The king is dead, long live the king!

The time has come for me to say goodbye to the Kwiat Group, whose members have for the past 3 years been incessantly a source of friendship and inspiration. It was there that I first tasted the joys of research. I am extremely grateful to them for helping me discover one of the greatest sources of joy and satisfaction in my life. I will definitely bring them many cookies next time I am in town.

In leaving Kwiat Group, I am leaving the world of Physics research, and moving on to Machine Learning. I’m spending the summer working with Dan Gauthier’s group at Duke University, focusing on Reservoir Computing.

Imagine throwing a pebble into a pond which has some nonlinear properties. It turns out that it might be possible to more easily extract information about the pebble’s properties through the excitations of the waves and movements of the pond upon the pebble’s impact, than by looking at the original pebble! These Liquid State Networks, which are called Reservoir Computers when in the form of a Neural Network, can achieve good performance in machine learning tasks, despite having only one hidden layer, which is both generated randomly and fixed!

Sounds awesome, so I will see where this track of research leads me.

New Website

Thanks to Rebecca from Kwiat Group, I discovered Jekyll, which allows for quick generation of static websites.

I don’t want to use Drupal, or any PHP-heavy tools for my website, since my VPS has 128MB of RAM. Jekyll is a step up from manually editing HTML files, while still giving me full control of a lightweight static website.

One of the cool things is that it allows writing content in markdown, which automatically does syntax highlighting with pygments and math with MathJax.

import antigravity
print "Hello World!"

Pretty cool, if you ask me.

TDC Open Sourced!

We have open-sourced the code used for time tagger control. I am super proud of it! Check it out here: Kwiat Group Github

Electric Bike Trip

What better way to finish college than by biking from Illinois to California? I don’t know - and that’s why Spencer Gore and I are doing it!

Update: The trip was fun, but we ended up in Kansas City instead of California.

Android Development

I have begun learning Android development. My first goal is to create a program which can recreate my schedule from GPS coordinates and accelerometer data. I want to be able to know exactly how many times I got out of my desk, how many times I picked up my phone to talk to friends, and so on.

This program will eat my battery alive (accelerometer needs wakelock), but I think that knowing what I actually spend my time on is worth carrying a charger around for a week or two.