We're a little crazy, about science!

First class of the summer

I’m teaching again! Okay, I didn’t exactly stop, I mentor and do other things, but tomorrow is the first class of the summer that I’m teaching. Which means today I need to finish the slides I’m using, review the materials, and get everything ready so everything will go smoothly. There’s a lot of moving parts that have to happen and while I’m not particularly new to this, it will be the first time teaching the topic. What topic is that? Well…

Looking back at my journey thus far it’s kind of crazy to think of where I started from and where I am now. A lot has changed in just months way from finishing year three. I’ve learned a lot, done some cool stuff, and I am in the process of getting to do even cooler stuff! Basically I’m happy for the moment, but that changes minute by minute so I’ll enjoy the reprieve when I can get it. Since I will be teaching tomorrow I need to make sure that I have everything ready and don’t worry, I’ll be posting up what I taught and how you can learn it too!

First I guess I can just come out and say that I’m teaching independent component analysis (or ICA for short). I’m pretty sure I mentioned that in previous posts, so not the big reveal it could be, but I wasn’t trying to keep it a surprise. The major thing is that this will be the first time I’ve formally taught this subject. I’ve posted on it before (here), but that was more for me I think. Tomorrow will be more focused and better organized (hopefully) on just ICA, its uses, its limitations, some of the more interesting uses for the technique, and why it’s important. Basically it’s an hour(ish) long crash course into what the heck ICA is and why we use it.

Ironically enough, in the lab I’m probably the most versed on the subject now. I’ve been working with it for awhile now, learned to do some interesting things, and basically am doing stuff with the technique no one else in the lab is super f familiar with. It feels so weird saying that right now I almost want to delete the paragraph and start talking about something else, almost. That’s the reason why I was tasked with teaching the class and I already gave a brief overview of the process to one the the undergrads I mentor. She had no experience with EEG so basically her knowledge on the subject was on par with the target audience and it went surprisingly well! I’m guessing from that early success tomorrow shouldn’t be a huge issue and hopefully everyone will be able to understand it.

So the game plan for tomorrow. Open with an overview of what ICA is, where it comes from, and why we find it so useful. Then get into what it can do, when to use it, and some of the limitations. I’ll finish with some of the more advanced uses that we probably (probably) won’t have the summer students use, but why not touch on the topic anyway to help them understand other applications. Then finally we will jump into some real world examples of how to apply the technique and they will get a chance to play the ICA “game” to test their abilities. I have two hours for the full thing and I suspect that I will spend 30-45 minutes lecturing, 10 minutes or so answering questions and roughly 10-15 minutes going over the game (this one).

The nice thing about ICA is it’s all about patterns and once you get the hang of it, things go pretty easily. Interestingly enough the consequences of ICA are something called dipoles, but we’re breaking up the ICA lecture and the dipole lecture this year which makes me wonder if they will be working with some of the more advanced stuff. Since the two things are so closely related it’s the only reason I can think of to have them broken up. It’s like breaking up math into addition and subtraction, it just seems odd to me.

In any case, being able to focus on something incredibly specific will be helpful to both me and to the summer interns learning the topic since it will give me more time to go into detail about how it all works. Tomorrow’s post will come after the class so hopefully it will go smoothly and I can refine anything I need to for the post.

With that, these slides won’t make themselves, so it’s off to work I go.


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