# Status Update

I've been heavily involved, of late, in the operations and funding of an early-stage startup focused on the use of machine learning to improve the time, cost, and risk of drug discovery. This generally leaves little time for much else except to keep fit.

# My top favorite podcasts

These may change from time to time, but the podcasts that I currently listen to the most are: For science-based human interest stories Hidden Brain (hosted by Shankar Vedantam) Radiolab (hosted by Jad Adumrad and Robert Krulwich) 99% Invisible (hosted by Roman Mars) For news about the world The Daily (from the New York Times) Up First (NPR)

# Yet Another BBQ Place in Conway

I like BBQ.  I like a sharp smoke flavor.  You can slice it, shred it, make it so tender that it falls off the bone, and I'll eat it up.  Dry-rubbed, sauced-up, spicy, tangy, sweet.  You name it - I like it.  If you do it right, present it right, and give me a good atmosphere to eat it - I'll be sure to sing your praises.  If you don't, then you're likely to get one of these; as it is with Fat Daddy's, the new BBQ restaurant that's opened up in Conway, Arkansas' downtown area.  Fat Daddy's comes to us from Russellville where they've enjoyed some success.  It was on the advice of an extended family member, and resident of that town, that I found myself trying it out.…

# Two-stage Learning Step for Backpropagation in a Relational Autoencoder

Working on gradient descent / backpropagation for a relational autoencoder.   I'm not really sure this is needed yet, so I have to build the testing framework for it all.  Separately I'm implementing a RL agent that uses Least Squares Policy Iteration to learn. Let X and Y be two sets of training examples of sizes N and M respectively Select $latex x \in X$ and $latex y \in Y$ randomly Feed $latex (x,y)$ forward Step 1 - Train X Hold w and x constant and minimize cost by treating y' as a parameter Calculate error on x side of cost function Backprop error Update W (and b) only on the X side Step 2 - Train Y Hold w and y constant and minimize cost by treating x' as a…

# Preview Problem – Share the beer

Recently, I shared a problem on Facebook.  It's typically called the "sharing wine" problem, but my friend, Cyrus, thought it'd be better with beer.  I agree, so I've modified these slightly. It went something like this: We have three containers of different sizes, 30L / 11L / 7L.  The 30L is filled with beer.  Empty exactly half of the 30L using only the 11L and 7L containers. I'll introduce some notation here so that we can talk about the answer.  Let's say that we create a triple (a, b, c) indicating the amount of beer in each container at any one time.  Say that we order these largest to smallest for convenience.  Let a = the 30L container, b = the 11L container, c = the 7L container. So, starting out we have (30,0,0).  Cyrus…

# C2FO/nools – A rete-based rules engine for Node

I was reminiscing over the rules-based interaction system I worked with on the Zeno robot back in the day.  Particularly, I was thinking about how how the deterministic, one-shot state transition sometimes led to some undesirable and aberrant behavior.  If you weren't careful, the Personality could slam back and forth between different "mental" states and even seem somewhat ADD.  Even though that behavior was mitigated by writing soft transition language into the resulting state's verbal actions, the Personality sometimes seemed to have no sense of attention or immediate auto-biography. So, today I was thinking about a state-transition system where the transition actions were less one-shot.  My thinking goes like this: Mental states prime us towards the following mental behavior: accentuate thinking about some things suppress thinking about other things thinking about things in a certain way…

# I hate Verdana too

Typography can be fun and zany, but there's always a purpose behind it.  Often, you select fonts for readability.  On the web, the challenge is even bigger because the delivery is often so variable with differently sized screens ranging from huge monitors to small mobile devices. So, for most applications, you need a font that helps the eyes grasp what they are seeing.  Verdana is just not one of those.  In fact, it leans towards making reading difficult.  This article, by Pamela Wilson, explains some of the problems and has a good set of examples. Go see the article here : Why I Hate Verdana - Big Brand System -.

# The Ultimate Software Development Office Layout

This is a pretty decent article on office layouts for software development. I would make a few adjustments. These are based on my own observations and experience. Your mileage may vary. 1) War rooms are good for rapid product development -> driving to version 1.0 quickly. They are less productive for long-term software development, or for multiple project development. 7) Emphasize #7. 8) In fact, people should move to the space most conducive to the type of work they are doing at that time. 11) With Agile development, you should be able to break teams into no more than 4 people each.  I can't imagine a room with 12 people working in it. Add #23) A project status board should be placed conspicuously.  It's best if this is electronic and automatically updated.…