Sweet little CogSci start-up checklist

Freshmen Flyer 2015

  • In case you lost it, here you can download the Erstiheft once again. You will find it soon here.
  • RZ account: you need this in order to access your mails, Stud.IP and the mailing list. The access data will be mailed to you with your student id. If you somehow don't have one you can obtain it from the Rechenzentrum's office (Building 31/E86, check office hours!).
  • Then you can sign into Stud.IP and create your personal schedule by joining the courses you want to take (without obligation!)
  • Sign-up for the mailing lists.
  • Upload a photo for your Campuscard – it's your student ID and semester ticket, and you will need it for eating in the Mensa, borrowing books from the library, and printing things on university printers. Also, it will probably take at least a week until you get the card after uploading a photo, so do it ASAP.

Other helpful things

  • A bike. Osnabrück is a bicycle city: everything is in riding distance.
  • The journey planner (Fahrplanauskunft) for the bus can be found here and the "Liniennetz" here.
  • Internet access. Essential!
  • There is also wireless internet access available at various locations throughout the university as well as several computer labs. Sign up for WLAN access here.
  • A Telegram, Jabber and/or Facebook account. Chatting with your fellow students helps a lot to exchange information and is above all fun.
  • Get an alarm clock, the timetables are quite full. Even better get a second one as you are a coxi ;)
  • An Umbrella. You will notice, why this might be helpful.

You have some free time on your hands and want to start now?

  • If you want to have a framework for understanding how intelligence is created by the brain, read On Intelligence by Jeff Hawkins. He proposes a hierachical memory-prediction system realised by the neocortex as the basis of intelligence.
  • Douglas R. Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher, Bach is a cult book. In it Hofstadter explores how complex structures, like the mind, can emerge by self-reference. It combines science with musics, art, literature and humour.
  • Learn Python, C++ or Java. Get a book and read its introductory parts. This will be really helpful for the algorithms class since it will help you focus on the algorithms, not their implementation. You can download a fairly good one from Recommended chapters there are 1 through 6. There is also lots of information on the internet — use it. Practice your skills by writing a few little programs.
  • If you want to get some motivation for linguistics, read The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker. It touches all topics that are covered in the course "Introduction to Linguistics" and is fun to read.
  • For people who are more interested in AI the following book might be quite motivating as there is not much AI in the first semester... Natürliche und künstliche Intelligenz. Einführung in die Kognitionswissenschaft
  • Eric Kandel's In Search of Memory is kind of a comprehensive but shallow introduction to parts of neurobiology and even cognitive psychology. It is not the big Kandel but it is a nice book for vacations.
  • Andy Field's Discovering Statistics Using SPSS (and sex and drugs and Rock 'n' Roll) is the ultimate primer to statistics. Why on earth should you spend your free time reading a statistics book? In his words, "We will overview the whole research process, from why we conduct research in the first place, through how theories are generated, to why we need data to test these theories. If that doesn’t convince you to read on then maybe the fact that we discover whether Coca-Cola kills sperm will. Or perhaps not." . Also, he runs a fab satanic themed website called Statistics Hell, which also has a section with photos of cute fuzzy kitten reading his books. Needless to say, he's a hit with the chicks...
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