Week 6: An Explosive Holiday

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Sunday, July 10, 2022


Benjamin Johnson

Once again, I had a terrific bit of fun this week.  The highlight of the week was definitely the firework show at the mall for Independence Day.  We first went down to Constitution Ave to watch the parade, then grabbed a bit of lunch at Duke’s Grocery, and finally made our way to the Washington Monument to find a spot on the lawn.  We enjoyed one of the best firework shows I’ve ever seen, a true feat of pyrotechnics. 

On Tuesday, Brad Conrad came down to Alexandria with Janessa to meet my mentors and I for lunch.  We went to a nearby restaurant and savored a delicious meal before returning to work.  Thanks to Brad for treating us!  That night, I played another round of Dungeons and Dragons with the other interns, so thanks to Taylor for DMing again. 

On Wednesday, we planned to go kayaking on the Potomac again, but the weather was unfortunately too sketchy, so we’ll have to put that off until next week.  On Thursday, I went to a movie theater with a few other interns to see the new Thor movie.  It was very funny like the previous Thor film, and I’m glad Taika Waititi was tapped to direct again.

On Friday, we returned Quigley’s for happy hour, as is becoming our weekly ritual, then returned to the dorms for some games.  On Saturday, my parents came to visit, and they took me to a showing of To Kill a Mockingbird at the Kennedy Center.  It was a beautiful performance of a powerful play, and I would highly recommend attending if you get the chance. 

At work, I continued attempting to implement the feed-forward training technique for modeling the Van der Pol system, but to no real avail.  My mentors decided that this technique may not be fruitful, so we’ve sidelined it for now.  They instructed me to move on to developing the output weight matrix averaging for a different system of equations, the Lorenz system. 

This algorithm is very similar to the averaging technique for the Van der Pol system, which I documented in more detail in previous blog posts, so for elaboration you can read my earlier posts.  Since they’re so similar, it was relatively quick and easy to get the code working for the Lorenz system.  As of now, the program can model the Lorenz system fairly accurately for set sigma and beta parameter values while the rho parameter is varied.  Ultimately, the goal will be to model the system while varying all three parameters.  I’m not sure exactly what the next step will be in the coming week, but I believe I will either be testing the code’s efficacy in its current state or expanding the code to work for a variety of all three parameters. 

Signing off til next week!

Benjamin Johnson