09 November 2016
10 March 2016
This discussion of what AlphaGo means to the future of AI takes several perspectives on what the implications of a Go-winning AI really are. I agree most with Professor Brunskill. She says, "Go is a fixed game: The rules, possible moves and observable information about the game are all prespecified. AlphaGo is not allowed to invent a new move, nor gain new insight by quizzing its opponent. Fortunately the real world is not like this. From the Hubble telescope to vaccinations, people constantly invent new ideas that allow us to transform how we monitor and shape the universe and achieve previously unimaginable outcomes."
I would add that furthermore, not only because humankind can innovate and create new realities do the rules of life change out from under us. New challenges face us every day, like the disappearance of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 two years ago this month, or the Zika virus, or locked cell phones of terrorists. Humans have evolved over centuries to face this adversity head-on and adapt for survival; this is exactly why we do innovate, create new measurement technologies, new drugs, and new security protections. Hopefully computers will be able to help us with this process in the not-too-distant future. But before that, machine learning research needs to face the hurdle of learning in a dynamic world.
13 November 2015
"The true work of the mathematician is not experienced until the later parts of graduate school, when the student is challenged to create knowledge in the form of a novel proof. It is common to fill page after page with an attempt, the seasons turning, only to arrive precisely where you began, empty-handed — or to realize that a subtle flaw of logic doomed the whole enterprise from its outset. The steady state of mathematical research is to be completely stuck. It is a process that Charles Fefferman of Princeton, himself a onetime math prodigy turned Fields medalist, likens to ‘playing chess with the devil.’ The rules of the devil’s game are special, though: The devil is vastly superior at chess, but, Fefferman explained, you may take back as many moves as you like, and the devil may not. You play a first game, and, of course, ‘he crushes you.’ So you take back moves and try something different, and he crushes you again, ‘in much the same way.’ If you are sufficiently wily, you will eventually discover a move that forces the devil to shift strategy; you still lose, but — aha! — you have your first clue."
20 October 2015
23 September 2015
Here is my favorite (image from the linked site above, used without permission, but for educational purposes obviously):
In mine we say "with probability 1-delta" and that's exactly the probability we mean. Except don't calculate delta.
11 August 2015
My favorite part of the gömböc is its relationship to a turtles' righting response: "The balancing properties of the gömböc are associated with the 'righting response', their ability to turn back when placed upside down, of shelled animals such as tortoises and beetles."
24 July 2015
"That may be true," [the Dodecahedron] acknowledged, "but it's completely accurate, and as long as the answer is right, who cares if the question is wrong?"