Note: This post is a fortnight overdue 'cause its author was lazy getting relevant images. This should dispel any myths about an Olin time travel project, as the author promises that had he the means the travel back in time and post it on Halloween, he would have.
This Halloween, I walked through the dining hall en route to a sandwich and couldn't help smirking at one of the Jack O'Lanterns sitting along the hallway. Being a new arrival and not brainwashed by Olin culture, I immediately stopped and thought to myself "How strange." and "Why would anyone at Olin be afraid of this?"
I call it the PI-umpkin (after the control system it models) and find it an excellent segue to a common piece of Olin knowledge and non-obvious qualities of the Olin community. Simulink is responsible for the strange shapes carved on the pumpkin, and my fellow first years and I find ourselves spending a lot of quality time with Simulink. Simulink is a math modeling program from The MathWorks. Simulink can model PI control (the pumpkin); Simulink can model the "detumbling" and sun alignment of the Cloud CubeSat (very nifty Olin-Nasa Research Group Project); Simulink could probably model and control the drying of your laundry.Perhaps the coolest thing Simulink can do is allow you to create differential equations just by piecing together several "blocks" (for example, the sideways triangles above, gain blocks) in a way that represents measurable values of the system and the relationship between these values.So what does the PI-umpkin say about Olin? It says that Oliners take a lot of the same classes (and with 300 students, we have to). It says that Oliners blur lines between work and play, between class and social. And perhaps best of all, the PI-umpkin shows that we are proud of Olin and--in the greatest spirit of satire--like to make fun of ourselves.
I mean, really, how many colleges do you know of with students who regularly wear shirts like this: