again, what is? Lecture notes generally good, but some of the pdf:s are a bit poorly adapted from lecture slides -- example code blocked by bubbles of text, that sort of thing. Would"ve especially liked more material from the guest and student lectures.» (Some extent)
- Most of the recommended papers were interesting. The NELS part was somewhat hard to grasp.» (Large extent)
- Good videos and tutorials...well, there has also been lack of good material, when going specific into the libraries used.» (Large extent)
- Alot of good references. Mostly useful and intresting.» (Great extent)

9. How well did the course administration, web page, handouts etc work?

23 svarande

Very badly»0 0%
Rather badly»7 30%
Rather well»14 60%
Very well»2 8%

Genomsnitt: 2.78

- Labs were handed out too late. » (Rather badly)
- The course has a few baby pains, the labs were announced so late that planning ahead was very difficult, especially when you have other courses as well, and lecture halls changed at a moment"s notice a few times. This is all to be expected for a completely new course though.» (Rather badly)
- Badly because the labs were presented late and with short time to complete until deadline (one deadline had to be moved since it was in the easter exam week...). Everything else worked very well!» (Rather badly)
- Labs must start earlier. And be announced in the beginning of the course so one can plan the semester!» (Rather badly)
- the assignments could have been scheduled abit earlier. The idea to do a tutorial was the worst fucking idea I"ve ever seen, please remove it so other don"t have to do it.» (Rather well)
- Only negative thing was that the labs came out with a bit short notice.» (Rather well)
- Except for the late lab anounsment it workt well.» (Rather well)
- Could have been better information about the labs earlier but I"m sure that will be fixed for the next year as the course starts to get som momentum.» (Rather well)
- Good enough. Would"ve liked lecture notes to be available before lectures. Correction time a bit longish.» (Rather well)
- Some lectures took awhile to reach the homepage. They should be available as soon as possible. Lab2 was also to slow to be published.» (Rather well)
- At least considering it"s a new course.» (Rather well)
- The summaries of the lectures are excellent.» (Very well)

Study climate

10. How were the opportunities for asking questions and getting help?

22 svarande

Very poor»0 0%
Rather poor»5 22%
Rather good»4 18%
Very good»5 22%
I did not seek help»8 36%

Genomsnitt: 3.72

- especially bad regarding help from the teaching assistant.» (Rather poor)
- We had minimal feedback on assignments. I understand that the TA workload was likely very high, but as it was you might as well skip having submitted assignments. For the first lab we got no feedback whatsoever and for the second the single comment was based on a misunderstanding on the assistant"s part (we wrote 20x more time taken for some implementation, TA read 20x faster). Assignments are a great teaching opportunity for students and I feel this course squandered much of that opportunity.» (Rather poor)
- Case in point: no one has used Repa, so no one has written anything about it. Parallel functional programming is a narrow field, so it is hard to find information.» (Rather poor)
- I tried to get some help but didn"t get any answer. » (Rather poor)
- All the staff were very helpful.» (Very good)
- I was able to finish most work without much help due to good references and such.» (I did not seek help)

11. How well has cooperation between you and your fellow students worked?

23 svarande

Very poorly»2 8%
Rather poorly»0 0%
Rather well»4 17%
Very well»15 65%
I did not seek cooperation»2 8%

Genomsnitt: 3.65

- I ended up doing the labs on my own. Which was abit though.» (I did not seek cooperation)

12. How was the course workload?

23 svarande

Too low»0 0%
Low»2 8%
Adequate»13 56%
High»8 34%
Too high»0 0%

Genomsnitt: 3.26

- Quite mild. I easily finished both optional assignments (sorting, Barnes-Hut) and still didn"t really use the amount of hours a course generally should.» (Low)
- There should have been more exercises to do. I found it sometimes hard to study because there were nothing left to do. » (Low)
- As mentioned before some things could have been moved earlier so not everything ended up in the end.» (Adequate)
- The elective sorting competition is a great idea. It"s there for those who want to program a bit more.» (Adequate)
- Because the assignments were squeezed toghether, would have been better to spread it over the hole period.» (High)
- It was normal but since the lab deadlines were short, there were periods when the workload were really high.» (High)
- Haskell is hard, installation is hard. » (High)
- It was high because of the late releases of the labs, otherwise the workload was "lagom" (not to much, not to little)» (High)

13. How was the total workload this study period?

23 svarande

Too low»0 0%
Low»1 4%
Adequate»11 47%
High»8 34%
Too high»3 13%

Genomsnitt: 3.56

- Together with compiler construction.» (Adequate)
- Three courses could be completed without any hassle.» (Adequate)
- Too high in the end. But adequate on average !» (Adequate)
- Mostly because of the bachelor thesis» (High)
- I was taking 3 courses and had a 4 person group project with 2 dropouts in one of those, so one should perhaps not read too much into this.» (High)
- I took an extra course, so it"s my fault.» (Too high)

Summarizing questions

14. What is your general impression of the course?

23 svarande

Poor»0 0%
Fair»2 8%
Adequate»2 8%
Good»13 56%
Excellent»6 26%

Genomsnitt: 4 (bidrar till totalt genomsnitt/jämförelseindex)

- - too much hassle with immature tools was boring» (Fair)
- There were some bumpy bits, but overall a nice and interesting course.» (Good)
- I think this will be a excellent course next year when the goals are fulfilled.» (Good)
- Very interesting subject, excellent lectures, good course for a first attempt. Assignments need work.» (Good)
- Very good for a first year run.» (Good)
- It was very, very interesting. But hard to find information needed for the labs. I would have liked some more guidelines for how to program, for example where to put force and inline in Repa.» (Good)
- One of the best courses I"ve taken here.» (Excellent)
- It is excellent but it has flaws. I want more lectures, normal lectures with slow explaning for us that have little experence of Haskell and Erlang.» (Excellent)
- No other course takes up the parallel functionality in Haskell, the "Parallel programming" course only make use of Erlang. This course takes it a step further and was the knowladge that I searched for. Thumbs up! » (Excellent)

15. What should definitely be preserved to next year?

- Great guest lecturers. Good breadth of knowledge & curriculum. »
- The guest lectures»
- Having guest lectures from high-profile industry people. »
- Erlang stuff»
- Erlang»
- Lecturers and guest lecturers, and the creative labs!»
- John »
- The erlang assignments was very good in my oppinion.»
- Most of the course structure was excellent from the get go. »
- The different solutions to parallelize Haskell, except Repa. Competitions and tutorial. »
- Erlang! The competition part was exciting.»
- The guest lectures was interesting and should be kept. »
- The varied guest lectures, if possible. The use of different frameworks and languages.»
- Guest lectures! I love it. Always more intresting to hear from the people who developed and implemented things directly than from another source. Of course the other lectures are a good complement to this.»
- Disfributed erlang was really impressive!»
- Competitions are always fun to participate in and will make you think about the the assignment one step futher.»
- I think the erlang lab was really god. »

16. What should definitely be changed to next year?

- Exam should be one question less, there is barely enough time to answer 7 questions adequately. A demonstration of running the code on a different computing platform would be great (ie. GPU). Earlier lab handouts. »
- (All) labs can start earlier. The written exam was too long.»
- Get the labs out in study week 1»
- Too much Haskell that do not work.»
- Listening to either John or Mary is a pleasure, so perhaps more lectures? Unfortunately, I"m not quite sure what should be in them. Some GPU stuff, perhaps?»
- Remove the tutorial. Some of the algorithms we did in haskell didn"t get a very well speedup even though they ran parallel, some algorithms were you actually notcie the speedup would be nice.»
- Release the labs earlier.»
- Repa, it seemed to experimental. More erlang. Some of the early lecturs seemed to be redundant (threadscope for example). More competitions and tutorials (they were much more fun than ordinary labs/excercises)!»
- more exercises»
- This is a course about parallel functional programming, not english academic writing. Therefore the lab part about writing a tutorial should not be obligatory.»
- I would like to see a bit less Repa and preferably a bit more Erlang. »
- Add some GPU-based examples. Specify the assignments better, give more assignment feedback.»
- Labs need to be finished for publication before the course starts. Abit more Erlang. Get a parallel machine to work on, and/or a working cluster.»
- I personally didn"t like the tutorial»
- I missed one Erlang assignment. There where two Haskell assignments but only one in Erlang. I think that the tutorial wasn"t THAT funny to do. Maybe another programming exercise would be better. »
- Maybe data-parallel programming could be done on a GPU? Yes, I didn"t like Repa.»
- I found writing a tutorial didn"t help me understand anything better. You just wrote done stuff you already knew. Also some of the algorithms that you had to parallelize didn"t perform better than sequential onces. This because the time complexity got worse with the parallelized versions. Maybe you could have implemented the algorithms in another way to avoid this problem but poor solutions were accepted and no feedback was given. Overall there were very little feedback given. You didn"t even knew if the solution you handed in was a good or could get improved, it just got accepted. »

17. Additional comments

- Thanks for a great course!»
- Mary and John are very nice to have as teachers. But I think it was too much focus on Haskell and its problem rather on the subject and problems of parallelism.»
- I want to thank all the course staff and lecturers for an excellent course!»
- Please let this course continue next year.»
- John is a great lecturer.»
- Great teachers! Good guest lectures! A great course! »
- Good job with the course! Clearly one of the most interesting I have taken.»
Genomsnitt totalt för detta stycke: 4

Genomsnitt totalt för alla frågor: 4
Beräknat jämförelseindex: 0.75

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