The Project and Beyond – Data Point 2

The project I am working on for my capstone is statistically based with lots of computation; this makes the project very math heavy. Luckily in computer science the computer does a lot of the math for you, but you have to make sure that it is doing the math correctly in the first place. I have had to do a lot of learning very quickly in this capstone project.

Side Channel Analysis (SCA)

Chip hacking. It sounds very cool, but practically, it takes a lot of equipment, knowledge and loads of time. Side Channel Analysis is reading the electromagnetic output of a process chip using an oscilloscope at different x, y positions on the chip. This output produces lots and lots of data that takes a long time to work through. That is why we are developing a statistical library to speed up the process.

The Project

Processing these large data sets requires lots of reading from files. So the first step is figuring out which file type we want to use to increase our read efficiency. The next step is figuring out how to collect basic statistics in an accumulative way in one pass over the data. Then using these statistics to then gain insight into the SCA. Then the steps after that will be about optimization.

The Course

So far I have really enjoyed the CS46X course. It has caused me to do lots of thinking and solve problems outside of the scope of simply an assignment brief. The course is a good hybrid into industry work that I am looking to start after graduation.


In the UK there are graduate jobs – jobs specific to people leaving university and entering the work force. I have currently been turning in coding challenges for these jobs and am hoping to hear back for an interview soon. One of them has the possibility to start work in the cybersecurity scene which I would be excited for.


In the process of this project there has been a lot of learning new technologies. I’ve learned about different binary file types and the pros and cons of each: hdf5, sqlite, and zarr. On top of that I have learned more about how the python language works and the global interpreter lock.

Flat White

Every morning I get up and make a flat white and I use it a reminder to take one day at a time because with projects this big and other classes on top of that while applying to jobs and doing code challenges for said jobs can be overwhelming. So to people who have a lot on remember to take one day at a time and do what you can. 🙂
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