MS221 – was Illidan right?

So, a few days ago I tweeted that I had this snippet from World of Warcraft going round my head where Illidan taunted that we weren’t prepared for what awaited us.  It was how I felt going into MS2211 and now that I’ve done the exam I wanted to reflect on why I’d ended up feeling unprepared for a test in a subject I am very enthusiastic about for a degree I’m doing for no direct gain other than for the fun of learning.

I started this degree back in 2013 because I was intellectually unstimulated in my job.  I was busy, spinning many plates and wasn’t bored, but there just wasn’t anything to do that really set my neurons firing.  I’d started the process of looking for another job for a whole host of reasons I won’t go into, but I could feel my brain getting “comfortable” at not having to think much beyond which of my team needed to do which task in what order in response to changing priorities.  So I signed up to do the maths degree I’d always wished I’d done. Continue reading MS221 – was Illidan right?

Preparation for MS221

So – I’m approaching the end of my third OU module, MS2211, and the exam is in a few days.  I missed all the local revision tutorials through being away with work2 and, despite some good intentions, I am woefully behind.  Consider this a crammer’s guide for learning university level mathematics in 3 and a half days 😉3.

MS221 consists of four blocks: block A covering sequences, conics and geometry; block B covering iteration and matrices; block C covering more complex4 integration and differentiation and Taylor Polynomials; and block D covering complex numbers, number theory, groups and logic and reasoning5.  The exam allows an annotated handbook and so it is fairly easy to prepare given a few days of dedicated effort, which (if you’re reading this in time, may help6. Continue reading Preparation for MS221

ReWork DL Boston 2015 – Day 2

This post is a very high level summary of Day 2 at the Boston ReWork Deep Learning Summit 2015.  Day 1 can be found here.

The first session kicked off with Kevin O’Brian from GreatHorn.  There are 3 major problems facing the infosec community at the moment:

  1. Modern infrastructure is far more complex than it used to be – we are using AWS, Azure as extensions of our physical networks and spaces such as GitHub as code repositories and Docker for automation.  It is very difficult for any IT professional to keep up with all of the potential vulnerabilities and ensure that everything is secure.
  2. (Security) Technical debt – there is too much to monitor/fix even if business released the time and funds to address it.
  3. Shortfall in skilled people – there is a 1.5 million shortage in infosec  people – this isn’t going to be resolved quickly.

Continue reading ReWork DL Boston 2015 – Day 2

ReWork DL Boston 2015 – Day 1

brain-like computing
Brain-like computing

So, day one of the ReWork Deep Learning Summit Boston 2015 is over.  A lot of interesting talks and demonstrations all round.  All talks were recorded so I will update this post as they become available with the links to wherever the recordings are posted – I know I’ll be rewatching them.

Following a brief introduction the day kicked off with a presentation from Christian Szegedy of Google looking at the deep learning they had set up to analyse YouTube videos.  They’d taken the traditional networks used in Google and made them smaller, discovering that an architecture with several layers of small networks was more computationally efficient that larger ones, with a 5 level (inception-5) most efficient.  Several papers were referenced, which I’ll need to look up later, but the results looked interesting.

Continue reading ReWork DL Boston 2015 – Day 1

Ex Machina – film review

Ava - Ex Machina,  DNA Films, Film4 Productions
Ava – Ex Machina, DNA Films, Film4 Productions

While on my flight to Boston for ReWorkDL I watched Ex Machina the “must see” latest AI film. I’d been warned that it wasn’t very good by my husband (who’d just flown home the day before!) but I thought that since he’d already seen it, I’d better take the chance to watch it since it’s unlikely to be something we’d watch together in the future. If you haven’t seen it, then please be aware that this post does contain spoilers so read on with caution. Continue reading Ex Machina – film review

3D Printer Part 5: x-axis assembly

At the end of my last post, we had a completed y-axis and had also built the main frame of the printer, this post looks at building the x-axis assembly, covering issues 16 to 19 of 3D Create and Print by Eaglemoss Technology.  If you’ve skipped a part of this series you can start from the beginning, including details of the Vector 3 printer I’m building on my 3D printer page.

While this is mainly an exact copy of the steps that we undertook for the y-axis, we are working directly on the mainframe, which presents its own challenges.  There are a few tips I suggest to make life a little easier for yourself, especially if you’ve been saving parts or have received several issues in the same drop.

Continue reading 3D Printer Part 5: x-axis assembly

Machine Learning – A Primer

If you’ve been following this blog you’ll know that I’ve started a new role that requires me to build a deep learning system and I’ve been catching up on the 10+ years of research since I completed my PhD.  With a background in computing and mathematics I jumped straight in to what I thought would be skimming through the literature.  I soon realised that it would be better all round to jump back to first principles rather than be constrained with the methods I had learned over a decade ago.

So, I found a lot of universities who had put their machine learning courses online and have decided to work through  what’s out there as if I was an undergraduate and then use my experience to build on top of that.  I don’t want to miss an advantage because I wasn’t aware of it.

So I picked up two key tutorials from different Professors: Continue reading Machine Learning – A Primer

The equality debate fallacy

I’ve never thought of myself as a gender activist, and I think this is partly because I’ve never felt treated poorly – I’ve had equality throughout my life and have never felt the pull to be an activist, and as the years go by I am aware of how much privilege this background has afforded me, something that has made me start supporting those who were not as fortunate.  This evening I watched a conversation unfold on twitter that annoyed me, so I’m going to put aside the tech and maths for a moment and look at what the problem is and what it isn’t.

Dr Sue Black had been giving a talk at an event in London about her TechMums program, which aims to teach women how to code to better understand technology, not necessarily to get jobs as programmers.  This is a fantastic initiative and one of many that opens up understanding to people who may otherwise be ignorant on a subject that they may never have covered at school.  I’ll come on to why this is important later.  However, the inflammatory tweet was:

@Dr_Black @Frans_facts @paulwaugh @YvetteCooperMP We have a female monarch, home sec. And former female PM!! What glass ceiling? #tryharder

(Russell Blinman @Georgiasdad1)

Continue reading The equality debate fallacy

Machine intelligence – training and plasticity

brain-like computing
Brain-like computing

I’m four weeks in to my new role and one of the threads of work I have is looking into machine learning and how this has advanced since my own thesis.  The current approach to machine intelligence is via learning networks where the data is abstracted: rather than recognising specifics about the problem, the algorithm learns the common elements of the problem and solution to match an input to the expected output, without needing an exact match.  Our brains are very good at this: from a very early age we can recognise familiar faces from unfamiliar ones and quickly this progresses to identification in bad light, different angles, when the face is obscured.  Getting machines to do the same has been notoriously difficult. Continue reading Machine intelligence – training and plasticity

3D Printer Part 4: Y-axis cover and plates

So, in my last post we completed the Y-axis motor assembly and tested it.  Issues 11-15 of the 3D Create and Print magazine will see us add the cover and bracket for the y-axis and start on the printer plates and feet.  If you’ve skipped a part of this series you can start from the beginning, including details of the Vector 3 printer I’m building on my 3D printer page.

  1. Y-axis cover
    Y-axis cover

    Y-axis cover: This is a fairly simple 3-bolt step.  The only real gotchas here are to ensure that the cover is on the correct way round (so the slot in the cover is closest to the motor) and that the wires from the limit switch are not caught in any of the other parts and thread out through the slot.  Yes there are only meant to be three bolts at this stage 🙂  This is also one of the first bad designs I’ve noticed – the y-axis could benefit from an extra clip to secure the limit switch wires because, now they are hidden, they could easily be too close the the motor belt and get worn down.  Should the printer stop working, this will be one of the the first things I check.

Continue reading 3D Printer Part 4: Y-axis cover and plates