Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Note From Andy Brown

Dear Udacians,

I'm writing to you from Europe to tell you about my upcoming class!

Too often introductory physics courses require students to memorize lists of equations. This is a travesty. Don't get me wrong, equations are important, they are the mathematical tools we use to describe reality.

But it's reality, not the tools, that makes physics truly beautiful.

Andy sets up his shot in front of the Tower of Pisa 
(Photo: Clay from the Bay)
Step outside and take a look. Thousands of years ago, hydrogen atoms in the sun collided and fused, releasing energy in the form of photons (light). Those photons collided with other atoms in the sun that were constantly being absorbed and re-emitted. They gradually meandered towards the outer surface of the sun. Over thousands of years and eight minutes ago some of them left the sun, never to return. 
Grant and Andy work out the perfect shot
Clay from the Bay)
A tiny fraction of these escaped photons had a trajectory to intercept the earth's orbit. Of those photons that made it to the earth, another small fraction happened to strike the walls, trees, and people around you. Of those, another fraction happened to be deflected, following a path exactly towards your eye, allowing you to experience--visually--the incredible world around you. 

This is just one of the countless stories that are constantly unfolding in our universe, and it is the job of the physicist to understand and quantify them. Starting June 25, I will be teaching Udacity's first physics course: Landmarks in Physics. This course will be structured around some of the huge problems which have faced physicists over the years. I will be traveling throughout Europe with a film crew, putting you in the historic and geographic context of these problems. In each unit you will learn, on location, how to solve these age-old mind benders.

For example, how big around is the earth? Of course, today I could just type that sentence into Google and have an answer in milliseconds. But thousands of years ago, when Eratosthenes asked himself the same question, how did he solve it? These are the sorts of questions that we will be exploring in this course. I hope you join me! Enroll now!
Prof. Andy Brown
"That's a wrap," Andy and Grant make their 
way home after a shoot (Photo: Clay from the Bay)

Udacity expands course offerings: Five premiere classes will include physics and mathematics

Udacity is excited to announce five premiere classes that are now open for enrollment! This time around, we are expanding the breadth of our courses by offering classes in physics, Intro to Physics, and mathematics, Intro to Statistics and Logic & Discrete Mathematics

Premiere courses will begin again on June 25, 2012. Each week for seven weeks a new unit video will be released but students are not expected to stay on this course trajectory since we know everyone schedule is different.

In addition to our new course offerings, all of our previous classes will be open enrollment, which means you can enroll anytime and start the class at anytime.

Check out our new classes!

Intro to Physics: Landmarks in Physics Learn the basics of physics on location in Italy, the Netherlands and the UK, by answering some of the discipline’s major questions from over the last 2000 years. Enroll now!

Intro to Statistics: Making Decisions Based on Data Statistics is about extracting meaning from data and in this class you will learn techniques for visualizing relationships in data and systematic techniques for understanding the relationships using mathematics. Enroll now!

Logic & DiscreteMathematics: Foundations of Computing In this course learn the basics of Boolean algebra and discrete mathematics with an emphasis on their connections with computer science. Enroll now!

Software Testing: How to Make Software Fail Learn how to catch bugs and break software as you discover different testing methods that will help you build better software. Enroll now!
Algorithms: Crunching Social Networks Every played the Kevin Bacon game? This class will teach you how it works by giving you an introduction to the design and analysis of algorithms that enable you to discover how individuals are connected. Enroll now!

What classes are you going to sign up for?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Katy Reichelt on video editing and the learning process

Udacity’s course videos are a cornerstone to our instructional model. Every class we offer provides about 50 minutes per unit of recorded course videos that include lectures, quizzes, homework assignments and office hours.  While the accumulated time of the videos for each unit is about the length of a university class, the time spent creating these videos is almost quadruple that amount – but you would never know it.

Udacity's video editing manager, Katy Reichelt, is the mastermind behind these course videos; she leads a team of talented video editors and guides professors through the recording process. 

How to become a video editor
Reichelt graduated with a degree in architecture from the University of Illinois and made her way from the Windy City to Berkley, CA. Post graduation, Reichelt struggled to find employment in her field. Soon she found a job with 510 Systems, an engineering company that develops hardware and software for mapping. (The company went on to develop autonomous cars and was soon acquired by Google).

If you live in the bay area you may have seen vans with rooftop sensors that drive around slowly gathering location data Katy manned one and quickly became familiar with her new home. 510 Systems is an engineering company that collects information for positioning, navigation, machine control, and robotics. Along the way Reichlet learned a lot about computer science: “As I worked there I learned computer science. Because all of their work is so new, I had to be able to interface with the computer quickly, so they taught me how to write scripts and I wrote some programs for them.”

Through her work at 510 Systems Reichelt met David Stavens, one of Udacity’s founders, and began working for Udacity. “I consider myself the first Udacity employee because I was a contract employee in the beginning when we were promoting the AI class.” 

Katy quickly acquired a new skill set, moving into the role of video editor and producing lecture videos for the class. Her training was rigorous: “David taught me everything he knew, which was about 10 minutes of training using Premiere, and then I was editing the quarter-long class.”

A short history of Udacity
In 2011, Udacity founders, Sebastian Thrun, David Stavens and Mike Sokolsky developed an initial model for online university classes with Introduction to Artificial Intelligence, a web-based course that was offered in partnership with Stanford Engineering. Professor Thrun and Peter Norvig led the semester-long course, drawing 160,000 students.

Following the AI class improvements were made to increase class and recording quality. Reichelt worked with Professor Dave Evans, Udacity’s VP of education, to test out new recording methods. Along the way, one snag sparked Reichelt to innovate a clean and clever way of filming lectures.  “Dave was a lefty, so you couldn’t read anything he wrote because he would just have his hand in the way. His initial footage wasn’t usable, there were a lot of issues with pen and paper, its not a very flexible medium so if something is messed up, it stays messed up, there is nothing a video editor could do about it.”

Then came the tablet, an interactive pen and paper, where what you write on the tablet appears on your computer screen. Hours and hours of experimentation using the tablet to find the lighting, camera angles and filming techniques yielded the video setup that Udacity uses today. Take a look at the difference in quality between the AI class and today’s classes, all thanks to Reichelt:

Good video editing and the learning process
When asked what the impact of good video editing can have on the learning process, Reichlet states, “Something that I’ve learned is that when you do video editing right, nobody thinks you did anything at all.” Producing a seamless lecture video requires Reichelt and her team of video editors, as well as the Udacity Teaching Assistants (TAs), to put the recordings through a careful review process.

The process begins when instructors record their lectures, which usually begets between three and five hours of footage. You can read about this process from an instructor's perspective in Professor John Regehr’s blog post Recording a Class at Udacity

After the instructors have recorded all of their lectures, video editors scan the raw footage to remove any empty spaces or other unusable footage. About two-thirds of the raw footage is removed so that what is left is a coherent lesson that is passed on to the TAs to review. Each TA reviews their class’s videos for content accuracy and fluidity. Their suggestions are sent back to the video editors for another editing go-around. Then, it is released to Udacity students.

Room for Improvement
Reichlet is determined to continue developing the video editing process and notes that budgeting more overhead time with the footage allows editors more time to work with instructors, enhancing their lecture videos. As with many startups, Udacity continues to seek out the balance between quick production and quality production. Ultimately, her goal is to efficiently make all of the videos as engaging and interesting as possible. “I want us to present our instructors in their best light and I want to give students everything that the instructors have to offer.”

She encourages professors to shoot interviews, organize their content in as clear a way as possible and add drawings that illustrate concepts whenever possible – remember Sebastian’s robot in Programming a Robotic Car and Dave’s bunnies in Building a Search Engine?

With these and other ideas in mind, Reichlet is confident that Udacity's course videos can only continue to get better. A well-edited video keeps students focused on the material, enabling them to move from one concept to another without distraction and can be viewed repeatedly.

In addition to her own ideas, Reichlet says that since Udacity's launch in February, students have provided helpful comments with respect to video content. "I'm reading the forums and looking for feedback on videos. We want them to be the best, easy to look at and listen to."

Your education is in your hands, so tell us what we can do for you. If you have any suggestions for how we can improve our videos, or if there are things you would like to see more of, please leave a comment in the section below and katy will be sure to see them.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What's the deal with the Profile Page?

Here at Udacity we want to improve people's lives through education. Across the globe business models are moving online, making the need for aspiring employees to acquire computer science skills at an all time high. On the other side of the coin, companies everywhere are desperately seeking talented computer scientists and engineers

In addition to providing free classes for students, Udacity knows that connecting students with employers is key. Currently, we are working to build relationships with trusted employers so that we can connect them with our students. So far we have found a lot of companies that are interested in recruiting our students. These companies include: Twitter, Google, QualComm, Bank of America, Facebook, Amazon, BUMP, Mozilla, BMW, Bosch, and SpaceX.

One way you, as a Udacity student, can stay informed about potential employment opportunities is to fill out your profile page. 

To do so is easy, just login to your Udacity account and select Profile Settings from the Welcome drop down menu in the upper right-hand corner of the screen: 

On the next screen you will see your profile page. The top portion of this page is your Social Profile, which can only be seen by you, unless you check the box in the Privacy section (details below). 

Click Upload Profile Picture to associate an image with your information and begin filling out your profile details by clicking the Edit button at the bottom. From there, you can update general information about yourself: name, location, birthday, and other optional fields -- gender, a bio and your website.

Below your Social Profile you will see your Professional Profile and a Privacy section. Within the Professional Profile you can choose to Upload Resume so that you always have it on hand alongside your Udacity profile. Also, if you have studied previously you can choose to include the institution and your subject of study by clicking Edit in the Education section. If you want potential employers to be able to view this information you must check the Share Info box in the Privacy section below your Professional Profile, otherwise this information WILL NOT be available to anyone but you.

In the Privacy section you can choose to make your Social Profile and Professional Profile information available to the companies that were listed above (and more to come). Udacity maintains responsibility for screening and selecting the companies who are interested in hiring Udacity students. 

The Privacy section reads, "Check this box if you would like to make your profile information (specifically, your name, education, location, and resume) available to selected and screened companies interested in hiring Udacity students. Leaving this box unchecked means this information WILL NOT be shared with any external companies."

By filling out your profile page you can help yourself and help Udacity keep the ball rolling as we continue to network with companies interested in hiring our students. If you have any more questions about the profile page please leave them in the comments below.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Assistant Instructors talk: Tips for finals

Can you believe it's already week six? This means final exams are right around the corner.

Studying for finals at a traditional university usually requires hours upon hours of review. If you have gone through midterms or finals at a static university you know the scene where suddenly every seat in the library is taken and you have to carry around a semester's worth of lecture notes everywhere you go.

Luckily, taking an online course at Udacity is a unique experience, right down to the final exam. This means that taking Udacity's final exam will be a little different than you may expect. Exams are available for a week and are essentially open book (or open video lecture). With this in mind, Udacity's ardent TAs have a few small suggestions as you embark upon your final exam. 

"The purpose of the exam is for you to test how much you have learned in the past six weeks. Please respect that other people want to do it on their own by not posting solutions or discussing ways of solving the final exam problems until after the exam is due."

-Gundega Dekena, Programming a Robotic Car
"Make sure to schedule enough time to take the exam since there is a deadline."

- Job Evers, Applied Cryptography 

"If you are stuck on a problem during the exam, you should look through quizzes and homework problems to find a similar problem and then go from there. If you are still stuck, go back to previous discussions on the forum to reference relevant conversation threads."

- Andy Brown, Design of Computer Programs
"However limited you are on time, take a look at all of the questions the first day they are available, even if you won't tackle them right at that moment, give you brain a chance to mull over the ideas while you are doing other stuff."

-Sarah Norell, Building a Search Engine

"Wes's final unit, unit 7, is a review for the final. Going through that unit again is a great way to fine tune your understanding of key concepts."

-Peter Chapman, Programming Languages

"For CS253 there will be a lot of overlap between the final and the homework assignments. If you complete all the homework assignments, you will be prepared for the final."

-Sean Bennett, Web Applications Engineering

Friday, May 18, 2012

Steve Huffman has something to teach you

Sometimes, the most valuable lessons come from experience. For Steve Huffman, learning to build web applications has given him the opportunity to co-found two startups and gain valuable knowledge that he’s ready to share with Udacity students.

Steve Huffman, co-founder of two startups, Reddit, a site where users can share links to any and everything, as well as Hipmunk, a site that lets you book travel and hotels, is a recent addition to Udacity’s teaching staff.

Huffman brings a fresh perspective to the online classroom in CS253 Web Application Engineering, a course that walks students through the process of building their very own blog application to share with the world. Huffman teaches from experience, showing students how to approach building web apps in a way that assuages the potential challenges students may face.

“This class is a lot of lessons that I learned, on my own, working on Reddit. There were so many pieces to writing web applications and I didn’t really understand any of them. And so, this class is basically a summary of all the things I learned through experience.”

The road to startup stardom

Huffman’s journey to startup success began with an idea and the support of his programming hero, Paul Graham. Graham is the founder of Y-Combinator, a company that makes small investments in return for small stakes in the companies they fund. In 2005, Huffman along with his co-founder, Alexis Ohanian, took their idea and applied to Y-Combinator.  After their idea was rejected, they worked with Graham to develop a new idea.

“We applied to Y-Combinator with a completely different idea from Reddit and were rejected. Then Paul invited me and Alexis back and said, ‘If you want to work on something else, we’ll fund that, I just don’t like your previous idea.’ So we had a brainstorming session and out of that came this notion that we would build a site where people could find out what’s new and popular online.”

The two set to work, living and operating on a shoestring budget of about $12,000.  Huffman recalls that, “The odds were decidedly against us, the idea was literally no bigger than to find what’s new and interesting online.”

Beginning on June 1, after just three weeks, Huffman and Ohanian put the first version of Reddit online.  Admittedly, the two did not know much about building web applications, so their first rollout was really clunky. Initially, they submitted all of the content; but within six months, after users had been interacting with the site their simple idea took on a life of its own.

“For a while we were just pretending it was working until it actually started working. The whole notion of the way Reddit works, the submissions, the voting, the comments and all of that stuff came organically. Having real users is really cool and they can do really amazing things.”

How do you build a web app?

For Reddit, users are the singular driving force behind the site’s success. So, when it comes to learning how to build web applications, what is there to know? How can you create a web app that will reach millions? As a programmer you are at a good starting point. A moderate amount of computer science knowledge is required for CS253 Web Applications Engineering, which focuses mainly on systems and web architecture.

Students enrolled in CS253 are introduced to how the web works, HTTP and web applications. With the goal of building a blog application in mind, Huffman leads students through all of the necessary aspects for the application to be user-friendly and accessible to millions. This involves learning about how to obtain and process user information, creating databases and storing information, security protocols, using application-programming interfaces (APIs), and most importantly how to grow and sustain the app.

Building web apps requires very few resources, and this is what keeps Huffman enthusiastic about the process. “I think web apps are nice, in particular because the resources you need for starting a real company that changes the world in a big way are so few. Not everybody can build a self-driving car because you need the car and robotics. But web apps you just need a computer. You don’t even really need a computer, you can use somebody else’s.”

Two business models

While it’s true that the resources required to build a web app are few, the story changes when it comes to starting the business. Huffman’s companies provide good examples of two very different business models. The two companies also shed light on varying degrees of potential that your web applications project can achieve.

Reddit makes its money through advertising; plain and simple. But if advertising is going to be the only source of revenue, it requires a large audience, like Reddit, which saw around 3 billion page views last month. On the other hand, Huffman’s new company, Hipmunk, which connects travellers with tickets and accommodations, sources revenue from both airlines and hotels. The difference between the two companies, Huffman says, is that Hipmunk is deliberately engaged in the exchange of money. Where Reddit is a free service for users among users, Hipmunk facilitates the service of booking travel, an inherently profitable business model.

In hindsight Huffman notes, “I’m never going to do a another startup that is not involved in the exchange of money because otherwise you have to contrive business models and Reddit has always struggled to make money.”

Hipmunk is not the only web app of its kind, but Huffman says that Hipmunk is doing better than their competitors across the board. Philosophically, Hipmunk is a different kind of company, working to help people find their tickets and rooms as quickly as possible. “Rather than building a product, like a lot our competitors do, which is optimized around selling ads and keeping people on the page as long as possible, our users appreciate a swift booking experience.”

Problem solving through programming

Huffman points out that regardless of whether or not you are building a web app to develop a lucrative startup, or just doing it for fun, the skills are the same. When asked what his advice is for people who are just starting to learn to program Huffman says, “Take it one day at a time. Programming is neat because you can solve problems you have, so if you need to organize to do lists or you want to download a bunch of webpages to make your own news site, you can do that – you have the power to do that!”

Your perspective on the world will change when you acquire skills that enable you solve problems you encounter. Since he was a child, Huffman has used programming as a means of solving problems and continues to advocate programming as one of today’s most relevant skills.

“Software and the web are taking over the world and most businesses are moving online. With this in mind, being able to write web applications right now is probably the single most valuable skill you can have. I am an instructor because I think spreading this knowledge is really cool; the more people that have it, the more people who are empowered to make the world a better place because the future is being written by software.”

As a child Huffman said he was always writing calculators because he was learning arithmetic in school. These days, he uses his programming skills to solve some of the world’s more pressing challenges: “My wife is really into Sudoku and I remember sitting next to her on a plane, thinking, ‘this is such a waste of time, why are you doing it?’ So, I wrote a program to solve all of her Sudokus for her!”

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Student uses CS101 programming skills at work

Ricky Steele, a student at Udacity and a working professional used the concepts of caching (CS101) and regular expressions (CS262) to improve his workflow. We asked him a few questions about this and his experience as a Udacity student. Here's what he had to say:

What was the first Udacity course you took?


What class(es) are you taking now?

CS212 and CS262

Can you describe the breakthrough you had at work after taking a Udacity course?

I've had two of them so far.

The first involved a C# program that I was writing to sort files using information from a database. It was making so many queries to the database that it was slowing down the program and the database server. Luckily, many of the queries that the program was making were duplicates. I needed a way to save data from new queries. More importantly, I needed a way to quickly check if a query had been previously used and to retrieve the saved results of previously used queries. In other words, I needed a cache. The concept of caching wasn't new to me, but there was a clever example presented in one of the CS101 homework problems that did it in a simple and fast way using Python dictionaries. C#'s dictionary class was very similar to Python's, and I was able to use the homework example to create a functional cache in a very short amount of time, while using very few lines of code.

The second time involved a different C# program that I was writing to fix some database fields that were not formatted properly. I needed to get the data from the fields in the database, parse the data, re-organize the data, and then put the corrected data back in the database. The most difficult part of this program was going to be parsing and re-organizing the data because some of it was very messed up. Luckily, I had recently finished watching lectures about regular expressions in CS262. C# has a regular expression library too, and the syntax for the regular expressions was no different from Python. Regular expressions made the task of picking out dates, words, lines, and punctuation much simpler than looping through all of the text and doing tons of substring comparisons.

Have you shared your breakthrough with any co-workers?

I was working with a co-worker on these programs and he was pretty impressed with the elegant solutions I came up with. He seems to be getting more and more interested in taking the Udacity courses himself.

Was the primary reason for taking a Udacity course; to improve your workflow or was it just a coincidence? If it was a coincidence, what did you expect to get out of the course? 

It was a coincidence. I primarily code in C# and C++ at work, so I did not expect for much of the stuff in these Python-based courses to transfer over. I was expecting to learn Python and get some practice solving some programming exercises.

What is the importance of continuing your education as a professional?

It's very important. Technologies come and go, and if you don't stay up-to-date on the latest tools, libraries, and languages you might find yourself getting left behind. 

How was it taking a class and balancing your work schedule?

It wasn't very difficult at all, but that's probably because I have some programming background and I am limiting myself to no more than two courses at a time.

Why did you decide to take a class at Udacity?

I first heard about Udacity on social media websites shortly after the first round of Coursera classes ended. I was looking forward to the next round of Coursera courses, but they were all delayed. I was looking for something to do until they started up, so I decided to give Udacity a shot.

I was interested in learning Python for a long time, but I never could find the time or the motivation to get started. I thought that with these classes I could learn it in just a few hours a week by watching some videos and doing some exercises.

Well Ricky, we here at Udacity are really happy you are taking classes. We are ecstatic that you decided to share you success with us and all of the Udacians out there. Has Udacity improved your life or work in any way? We'd love to hear about it! E-mail us: with your story so we can share it with the world!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

5 study tips for Udacity students

Are you thinking about taking a class at Udacity? Are you in the middle of a class and wondering how to juggle everything on your plate? If you answered yes to either of these questions you may want to read through the five tips below. Here at Udacity we want you to be successful and we are here to help! If you have any questions about Udacity courses or developing good study habits please leave a comment below.

1. A little bit everyday: Udacity courses are made up of units that are comprised of a series of short videos; each is on average 2-3 minutes. With this in mind, make a realistic schedule that allows you to chip away at the video nuggets and gives you enough time to complete the homework problems. Designate a time slot each day, or maybe three days a week for your course. Just like a class on campus, make your Udacity course part of your day-to-day.

2. Be patient: If the course you have signed up for is not something you have studied before, or if you have not taken a class for some time, be patient with yourself. Online learning is a different mode of acquiring knowledge that may take some getting used to. Take the time to become familiar with this type of instruction by re-watching videos or stepping away for a little while if you become frustrated or confused about a topic or idea. Remember, this is YOUR education, the only person you have to answer to is yourself, so be patient and take the time to learn.

3. Take short notes: It will be helpful for you to jot down examples and ideas that you liked or found challenging. Throughout the learning process, remember that it is just as important to know what you don’t know as well as what you do. As you watch the videos, write down helpful hints from the instructor or key points from the lecture. Additionally, if you think your notes would be beneficial to others, contribute to Udacity's wiki class notes!

4. Make friends: There are literally thousands of students taking classes at Udacity right now. Use this to your advantage! Get on the forums and be a "noisy student." If you are hitting a wall trying to answer quiz or homework questions, hop on the forum and ask your fellow students. The Udacity student community contains a wealth of students ready to support you and share their knowledge. If you have a trick or a hint that helps you understand something, share it on the forum -- your fellow students will appreciate the tips!

Udacity's social network, via Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn is also a great place to meet other students and ask questions. Check out our Twitter list of Udacity TAs.

Similarly, you can also reach out to see if there are any other Udacity students in your area and coordinate a meetup study group. Take a look at, one group, the pyladies host a Udacity study group every Wednesday in San Francisco, check it out!

5. Use supplementary materials: Each course includes supplementary materials that are meant to be used alongside the course videos. Specifically, the course notes, that are posted on the Udacity wiki, are a written articulation of the concepts, quizzes and programming problems from the videos. When the videos are not enough, try reading through the notes to see if something clicks. You can print the notes using the link at the top of each unit page on the wiki.

Also, check out our office hour videos, where student questions are addressed by both the instructor and the TA. Look out for new ways to interact with your instructors and TAs, since Udacity is always experimenting with new ways to teach. We also love getting feedback from our students about what works and what doesn't, so that we can continue to evolve our course platforms to make you successful!

What makes you a successful Udacity student? Leave your thoughts and comments below.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Winners of Udacity's CS101 contest

Udacity is pleased to announce the results of the CS101 contest!  

We were overwhelmed with the number of exciting and interesting submissions, which made it really difficult to pick just a few winners.  Each submission was evaluated by at least two Udacity employees, including individuals from our engineering, video production, and teaching teams who all contributed to judging the contest.  Dave and Peter selected a group of finalists from these evaluations, took a closer look and then had Gabriel Weinberg provide comments on these submissions.  The team at Udacity selected the winners based on all these evaluations, as well as further examination of the finalists’ submissions.
Each winner will be awarded with an expense-paid trip to Udacity's offices in Palo Alto, California! We hope everyone enjoyed participating in the contest and look forward to meeting the winners soon!

Name: Roland Alexander Coenen ("Sascha")
Location: Hamburg, Germany

Bio: After sitting out of the professional computer science field due to illness for five years, Sascha wanted to get back to work but feared that companies would be hesitant to employ him after such a long time. He took the AI course and is currently taking Udacity courses as a way of bolstering his CV. Sascha looks forward to finding a meaningful job for a company that lives and breathes science or for an organization the serves a philanthropic purpose.
Coenen's Youdacity search application is a vision of what a video search might look like if it were focussed on finding and visualizing knowledge. Search results are displayed next to a video player and the section within each video file contain search terms that are located on a timeline. Users can either click on the video title to play the video in full, or click on the sections within the timeline to play just part of the video. Users can also opt for a video summary of the search results. Have a look!

Name: Connor Mendenhall
Location: Tucson, AZ

Bio: Mendenhall has spent the past year as a Fulbright student in Turkey. He took CS101 to improve his patchy self-taught Python, learn the fundamentals of computing, and understand the tools he uses every day. He plans to keep studying with Udacity to be able to write software and build devices that help make international travel cheaper, easier, and more fun.
Mendenhall's submission DaveDaveFind is a search engine with the power to find your search query inside a video transcript. This means that when you enter in a search query, using common Python-related terms or commands inspired by bang syntax, DaveDaveFind will try to link inside the video to the moment the query occurs. Read about more features of Conner's project and his notes that document how he built it on the DaveDaveFind Tumblr!

Name: Liang Sun  
Location: Beijing, China

Bio: Liang became interested in computing when he was a boy by playing computer games. When he saw his friend's tweet about CS101, he was inspired to learn about how to build a search engine, so he took the course and learned a lot. He hopes to keep learning and do "some big things" in the future. He is currently taking CS253 and CS262 in hopes of becoming a professional programer.

ZhuFangZhi is a Chinese housing search! ZhuFangZhi - a homonym to a Chinese word meaning "renting a house" - is a search engine that allows users to find available housing rentals in China. The crawler draws from several big sites in China that provide housing rental information and stores it to a database. When users query for a place, the nginx server passes the place information to the database and returns relevant results.

Name: Jag Talon
Location: Philippines; about to immigrate to the US

Bio: Jag really wanted a chance at a comprehensive learning experience in Computer Science, so he enrolled in Udacity's CS101. He looks forward to contributing to open source projects, citing DuckDuckHack as a good place to start. He is currently taking CS253 and CS262 in hopes of becoming a professional programer., Talon's submission, is a search engine that “grants fundamental rights to algorithms, provides advanced search capabilities, and intelligently supports a person's supernatural attributes.” It provides searching using a bunch of innovative hashtags, ranging from #palindrome and #ted, to #altavista and #unlucky.

Honorable Mentions

Hacking Pot by Gian Carlo
Adjective Crawler for Books by Enrique Contreras
Wind Gust Forecaster by rrburton

Do you want to learn how to build a search engine? Sign up for CS101 at Udacity today!