/ NUS , EDUCATION , EE4210 , SSS1207

NUS Fourth Year | Second Semester in Review

It’s a rather bittersweet moment as I realise this will be the last semester/module review I will be writing as part of undergraduate years. Four years have rather rushed past me and as I look back it seems somewhat surreal. At the same time, it is a pretty nice feeling to have finally graduated!

This semester was pretty light in terms of workload. I took EE4210, SSS1207 and continued on with my FYP from the last semester.

Here’s the review.

EE4210 - Computer Communication Networks II

I must say EE4210 was pretty interesting. It covered many of the things which I have always wondered but just never got the time to understand. For example, how does Netflix handle such a huge load of traffic from second to second. How does our emails reach us? How does YouTube manage gargantuan amounts of network traffic?

As the module progressed it help me understand and appreciate the workings of the technologies we have always taken for granted, be it the Internet, email, Wi-Fi or anything in that regard. In contrast to part one of this series (EE3204), this module was heavily focused on the upper layers of the OSI model, especially the Application Layer. It also covers multimedia, mobility (how cellular works) and some network security.

Assessment wise, it is divided into two CAs and one final exam as follows:

  • CA1 (20%)
  • CA2 (20%)
  • Final exam (60%)

Both CA1 and CA2 are programming assignments. The first was on implementing a server and client from scratch and the second was on implementing and subsequently preventing a Denial-of-Service (DoS) attack on a simulated server. Both CAs were really interesting.

The final exam is closed-book. It should be fine if you managed the tutorials well.

Lectures are web-casted. Since lectures were at 9am, this was a life-saver on many days.

I took the module under Prof. Biplap. I found his explanations and examples crystal clear and succinct. If you put the effort to attend/watch and understand lectures, there should be no problem in grasping the content.

Grade Obtained: A+

Difficulty (out of 5): ☆☆☆

SSS1207 - Natural Heritage of Singapore

To be honest, I took this module because it felt like a light module with MCQ-based assessment. But a word of warning here - this module is not light. You need to put in a lot of effort in reading material, understanding and most importantly remembering where to find the relevant information. It is really content-heavy.

Lectures are not webcasted, and many exam questions can come from the lecture content, some of which is not covered in the compulsory textbook. The so-called testable content can come from videos shown during lectures, guest speakers’ presentations, the textbook, lecture slides or anything the lecturer mentions. As such, the challenge here is really about knowing where you can find the relevant information to answer a question. Yup, you need some mental and physical organisation skills. Tag your textbook, prepare some condensed notes or whatever works for you - just know where to find what.

That being said, this module is really enjoyable. Both Prof Amy and Prof Ng are super enthusiastic about this domain and they are passionate nature-lovers. In the process of this module, I became somewhat more appreciative of our natural heritage in Singapore. I never knew that Singapore, a small city-state, has so much of biodiversity! In fact, some species are only found here and not anywhere else in the world (known as endemic species). As a human being, I felt some accumulation of guilt as I learnt the numerous ways we harm nature, resulting in the loss of millions of species and irreversible damage to our ecosystem.

Assessment is divided into CAs (60%) and final exams (40%) as follows:

  • CAs (60%)
    • Mid-terms - 30 MCQs (30%)
    • Poster (25%)
    • Forum participation on IVLE (5%)
  • Final exams (40%)
    • 60 MCQs

Overall, though being content heavy, it’s still a manageable module. I really enjoyed going to the lectures and learning about nature and Singapore’s biodiversity. It certainly opens up your eyes to appreciate the natural heritage of Singapore.

Grade Obtained: A-

Difficulty (out of 5): ☆☆☆☆

That’s all folks! Cheers and wish my juniors all the best.