Monthly Archives: February 2019

Phil 2.11.19

7:00 – 5:00 ASRC IRAD (TL)

  • Gen Studio is a way to navigate between designs in latent space. It is a prototype concept which was created over a two-day hackathon with collaborators across The Met, Microsoft, and MIT.
  • Write up Clockwork Muse
  • Continue with parsing, storing and report generation of slack data. Aaron had the idea that multiple statements by one person should be combined into a single post. Need to think about how that works in the report generation. Since the retrieved list is ordered by timestamp, the naive implementation is to accumulate text into a single post as long as the same person is “talking”
  • Pinged back to Panos about JuryRoom. The original email evaporated, so I tried again…
  • Setting up a meeting with Wayne for Wednesday?
  • Fika – nope, meeting with Eric instead. The goal is to write up a whitepaper for human in the loop AI

Phil 2.10.19

Reading Clockwork Muse. Machines don’t really have a desire for novelty directly. But they do have the derivative of arousal potential. That comes from us, their creators. Machines on their own won’t change. Yet.  This is a manifestation of their non-evolutionary history. When machines can seek novelty and become bored is when they will become recognizable as entities.

Listening to Hidden Brain – One Head, Two Brains: How The Brain’s Hemispheres Shape The World We See (transcript)

  • This week on Hidden Brain, we dive into Iain’s research on how the left and right hemispheres shape our perceptions. Iain argues that differences in the brain — and Western society’s preference for what one hemisphere has to offer — have had enormous effects on our lives.
    • VEDANTAM: One of the important differences you point out is sort of understanding the role of metaphor in language. For example, which is that the left hemisphere really is incapable of understanding what metaphor is or how it works.
    • MCGILCHRIST: Yes. And that’s no small thing because as some philosophers have pointed out, metaphor is how we understand everything. And they point out that, actually, particularly scientific and philosophical understanding is mediated by metaphors. In other words, the only way we can understand something is in terms of something else that we think we already understand. And it’s making the analogy, which is what a metaphor does, that enables us to go, I see, I get it. Now, if you think that metaphor is just one of those dispensable decorations that you could add to meaning – it’s kind of nice but probably a distraction from the real meaning – you’ve got it upside down. Because if you don’t understand the metaphor, you haven’t understood the meaning. Literal meaning, however, is a peripheral, diminished version of the richness of metaphorical understanding. And what we know is the right hemisphere understands those implicit meanings, those connections of meanings, what we call connotations, as well as just denotations. It understands imagery. It understands humor. It understands all of that.
    • VEDANTAM: Have you ever wondered whether you, yourself, might be captive to your left hemisphere and you, potentially, now can’t see the problems with your own model?
    • MCGILCHRIST: That’s a very good point. And it’s not – I’m not critical of models, actually, in themselves. I’m critical of particular models because, in fact, we can’t understand anything – this is one of my basic points – except by having a model with which we compare it. So that is always a limitation. We don’t move from a world in which we have models to a better one in which we don’t. We move from a bad model to a better one. So every model has its limitations, but some form, simply, a better fit. And that is what the progress of science is.

This thread is wild. It’s how to force a stampede: YouTube

Phil 2.8.19

7:00 – 6:00 ASRC IRAD TL

  • Need to ping Eric about tasking. Suggest time series prediction. Speaking of which, Transformers (post 1 and post 2) may be much better than LSTMs for series prediction.
    • The Transformer model in Attention is all you need:a Keras implementation.
      • A Keras+TensorFlow Implementation of the Transformer: “Attention is All You Need” (Ashish Vaswani, Noam Shazeer, Niki Parmar, Jakob Uszkoreit, Llion Jones, Aidan N. Gomez, Lukasz Kaiser, Illia Polosukhin, arxiv, 2017)
    • keras-transformer 0.17.0
      • Implementation of transformer for translation-like tasks.
    • The other option is “teachable” ML systems using evolution. There is a lot of interesting older work in this area:
      • Particle swarms for feedforward neural network training
      • Evolving artificial neural networks
      • Training Feedforward Neural Networks Using Genetic Algorithms.
        • Multilayered feedforward neural networks possess a number of properties which make them particularly suited to complex pattern classification problems. However, their application to some real world problems has been hampered by the lack of a training algorithm which reliably finds a nearly globally optimal set of weights in a relatively short time. Genetic algorithms are a class of optimization procedures which are good at exploring a large and complex space in an intelligent way to find values close to the global optimum. Hence, they are well suited to the problem of training feedforward networks. In this paper, we describe a set of experiments performed on data from a sonar image classification problem. These experiments both 1) illustrate the improvements gained by using a genetic algorithm rather than backpropagation and 2) chronicle the evolution of the performance of the genetic algorithm as we added more and more domain-specific knowledge into it.
  • Add writing to the db from within the program, download the latest slack bundle, and try storing it!
  • Read in test-dungeon-1 and realized that there is no explicit link between the channel and the message in the data, so I added fields for the current directory and the current file
  • Ok, everything seems to be working. I had a few trips around the block getting a unique id for messages, but that seems ok now.
  • Created view(s), where I learned how to use conditionals and was happy:
    SELECT * FROM t_message;
    SELECT * FROM t_message_files;
    CREATE or REPLACE VIEW user_view AS
    SELECT,, p.real_name,
           (CASE WHEN p.display_name > '' THEN p.display_name ELSE END) as username
    FROM t_user u
           INNER JOIN t_user_profile p ON = p.parent_id;
    select * from user_view;
    CREATE or REPLACE VIEW post_view AS
    SELECT FROM_UNIXTIME(p.ts) as post_time, p.dirname as post_topic, p.text as post_text, u.username,
           (CASE WHEN p.subtype > '' THEN p.subtype ELSE p.type END) as type
    FROM t_message p
           INNER JOIN user_view u ON p.user =;
    select * from post_view order by post_time limit 1000;


  • Need to put together a strawman invitation that also has checkboxes for BB-based and/or Slack-based preferences and why a user might choose one over the other. Nope, not yet
  • Got the Slack academic discount!

Phil 2.7.19

7:00 – 7:00 ASRC IRAD TL

  • Continuing with Slack to DB process. I should be done with channels, and now I need to get conversations done.
    • The secondary tables that point to the primary user and conversation tables and the tertiary tables that point at them need to be looked at based on what happens when we go past the 10k limit (assuming that I can’t get the discount on the Standard Plan). REPLACE INTO won’t work with an auto incrementing primary key
    • Got all the parts working, now I need to automate and try out on Tymora1
    • Need to write up a letter for Don to sign – done
    • I think Emily is having a run tonight? Nope
    • Added a research_notes section to Slack for Aaron and I right now. I think I’ll invite Wayne as well – done! Need to know
  • Submitted expenses for TL trip
  • Was officially not invited to the TF dev conf
  • Shimei’s group meeting 4:30 – 7:00

Phil 2.6.19

7:00 – 5:00 ASRC IRAD (TL)

  • The role of maps in spatial knowledge acquisition
    • The Cartographic Journal
    • One goal of cartographic research is to improve the usefulness of maps. To do so, we must consider the process of spatial knowledge acquisition, the role of maps in that process, and the content of cognitive representations derived. Research from psychology, geography, and other disciplines related to these issues is reviewed. This review is used to suggest potential new directions for research with particular attention to spatial problem solving and geographic instruction. A classroom experiment related to these issues is then described. The experiment highlights some of the implications that a concern for the process of spatial knowledge acquisition will have on questions and methods of cartographic research as well as on the use of maps in geographic instruction. It also provides evidence of independent but interrelated verbal and spatial components of regional images that can be altered by directed map work.
  • It’s Not A Lie If You Believe It: Lying and Belief Distortion Under Norm-Uncertainty
    • This paper focuses on norm-following considerations as motivating behavior when lying opportunities are present. To obtain evidence on what makes it harder/easier to lie, we hypothesize that subjects might use belief-manipulation in order to justify their lying. We employ a two-stage variant of a cheating paradigm, in which subjects’ beliefs are elicited in stage 1 before performing the die task in stage 2. In stage 1: a) we elicit the subjects’ beliefs about majoritarian (i) behavior or (ii) normative beliefs in a previous session, and b) we vary whether participants are (i) aware or (ii) unaware of the upcoming opportunity to lie. We show that belief manipulation happens, and takes the form of people convincing themselves that lying behavior is widespread. In contrast with beliefs about the behavior of others, we find that beliefs about their normative convictions are not distorted, since believing that the majority disapproves of lying does not inhibit own lying. These findings are consistent with a model where agents are motivated by norm-following concerns, and honest behavior is a strong indicator of disapproval of lying but disapproval of lying is not a strong indicator of honest behavior. We provide evidence that supports this hypothesis.
  • Sent a note to Slack, asking for an academic plan. They do, and there are forms to fill out. I need to send Don some text that he can send back to me on letterhead.
  • Looks like I’m not going to the TF Dev Conf this year…
  • Continuing with the INSERT code
  • Meeting in Greenbelt to discuss… what, exactly?
  • Got a cool book: A Programmer’s Introduction to Mathematics
  • Got my converter creating error-free sql! t_user
  • Working on reading channel data into the db. Possibly done, but I’m afraid to run it so late in the day. I have chores!
  • Reviewing proposal for missing citations – done

Phil 2.5.19

7:00 – 5:00 ASRC IRAD

  • Got the parser to the point that it’s creating query strings, but I need to escape the text properly
  • Created and ab_slack mysql db
  • Added “parent_id” and an auto increment ID to any of the arrays that are associated with the Slack data
  • Reviewing sections 1-3 – done
  • Figure out some past performance – done
  • Work on the CV. Add the GF work and A2P ML work. – done
  • Start reimbursement for NJ trip
  •  Accidentally managed to start a $45/month subscription to the IEEE digital library. It really reeks of deceptive practices. There is nothing on the subscription page that informs you that this is a $45/month, 6-month minimum purchase. I’m about to contact the Maryland deceptive practices people to see if there is legal action that can be brought