Questions about Deep Learning and the nature of knowledge

Rush of Knowledge

If there is something that can be assumed as a fact in the AI and Machine Learning domain is that the last years had been dominated by Deep Learning and other Neural Network based techniques. When I say dominated, I mean that it looks like the only way to achieve something in Machine Learning and it is absorbing the great part of AI enthusiasts’ energy and attention.

This is indubitably a good thing. Having a strong AI technique that can solve so many hard challenges is a huge step forward for humanity. However, how everything in life, Deep Learning, despite being highly successful in some application, carries with it several limitations to that, in other applications, makes the use of Deep Learning unfeasible or even dangerous.

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The Most Promising Programming Languages for 2018

This is the time of the year in which I propose 5 emerging/new languages that you should keep an eye on the next year. I’ve done it last year, and the year before, and the year before that.

This year, however, I am not in the mood of doing it. There are several reasons why. The first one is that this year there have not been a lot of movement on the new programming languages. I am sure there are a lot, but no one got enough attention to make into a list. Therefore, I am concerned that I will just starting to repeat myself talking about the same stuff.

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Preserving a Cryptography book from 1897

Some time ago I found on my grandma’s house an old Italian book on cryptography from 1897. Why a 120 years old book on cryptography was on my grandma house, is a mystery. I’d like to think that some grand-grand-parent was a late 19th century hacker. Anyway.

The book title is “Crittografia ossia l’arte di cifrare e decifrare le corrispondenze segrete” of Count Luigi Gioppi of Turkheim.

Well, I don’t know if this book is hard to find. In any way, I decided to take a photo of every page to share and preserve this book. The book is very old and some page is ruined, sorry if the quality of the photo is not optimal. I’ve done my best for not destroying the book in the process. :)

I will release the photo one chapter at the time. Keep this page in the bookmark.

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Seasons Generation from Orbital Parameters

Welcome back to part 3 of the Procedural Calendar Generation series. In the first part we looked on how to compute celestial body position in a simple two-body system. The second part, instead is crash course on ellipse geometry.

In this part, instead, we will tackle a fascinating consequence of the cosmic dance of our planet around its sun: seasons. Seasons are a strange beast because their behavior depends on a huge amount of factors. We are used to our four seasons with mild springs and autumns, hot summers and cold winters. But these four season are just the consequence of our planet ecosystem, atmosphere, the peculiar axial tilt, if the orbit is particularly eccentric, distance from the sun in different period of the year can be a strong modifier too! In multi-star system, we can have more than 4 seasons, in planets with strange mechanics we can not have seasons at all (or better, the “season” depends on where are you on the planet).

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Not every classification error is the same

In this article, I would like to talk about a common mistake new people approaching Machine Learning and classification algorithm often do. In particular, when we evaluate (and thus train) a classification algorithm, people tend to consider every misclassification equally important and equally bad. We are so deep into our mathematical version of the world that we forget about the consequences of classification errors in the real world.

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A Dwarf Fortress calendar in PureScript + Halogen

My last week project involves PureScript and Halogen and the Dwarf Fortress calendar. I wanted to give a first-hand experience with some pure functional language for web front-end and, after discarding Elm, I ended with PureScript. I will not go on a comparison between PureScript and the rest of the world. If you want a comparison among the other candidates, you can look at this very detailed article. (There is ClojureScript too, if Clojure will ever came back from the graveyard).

To test PureScript I decided to implement a very simple project: a page showing today’s date according the calendar used in Dwarf Fortress. It is easy enough to be tackled without me knowing nothing about PureScript and Halogen in a week: you take today’s date, you apply some math, and you print your result on an HTML widget. At the same time, I think it is complex enough to have a grasp of PureScript potential (at least, in the allocated time).

You can find the result here. (Github Repository) Now, we can go on.

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Crash course on basic ellipse geometry

Because I started a small series about astronomical algorithms and the magic of math in space, I think we need to cover an important prerequisite. In the series, I will talk a lot about ellipses (duh), I will move from the semi-axis majors, to the periapsis, to eccentricity, to ellipse’s center and ellipse’s foci. I am concerned that things can get more complicated than expected if the readers does not know many of the geometric properties of the ellipse. For this reason, I put here this vade mecum on the ellipse geometry. A summary with all the basic points and lengths. A place that I can link everywhere I need to refresh a definition.

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