Why I’m writing this blog
Let me first say, welcome to my new blog!
I’ve been thinking for a while about what I should write as my first post. I didn’t want to get right down into technical discussions to start out, and I didn’t want it to be some random one-off that will go down as the milestone first post.
So I’ve decided an introduction is in order to explain why I am writing this blog, and what the reader and myself will hopefully get out of my writing of it.
I recently graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in computer science, but as I get out into the world of professional programming I realize I still am a complete student. I rather like it that way. In this field if you are not constantly learning you will certainly be left behind. With the speed that technology is evolving you will be left behind much more quickly than in other fields. So with this view of myself as a perceptual student, I wanted to take the reader along as I document my journey toward professional and personal enlightenment.
Secondly, I am self-admittedly a terrible writer. I passed my two writing courses at the University of Utah with flying colors, A’s in each, but I am convinced this was due solely to the competition in other papers my professors were reading. A new report, Education Week’s annual Quality Counts, ranks Utah’s public schools 38th in the nation, up from 42nd the previous year. Anecdotally I’ve seen statistics like this easily mapped to the writing quality of my classmates. I skated by on this, but I am no better off for it. This blog is my second chance to become a most excellent writer. Bare with me.
And last but not least, I want to help others learn from my experience (as I gain it).
What this blog is
This is the story of an education in Machine learning from an inexperienced newb to slightly less of a newb. As I go along learning new algorithms, uses for the field of Machine Learning, and techniques in data collection, storage, and analysis, I will document that process with you here.
I hack on a mac personally. One of the biggest reasons for that is the ease at which it gives you access to a unix-ess command line. I would probably use Linux as an alternative personal machine if it weren’t for Apple’s extraordinary sense of design, making it the beautiful, powerful development computer out there. On the server side however, there simply is no alternative to Linux and I am more than comfortable in that environment.
Having said that, there are without a doubt times that I struggle with a task or I want to automate a task to go more smoothly next time. The enlightenment from finding a solution to these problems is easily forgotten if not put on paper. I use Evernote for that as my second brain, but Evernote is not a social platform (and rightfully so), so the more interesting processes I have found for working with mac and linux will go in this blog too.
This final piece will diverge off the technology path, but I like to read a very wide assortment of books. When I mean wide I’m talking anywhere from technology, science fiction, and economics, to new-age, physiology, biographies, and classical literature. And these are just examples I pulled out of my current reading list. I won’t review them all, but the ones I really like will be placed into this blog as well.
(“Review” may be the wrong term, since I’ll only be “reviewing” books I enjoy. This bias may lead to changing the term to “Book Recommendations”, we’ll see.)
Why Swarm Intelligence?
Well first off it sounds pretty cool doesn’t it?
Two brains are better than one
If there needs to be more than the coolness factor, I would say I have the romantic notion that two brains are better than one. I want to explore this notion from a computer science point of view.
I’ll try out different techniques in data mining, machine learning, visualization, and distributed computing to see how much we can really can by putting our heads together.
Thanks for joining me on this most excellent adventure.