Posted on Categories Computer Science, Expository Writing, History, Opinion, StatisticsTags , , 7 Comments on A Personal Perspective on Machine Learning

A Personal Perspective on Machine Learning

Having a bit of history as both a user of machine learning and a researcher in the field I feel I have developed a useful perspective on the various trends, flavors and nuances in machine learning and artificial intelligence. I thought I would take a moment to outline a bit of it here and demonstrate how what we call artificial intelligence is becoming more statistical in nature. Continue reading A Personal Perspective on Machine Learning

Posted on Categories Computer Science, Expository Writing, MathematicsTags , , , , , , , , 1 Comment on What Did Theorists Do Before The Age Of Big Data?

What Did Theorists Do Before The Age Of Big Data?

We have been living in the age of “big data” for some time now. This is an age where incredible things can be accomplished through the effective application of statistics and machine learning at large scale (for example see: “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Data” Alon Halevy, Peter Norvig, Fernando Pereira, IEEE Intelligent Systems (2009)). But I have gotten to thinking about the period before this. The period before we had easy access to so much data, before most computation was aggregation and before we accepted numerical analysis style convergence as “efficient.” A small problem I needed to solve (as part of a bigger project) reminded me what theoretical computer scientists did then: we worried about provable worst case efficiency.

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Posted on Categories Applications, Coding, Computer Science, Exciting Techniques, Mathematics, Programming, TutorialsTags , , , , , , , 5 Comments on Automatic Differentiation with Scala

Automatic Differentiation with Scala

This article is a worked-out exercise in applying the Scala type system to solve a small scale optimization problem. For this article we supply complete Scala source code (under a GPLv3 license) and some design discussion. Continue reading Automatic Differentiation with Scala

Posted on Categories Coding, Computer Science, RantsTags , , ,

Postel’s Law: Not Sure Who To Be Angry With

One of my research interests is finding the principles that underly the management of information, complexity and uncertainty. When something as simple as a web-form is called “technology” it is time to step back and examine your principles. One principle I am not sure about Postel’s law. It doesn’t hold often enough to be relied on and when it fails I am not sure who to be angry with. Continue reading Postel’s Law: Not Sure Who To Be Angry With

Posted on Categories Computer Science, Exciting Techniques, Expository Writing, MathematicsTags , , , , ,

The Local to Global Principle

We describe the “the local to global principle.” It is a principle used to break algorithmic problem solving into two distinct phases (local criticism followed by global solution) and is an aid both in the design and in the application of algorithms. Instead of giving a formal definition of the principle we quickly define it and discuss a few examples and methods. We have produced both a stand-alone PDF (more legible) and a HTML/blog form (more skimable).
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Posted on Categories Computer Science, Expository Writing, OpinionTags , , , 3 Comments on On The Hysteria Over “The Cloud”

On The Hysteria Over “The Cloud”

On The Hysteria Over “The Cloud”


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The frenzy of anticipation and opinion about “The Cloud” is so intense and so pointless it becomes “parody proof.”
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Posted on Categories Computer ScienceTags

Programs reduced to statistics

An interesting article on programming languages by Guillaume Marceau is making the rounds:
The speed, size and dependability of programming languages. The article points out very clearly what some of the differences in major programming languages are. The author uses benchmarking and graphs in an interesting way.
Continue reading Programs reduced to statistics

Posted on Categories Computer Science, Opinion, RantsTags , 1 Comment on Map Reduce: A Good Idea

Map Reduce: A Good Idea

Some time ago I subscribed to The Database Column because it would be fun to see what these incredible people wanted to discuss. We owe much of our current database technology to Professor Stonebraker and Vertica sounds like an incredible product. And I definitely want to continue to subscribe.

However, the reading experience is marred by some flaw in their RSS system that keeps marking the article “MapReduce: A major step backwards” as a new article. This causes the article to appear in my RSS reader every few weeks as “new.” This wouldn’t bother me too much except that the article runs so counter to experience that it is itself offensive.
Continue reading Map Reduce: A Good Idea

Posted on Categories Computer Science, Opinion, RantsTags 4 Comments on I know, I am the one being a jerk

I know, I am the one being a jerk

The other day’s blog post and a recent Andrew Binstock interview of Donald Knuth made me think more about how the ACM is really not serving the interests of computer science. Continue reading I know, I am the one being a jerk