Review Comment

[ELEN E4810] Digital Signal Processing

January 14, 2015

Wright, John
[ELEN E4810] Digital Signal Processing

If peeing your pants is cool, consider Professor Wright to be Miles Davis. Yeah, that doesn't make sense at all, but you get my point -- Professor Wright might very well be the biggest weapon amongst the Columbia faculty. Dude's an absolute torpedo. He'll rifle into class and immediately shoot out a handful of jolly "good morning's" and "aaawlright's" towards the class. Shortly thereafter, he'll write the words "good morning" in the most illegibly legible handwriting on the most dysfunctionally functional smart board. In no time, you'll have your tail between your legs (at least I did) as you wait for the lethal weaponry that Wright has in stock for the remainder of the hour. Well I'm writing to tell you what exactly that is.

The bottom line is Wright is well-prepared, helpful, and always available outside of class; he's also an extremely intelligent dude who possesses a solid ability to explain challenging concepts to students. His pithy lecture notes are available online, but it behooves you to read the text to clear up concepts from the class notes. The highlight of the course comes at the end of each lecture when Wright recites the following from memory in an angry tone: “Galadriel his sister went not with him to Nargothrond, for in Doriath dwelt Celeborn, kinsman of Thingol, and there was great love between them. Therefore she remained in the Hidden Kingdom, and abode with Melian, and of her learned great lore and wisdom concerning Middle-earth.” As he spoke these words, the class would get jacked up and begin grunting curse words in a sacred middle-earth language that no one (including myself) could decipher. In order to mitigate these outbursts, Wright would sometimes randomly select a student to deliver a Lord of the Rings quote to the class. Unfortunately, I was never summoned. But basically, I heard if you recited a legendary quote from memory, you were likely to receive an A- or better in the course.

Hope that helps! :)

Workload:

- about 7 HWs (drops 2): MATLAB based questions tended to be challenging because the TA comes up with them and the directions are often unclear
- Midterm: fair
- Final: easier than the midterm
- Final project: I recommend you choose a project that's manageable and complete it. But if you want to solve the world's most challenging problem without solving it, I won't stop you.

I determined Wright's final grading methodology to be very fair solely based on the grade that I received. I also recommend the course.

December 26, 2009

Wang, Xiaodong
[ELEN E4810] Digital Signal Processing

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Let's get the bad news out of the way:

1. He's HEARTLESS.

Do not expect any concilation from him. If you made an honest mistake and wrote on both sides of your formula sheet instead of only one, he will give you a 0, and will announce it to the class. If you plead him to count the final more, he'll just say "No, I'm not changing the grade breakdown." If you ask him if it's at all possible to pass the class, he'll reply with "You know the grade breakdown, go calculate your grade."

He will also tell you that he does not curve, that he will not answer any question regarding what grade you deserved.

2. He thinks we're RETARDED.

If you ask him some question that he considers dumb in class, he'll stare at you for a while, then elaborate by showing 2 more steps, and then say "If you don't understand how I went from here to here, drop the course."

3. The TA is a Chinese PhD student.

That means unless you can speak Chinese to the TA, he's not very nice, and he'll hardly understand what you mean.

Now the good news:
1. Tough guy has a soft side.

On the last day of class, he will tell you that your final will override the midterm grade ON THE LAST DAY OF CLASS! So if you bomb the midterm, don't be alarmed -- you will get a second chance.

He DOES curve. His curve is weird though. He calculates the grade that everyone is supposed to get, and then he shifts everyone's grade up. My real grade was 2/3 of a letter grade higher than the straight out average according to the grade breakdown So don't believe the bullshit he tells you. He's trying to get you to study harder. Don't be discouraged.

2. Xiaodong Wang is a great instructor.

His organization is crazy good. His notes are very good, and he doesn't ask anything on the final that he doesn't cover in class. If you understand everything he said in class (easier said than done) then you're fine.

3. The TA is a Chinese PhD Student.

Also a good news, because if you speak Chinese to him, he'll love you. If you're among the lucky ones, then go suck up to him like crazy. He'll try to do everything he can to help you out.

Workload:

1 problem set a week that consists mostly of textbook questions and a few (around 2-3) matlab questions. The textbook questions can be tricky, especially if you understand what's going on in class, but the matlab questions are usually a joke.

December 10, 2008

Ellis, Dan
[ELEN E4810] Digital Signal Processing

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Professor Ellis is without a doubt the worst professor I have ever had. If you want a good introduction to DSP, look elsewhere.

The course is good for the first few weeks, when it is an extension of Signals and Systems. After that point, there is no hope. The lectures are 100% powerpoint, with some Matlab demos mixed in. He skips around between slides and moves much too quickly. If you expect any effort on his part, you will be disappointed. Ellis doesn't care if you learn, and it shows.

For grad students: if you've taken some sort of DSP before, this course probably won't be so bad. Other undergrads and I were overwhelmed, but the older folks seemed to be doing OK.

Workload:

Decent - HW every week, plus a project. The exams are difficult.

Directory Data

Dept/Subj Directory Course Professor Year Semester Time Section
ELEN / ELEN ELEN ELEN E4810: Digital Signal Processing Daniel Ellis 2012 Fall MW / 10:10-11:25 AM 1
ELEN / ELEN ELEN ELEN E4810: Digital Signal Processing Daniel Ellis 2010 Fall TR / 11:00-12:15 PM 1
ELEN / ELEN ELEN ELEN E4810: Digital Signal Processing Xiaodong Wang 2009 Fall TR / 11:00-12:15 PM 1
ELEN / ELEN ELEN ELEN E4810: Digital Signal Processing Daniel Ellis 2008 Fall TR / 11:00-12:15 PM 1
ELEN / ELEN ELEN ELEN E4810: Digital Signal Processing Daniel Ellis 2007 Fall TR / 11:00-12:15 PM 1
ELEN / ELEN ELEN ELEN E4810: Digital Signal Processing Daniel Ellis 2006 Fall TR / 11:00-12:15 PM 1
ELEN / ELEN ELEN ELEN E4810: Digital Signal Processing Daniel Ellis 2004 Fall TR / 11:00-12:15 PM 1
ELEN / ELEN ELEN ELEN E4810: Digital Signal Processing Dan Ellis 2003 Fall TR / 1:20- 2:35 PM 1
ELEN / ELEN ELEN ELEN E4810: Digital Signal Processing Dan Ellis 2002 Fall R / 4:10- 6:40 PM 1
ELEN / ELEN ELEN ELEN E4810: Digital Signal Processing Dan Ellis 2001 Fall R / 4:10- 6:40 PM 1