Showing posts from August, 2016

The Julia programming language: amazingly nice

Well, at least I am amazed. I took a brief look at Julia  a few years ago but since I understood it to be somewhat derivative of GNU/Octave (or Matlab) and R (I sometimes use GNU/Octave, but not often), I only gave Julia a very short look. Fortunately, a current customer uses Julia so I have been ramping up on the language and I very much like it. A bit off topic but I would like to give a shout-out to the  O'Relly Safari Books Online service  which I recently joined when they had a $200/year guaranteed for life subscription price (half regular price). I am reading "Getting Started with Julia" by Ivo Balbaert which is fine for now. I have "Julia for Data Science" by Zacharias Voulgaris   and "Mastering Julia" by Malcolm Sherrington in my reading queue. When learning a new technology having up to date books available really is better than finding information on the web (or at least augmentation to material on the web). I very much like the tooling f

My prediction: Immersive real-time VR in Olympic closing ceremonies in 8 years

My wife and I are watching the closing ceremonies right now. Great visual effects that will be even better with immersive virtual reality. I expect that in 8 years we will have the option of being able to change our point of view from the stands to down on the central floor in a complete immersive VR experience with 3D sound and head tracking. I haven't worked in VR in almost 20 years when I helped found the virtual reality systems division at SAIC (where I handled 3D sound with head related transfer functions, motion, haptics, and some graphics) and then a year later did a virtual reality project for Disney while working at Angel Studios. Even if I don't work in VR anymore I am a huge fan and I have high expectations for what is to come in user experience.

I was surprised that so many of the NACL 2016 papers described deep learning projects

I attended the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics conference last June in San Diego.  Here is a link to the published papers. The conference was great. The keynote talks, panel discussions, and the talks I attended were interesting! As an independent consultant I payed my own way to the conference and I found it to be a good investment. Sometime I would enjoy attending a European chapter of the ACL conference.

Some new love for Scala and Python

I am a practical developer. I do have my favorite programming languages (Ruby, Haskell, Clojure, and Java) but I tend to look first at what libraries are available in different languages for whatever project I am currently working on. I did a lot of work in machine learning in the 1980s (mostly in neural networks) and since then I have probably spent about 30% of my work time directly working on machine learning problems. That has changed in the last few years since several of my consulting customers wanted help spinning up on machine learning. I have used Scala a fair amount but it has never been a "favorite language," mostly because I didn't care for the tooling. Now I find myself motivated to use Scala because of the awesome Apache MLlib and Breeze machine learning libraries. Also, I have solved my "tooling problem" for Scala development; if you are interested here is my setup: I use a remote high-memory, high-CPU server instance for fast builds. I used t