Category Archives: Users

Phil 2.21.19

7:00 – 4:00 ASRC

  • Working on white paper. Still reading Command Dysfunction and making notes. I think I’ll use the idea of C&C combat as the framing device of the paper

4:30 – 7:00 Seminar

  • Finishing slides
  • Order food!

Phil 2.20.19

7:00 – ASRC TL

  • Fast editor for very large files: EmEditor
  • Topic Modeling Systems and Interfaces
    • The 4Humanities “WhatEvery1Says” project conducted a comparative analysis in 2016 of the following topic modeling systems/interfaces. As a result, it chose to implement Andrew Goldstone’s DFR-browser for its own work.
  • Deep Learning for Video Game Playing
    • In this article, we review recent Deep Learning advances in the context of how they have been applied to play different types of video games such as first-person shooters, arcade games, and real-time strategy games. We analyze the unique requirements that different game genres pose to a deep learning system and highlight important open challenges in the context of applying these machine learning methods to video games, such as general game playing, dealing with extremely large decision spaces and sparse rewards.
    • TimeCircleMap
  • Wide Neural Networks of Any Depth Evolve as Linear Models Under Gradient Descent
    • A longstanding goal in deep learning research has been to precisely characterize training and generalization. However, the often complex loss landscapes of neural networks have made a theory of learning dynamics elusive. In this work, we show that for wide neural networks the learning dynamics simplify considerably and that, in the infinite width limit, they are governed by a linear model obtained from the first-order Taylor expansion of the network around its initial parameters. Furthermore, mirroring the correspondence between wide Bayesian neural networks and Gaussian processes, gradient-based training of wide neural networks with a squared loss produces test set predictions drawn from a Gaussian process with a particular compositional kernel. While these theoretical results are only exact in the infinite width limit, we nevertheless find excellent empirical agreement between the predictions of the original network and those of the linearized version even for finite practically-sized networks. This agreement is robust across different architectures, optimization methods, and loss functions.
  • AI Safety Needs Social Scientists
    • We believe the AI safety community needs to invest research effort in the human side of AI alignment. Many of the uncertainties involved are empirical, and can only be answered by experiment. They relate to the psychology of human rationality, emotion, and biases. Critically, we believe investigations into how people interact with AI alignment algorithms should not be held back by the limitations of existing machine learning. Current AI safety research is often limited to simple tasks in video games, robotics, or gridworlds, but problems on the human side may only appear in more realistic scenarios such as natural language discussion of value-laden questions. This is particularly important since many aspects of AI alignment change as ML systems increase in capability.
  • Started on slides for Thursday
  • Working on white paper. Adding in the paper above on Deep Learning for Video Game Playing.
  • From Command Dysfunction
    • There are three perceptual biases that affect the accuracy of one’s view of the environment: the conditioning of expectations, the resistance to change and the impact of ambiguity. (Page 14)
    • There are three primary areas in which cognitive biases degrade the accuracy of judgment within a decision process: (Page 16)
      • the attribution of causality,
      • the evaluation of probability and
        • availability bias is a rule of thumb that works on the ease with which one can remember or recall other similar instances
        • anchoring bias is a phenomenon in which decision makers adjust too little from their initial judgments as additional evidence becomes available.
        • overconfidence bias is a tendency for individual decision makers to be subjectively overconfident about the extent and accuracy of their knowledge
        • Other typical problems in estimating probabilities derive from the misunderstanding of statistics.
      • the evaluation of evidence.
        • Decision makers tend to value consistent information from a small data set over more variable information from a larger sample.
        • Absence of Evidence bias is when decision makers to miss data in complicated problems. Analysts often do not recognize that data is missing and adjust the certainty of their inferences accordingly.
        • The Persistence of Impressions bias follows a natural tendency to maintain first impressions concerning causality. It appears that the initial association of evidence to an outcome forms a strong cognitive linkage.
    • AI systems can help with these errors of judgement though, since that can be explicitly programmed or placed in the training set.
    • These are all contributors to Normal Accidents
    • What about incorporating doctrine, rules of engagement and standard operating procedures? These can change dynamically and at different scales. (Allison Model II – Organizational Processes)
    • Also, it should be possible to infer the adversaries’ rules and then find areas in the latent space that they do not cover. They will be doing the same to us. How to guard against this? Diversity?
    • While the division of labor and SOP specialization is intended to make the organization efficient, the same division generates requirements to coordinate the intelligent collection and analysis of data.41 The failure to coordinate the varied perceptions and interests within the organization can lead to a number of uncoordinated rational decisions at the lower echelons, which in tum lead to an overall irrational outcome. (Page 20)
    • There are two common cultural biases that deserve mention for their role in forming erroneous perceptions: arrogance and projection. Arrogance is the attitude of superiority over others or the opposing side. It can manifest as a national or individual perception. In the extreme case, it forgoes any serious search of alternatives or decision analysis beyond what the decision maker has already decided. It can become highly irrational. The projection bias sees the rest of the world through one’s own values and beliefs, thus tending to estimate the opposition’s intentions, motivations and capabilities as one’s own. (Page 21)
      • Again, a good case for well-designed AI/ML. That being said, a commander’s misaligned biases may discount the AI system
    • The overconfidence or hubris bias tends toward an overreaching inflation of one’s abilities and strengths. In the extreme it promotes a prideful self-confidence that is self-intoxicating and oblivious to rational limits. A decision maker affected with hubris will in his utter aggressiveness invariably be led to surprise and eventual downfall, The Hubris-Nemesis Complex is dangerous mindset that combines hubris (self intoxicating “pretension to godliness”) and nemesis (“vengeful desire” to wreak havoc and destroy). Leaders possessing this bias combination are not easily deterred or compelled by normal or rational solutions (Page 22)
    • Three major decision stress areas include the consequential weight of the decision, uncertainty and the pressure of time (Page 23)
      • Crisis settings complicate the use of rational and analytical decision processes in two ways. First, they add numerous unknowns, which in tum create many possible alternatives to the decision problem. Second, they reduce the time available to process and evaluate data, choose a course of action, and execute it.
      • As uncertainty becomes severe, decision makers begin resorting to maladaptive search and evaluation methods to reach conclusions. Part of this may stem from a desire to avoid the anxiety of being unsure, an intolerance of ambiguity. It may also be that analytical approaches are difficult when the link between the data and the outcomes is not predictable 
        • Still true for ML systems, even without stress. Being forced to make shorter searches of the solution space (not letting the results converge, etc. could be an issue)
    • The logic of dealing with the time pressure normally follows a somewhat standard pattern. Increasing time pressure first leads to an acceleration of information processing. Decision makers and their organizations will pick up the pace by expending additional resources to maintain existing decision strategies. As the pace begins to outrun in-place processing capabilities, decision makers reduce their data search and processing. In some cases this translates to increased selectivity, which the decision maker biases or weights toward details considered more important. In other cases, it does not change data collection but leads to a shallower data analysis. As the pace continues to increase, decision strategies begin to change. At this point major problems can creep into the process. The problems result from maladaptive strategies (satisficing, analogies, etc.) that save time but misrepresent data to produce inappropriate solutions. The lack of time also prevents critical introspection for perceptual and cognitive biases. In severe time pressure cases, the process may deteriorate to avoidance, denial or panic. (Page 26)
      • The goal is to create this in the adversary, but not us. Which makes this in many respects a algorithm efficiency / processing power arms race
    • In some decision situations, a timely, relatively correct response is better than an absolutely correct response that is made too late. In other words, the situation generates a tension between analysis and speed. (Page 30)
    • The Recognition-Primed Decision (RPD) process works in the following manner. First, an experienced decision maker recognizes a problem situation as familiar or prototypical. The recognition brings with it a solution. The recognition also evokes an appreciation for what additional information to monitor: plausible outcomes, typical reactions, timing cues and causal dynamics. Second, given time, the decision maker evaluates his solution for suitability by testing it through mental simulation for pitfalls and needed adjustments. Normally, the decision maker implements the first solution “on the run” and makes adjustments as required. The decision maker will not be discard a solution unless it becomes plain that it is unworkable. If so, he will attempt a second option, if available. The RPD process is one of satisficing. It assumes that experienced decision makers identify a first solution that is “reasonably good” and are capable of mentally projecting its implementation. The RPD process also assumes that experienced decision makers are able to implement their one solution at any time during the process. (Page 31)
      • It should be possible to train systems to approximate this, possibly at different levels of abstraction
    • The RPD is a descriptive model that explains how experienced decision makers work problems in high stress decision situations (Page 31)
      • It is reflexive, and as such well suited to ML techniques, assuming there is enough data…
    • Situations that require the careful deployment of resources and analysis of abstract data, such as anticipating an enemy’s course of action, require an analytical approach. If there is time for analysis, a rational process normally provides a better solution for these kinds of problems (page 31)
      • This is not what AI/ML is good at. As reaction requirements become tighter, these actions will have to be run in “slow motion” offline and used to train the system.
    • The RPD model provides some insight as to how operational commanders survive in high-load, ambiguous and time pressured situations. The key seems to be experience. The experience serves as the base for what may be seen as an intuitive way to overcome stress. (Page 32)
      • This is why training with attribution may be the best way. “Ms. XXX trained this system and I trust her” may be the best option. We may want to build a “stable” of machine trainers.
    • Decision makers with more experience will tend to employ intuitive methods more often than analytical processes. This reliance on pattern recognition among experienced commanders may provide an opportunity for an adversary to manipulate the patterns to his advantage in deception operations. (Page 32)

Phil 2.19.19

7:00 – 6:00 ASRC TL IRAD

  • Something to listen to tomorrow morning? Tracing the Spread of Fake News
    • Two years after a presidential election that shocked so many, we are still trying to understand the role that fake news sources played, and how a swarm of propaganda clouded social media. Now a comprehensive study has looked carefully at the impact of untrustworthy online sources in the election, with some surprising results, and some suggestions for how to avoid problems in the future. In the studio for this episode is David Lazer, Professor of Political Science and Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University. He is one of the authors of Fake news on Twitter during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, which was just published in Science Magazine. 
  • Finished my writeup on Clockwork Muse. Now I need to make slides by Thursday.
  • Visual analytics for collaborative human-machine confidence in human-centric active learning tasks
    • Active machine learning is a human-centric paradigm that leverages a small labelled dataset to build an initial weak classifier, that can then be improved over time through human-machine collaboration. As new unlabelled samples are observed, the machine can either provide a prediction, or query a human ‘oracle’ when the machine is not confident in its prediction. Of course, just as the machine may lack confidence, the same can also be true of a human ‘oracle’: humans are not all-knowing, untiring oracles. A human’s ability to provide an accurate and confident response will often vary between queries, according to the duration of the current interaction, their level of engagement with the system, and the difficulty of the labelling task. This poses an important question of how uncertainty can be expressed and accounted for in a human-machine collaboration. In short, how can we facilitate a mutually-transparent collaboration between two uncertain actors—a person and a machine—that leads to an improved outcome? In this work, we demonstrate the benefit of human-machine collaboration within the process of active learning, where limited data samples are available or where labelling costs are high. To achieve this, we developed a visual analytics tool for active learning that promotes transparency, inspection, understanding and trust, of the learning process through human-machine collaboration. Fundamental to the notion of confidence, both parties can report their level of confidence during active learning tasks using the tool, such that this can be used to inform learning. Human confidence of labels can be accounted for by the machine, the machine can query for samples based on confidence measures, and the machine can report confidence of current predictions to the human, to further the trust and transparency between the collaborative parties. In particular, we find that this can improve the robustness of the classifier when incorrect sample labels are provided, due to unconfidence or fatigue. Reported confidences can also better inform human-machine sample selection in collaborative sampling. Our experimentation compares the impact of different selection strategies for acquiring samples: machine-driven, human-driven, and collaborative selection. We demonstrate how a collaborative approach can improve trust in the model robustness, achieving high accuracy and low user correction, with only limited data sample selections.
  • Look into principle of least effort and game theory. See if there is anything
    • Human Behaviour and the Principle of Least Effort. An Introduction to Human Ecology
      • Subtitled “An introduction to human ecology,” this work attempts systematically to treat “least effort” (and its derivatives) as the principle underlying a multiplicity of individual and collective behaviors, variously but regularly distributed. The general orientation is quantitative, and the principle is widely interpreted and applied. After a brief elaboration of principles and a brief summary of pertinent studies (mostly in psychology), Part One (Language and the structure of the personality) develops 8 chapters on its theme, ranging from regularities within language per se to material on individual psychology. Part Two (Human relations: a case of intraspecies balance) contains chapters on “The economy of geography,” “Intranational and international cooperation and conflict,” “The distribution of economic power and social status,” and “Prestige values and cultural vogues”—all developed in terms of the central theme. 20 pages of references with some annotation, keyed to the index. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
    • Decision Making and the Avoidance of Cognitive Demand
      • Behavioral and economic theories have long maintained that actions are chosen so as to minimize demands for exertion or work, a principle sometimes referred to as the “law of less work.” The data supporting this idea pertain almost entirely to demands for physical effort. However, the same minimization principle has often been assumed also to apply to cognitive demand. We set out to evaluate the validity of this assumption. In six behavioral experiments, participants chose freely between courses of action associated with different levels of demand for controlled information processing. Together, the results of these experiments revealed a bias in favor of the less demanding course of action. The bias was obtained across a range of choice settings and demand manipulations, and was not wholly attributable to strategic avoidance of errors, minimization of time on task, or maximization of the rate of goal achievement. Remarkably, the effect also did not depend on awareness of the demand manipulation. Consistent with a motivational account, avoidance of demand displayed sensitivity to task incentives and co-varied with individual differences in the efficacy of executive control. The findings reported, together with convergent neuroscientific evidence, lend support to the idea that anticipated cognitive demand plays a significant role in behavioral decision-making.
    • Intuition, deliberation, and the evolution of cooperation
      • Humans often cooperate with strangers, despite the costs involved. A long tradition of theoretical modeling has sought ultimate evolutionary explanations for this seemingly altruistic behavior. More recently, an entirely separate body of experimental work has begun to investigate cooperation’s proximate cognitive underpinnings using a dual process framework: Is deliberative self-control necessary to reign in selfish impulses, or does self-interested deliberation restrain an intuitive desire to cooperate? Integrating these ultimate and proximate approaches, we introduce dual-process cognition into a formal game theoretic model of the evolution of cooperation. Agents play prisoner’s dilemma games, some of which are one-shot and others of which involve reciprocity. They can either respond by using a generalized intuition, which is not sensitive to whether the game is oneshot or reciprocal, or pay a (stochastically varying) cost to deliberate and tailor their strategy to the type of game they are facing. We find that, depending on the level of reciprocity and assortment, selection favors one of two strategies: intuitive defectors who never deliberate, or dual-process agents who intuitively cooperate but sometimes use deliberation to defect in one-shot games. Critically, selection never favors agents who use deliberation to override selfish impulses: Deliberation only serves to undermine cooperation with strangers. Thus, by introducing a formal theoretical framework for exploring cooperation through a dual-process lens, we provide a clear answer regarding the role of deliberation in cooperation based on evolutionary modeling, help to organize a growing body of sometimes conflicting empirical results, and shed light on the nature of human cognition and social decision making.
    • Complexity Aversion: Influences of Cognitive Abilities, Culture and System of Thought
      • Complexity aversion describes the preference of decision makers for less complex options that cannot be explained by expected utility theory. While a number of research articles investigate the effects of complexity on choices, up to this point there exist only theoretical approaches aiming to explain the reasons behind complexity aversion. This paper presents two experimental studies that aim to fill this gap. The first study considers subjects’ cognitive abilities as a potential driver of complexity aversion. Cognitive skills are measured in a cognitive reflection test and, in addition, are approximated by subjects’ consistency of choices. In opposition to our hypothesis, subjects with higher cognitive skills display stronger complexity aversion compared to their peers. The second study deals with cultural background. The experiment was therefore conducted in Germany and in Japan. German subjects prefer less complex lotteries while Japanese are indifferent regarding choice complexity.
    • Space Time Dynamics of Insurgent Activity in Iraq
      • This paper describes analyses to determine whether there is a space-time dependency for insurgent activity. The data used for the research were 3 months of terrorist incidents attributed to the insurgency in Iraq during U.S. occupation and the methods used are based on a body of work well established using police recorded crime data. It was found that events clustered in space and time more than would be expected if the events were unrelated, suggesting communication of risk in space and time and potentially informing next event prediction. The analysis represents a first but important step and suggestions for further analysis addressing prevention or suppression of future incidents are briefly discussed.
  • Large teams develop and small teams disrupt science and technology
    • One of the most universal trends in science and technology today is the growth of large teams in all areas, as solitary researchers and small teams diminish in prevalence1,2,3. Increases in team size have been attributed to the specialization of scientific activities3, improvements in communication technology4,5, or the complexity of modern problems that require interdisciplinary solutions6,7,8. This shift in team size raises the question of whether and how the character of the science and technology produced by large teams differs from that of small teams. Here we analyse more than 65 million papers, patents and software products that span the period 1954–2014, and demonstrate that across this period smaller teams have tended to disrupt science and technology with new ideas and opportunities, whereas larger teams have tended to develop existing ones. Work from larger teams builds on more-recent and popular developments, and attention to their work comes immediately. By contrast, contributions by smaller teams search more deeply into the past, are viewed as disruptive to science and technology and succeed further into the future—if at all. Observed differences between small and large teams are magnified for higher-impact work, with small teams known for disruptive work and large teams for developing work. Differences in topic and research design account for a small part of the relationship between team size and disruption; most of the effect occurs at the level of the individual, as people move between smaller and larger teams. These results demonstrate that both small and large teams are essential to a flourishing ecology of science and technology, and suggest that, to achieve this, science policies should aim to support a diversity of team sizes.
  • Meeting with Panos about JuryRoom. Interesting! Tony Smith looks like someone to ping. Need to ask Panos

Phil 2.16.19

Command Dysfunction: Minding the Cognitive War

  • This paper analyzes the factors and conditions of command dysfunction from the cognitive, or mental, perspective of command and control warfare (C2W). The author examines the limitations of rational decision making and the tension that exists between rational and intuitive processes. Next, the paper examines the vulnerabilities of rational and intuitive processes in order to build a cognitive warfare framework. The framework consists of three categories: the command baseline, stressors, and deception. The stressor and deception categories act on the command baseline. The analysis also suggests that there are a number of possible interactions that exist between the stressor and deception categories. The paper then uses the framework to analyze evidence of command dysfunction in three historical campaigns. The historical analyses study the German command during the Normandy invasion, the Allied command during the first week of the Battle of the Bulge, and the Israeli command during the first half of the Arab-Israeli October 1973 War. In addition to showing that there are interactions between stressors and deception, the analyses highlight the importance of understanding the adversary’s command baseline. The paper concludes that effective C2W is not so much what is done to an adversary’s command, but rather what he does to himself, perhaps with a little help.

2019 Annual Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics. Streaming Tutorials, June 2nd. The following tutorials have been accepted for NAACL 2019 and will be held on Sunday, June 2nd, 2019. Exact timings will be posted later as part of the official schedule.


Fighting disinformation across Google products

  • Providing useful and trusted information at the scale that the Internet has reached is enormously complex and an important responsibility. Adding to that complexity, over the last several years we’ve seen organized campaigns use online platforms to deliberately spread false or misleading information. We have twenty years of experience in these information challenges and it’s what we strive to do better than anyone else. So while we have more work to do, we’ve beenworking hard to combat this challenge for many years.

Phil 2.14.19

7:00 – 7:00 ASRC

  • Worked on the whitepaper. Going down the chain of consequences with respect to adding AI to military systems in the light of the Starcraft2 research.
  • Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief
    • A 1999 book by Canadian clinical psychologist and psychology professor Jordan Peterson. The book describes a comprehensive theory for how people construct meaning, in a way that is compatible with the modern scientific understanding of how the brain functions.[1] It examines the “structure of systems of belief and the role those systems play in the regulation of emotion”,[2] using “multiple academic fields to show that connecting myths and beliefs with science is essential to fully understand how people make meaning”.[3] Wikipedia
  • Continuing with Clockwork Muse review. Finished the overview and theoretical takes. Continuing on the notes, which is going slow because of bad text scanning
  • JAX is Autograd and XLA, brought together for high-performance machine learning research. With its updated version of Autograd, JAX can automatically differentiate native Python and NumPy functions. It can differentiate through loops, branches, recursion, and closures, and it can take derivatives of derivatives of derivatives. It supports reverse-mode differentiation (a.k.a. backpropagation) via grad as well as forward-mode differentiation, and the two can be composed arbitrarily to any order. What’s new is that JAX uses XLA to compile and run your NumPy programs on GPUs and TPUs. Compilation happens under the hood by default, with library calls getting just-in-time compiled and executed. But JAX also lets you just-in-time compile your own Python functions into XLA-optimized kernels using a one-function API, jit. Compilation and automatic differentiation can be composed arbitrarily, so you can express sophisticated algorithms and get maximal performance without leaving Python.
  • Working on white paper lit review
    • An Evolutionary Algorithm that Constructs Recurrent Neural Networks
      • Standard methods for simultaneously inducing the structure and weights of recurrent neural networks limit every task to an assumed class of architectures. Such a simplification is necessary since the interactions between network structure and function are not well understood. Evolutionary computations, which include genetic algorithms and evolutionary programming, are population-based search methods that have shown promise in many similarly complex tasks. This paper argues that genetic algorithms are inappropriate for network acquisition and describes an evolutionary program, called GNARL, that simultaneously acquires both the structure and weights for recurrent networks. GNARL’s empirical acquisition method allows for the emergence of complex behaviors and topologies that are potentially excluded by the artificial architectural constraints imposed in standard network induction methods
    • Added Evolutionary Deep Learning and Deep RTS to the references
  • Better Language Models and Their Implications
    • We’ve trained a large-scale unsupervised language model which generates coherent paragraphs of text, achieves state-of-the-art performance on many language modeling benchmarks, and performs rudimentary reading comprehension, machine translation, question answering, and summarization — all without task-specific training.
  • Shimei seminar – 4:30 – 7:00

Phil 2.13.19

7:00 – 7:00 ASRC IRAD TL

  • The Digital Clockwork Muse: A Computational Model of Aesthetic Evolution
    • This paper presents a computational model of creativity that attempts to capture within a social context an important aspect of the art and design process: the search for novelty. The computational model consists of multiple novelty-seeking agents that can assess the interestingness of artworks. The agents can communicate to particularly interesting artworks to others. Agents can also communicate to reward other agents for finding interesting artworks. We present the results from running experiments to investigate the effects of searching for different degrees of novelty on the artworks produced and the social organisation of the agents.
  • Upload the rest of Slack Tymora.
  • Create some txt files and feed into LMN. I’m thinking of by player and then by slice. Do this for both PHPBB and Slack data. Other ideas
    • Look into coherence measures
    • Are there economic models of attention? (ArXive)
    • TAACO is an easy to use tool that calculates 150 indices of both local and global cohesion, including a number of type-token ratio indices (including specific parts of speech, lemmas, bigrams, trigrams and more), adjacent overlap indices (at both the sentence and paragraph level), and connectives indices.
    • CRAT is an easy to use tool that includes over 700 indices related to lexical sophistication, cohesion and source text/summary text overlap. CRAT is particularly well suited for the exploration of writing quality as it relates to summary writing.
    •  TAALED is an analysis tool designed to calculate a wide variety of lexical diversity indices. Homographs are disambiguated using part of speech tags, and indices are calculated using lemma forms. Indices can also be calculated using all lemmas, content lemmas, or function lemmas. Also available is diagnostic output which allows the user to see how TAALED processed each word.
    • TAALES is a tool that measures over 400 classic and new indices of lexical sophistication, and includes indices related to a wide range of sub-constructs.  TAALES indices have been used to inform models of second language (L2) speaking proficiency, first language (L1) and L2 writing proficiency, spoken and written lexical proficiency, genre differences, and satirical language.
    • SEANCE is an easy to use tool that includes 254 core indices and 20 component indices based on recent advances in sentiment analysis. In addition to the core indices, SEANCE allows for a number of customized indices including filtering for particular parts of speech and controlling for instances of negation.
    • TAASSC is an advanced syntactic analysis tool. It measures a number of indices related to syntactic development. Included are classic indices of syntactic complexity (e.g., mean length of T-unit) and fine-grained indices of phrasal (e.g., number of adjectives per noun phrase) and clausal (e.g., number of adverbials per clause) complexity. Also included are indices that are grounded in usage-based perspectives to language acquisition that rely on frequency profiles of verb argument constructions.
    • GAMET is an easy to use tool that provides incidence counts for structural and mechanics errors in texts including grammar, spelling, punctuation, white space, and repetition errors. The tool also provides line output for the errors flagged in the text.
    • Comparison of Top 6 Python NLP Libraries
      • NLTK (Natural Language Toolkit) is used for such tasks as tokenization, lemmatization, stemming, parsing, POS tagging, etc. This library has tools for almost all NLP tasks.
      • Spacy is the main competitor of the NLTK. These two libraries can be used for the same tasks.
      • Scikit-learn provides a large library for machine learning. The tools for text preprocessing are also presented here.
      • Gensim is the package for topic and vector space modeling, document similarity.
      • The general mission of the Pattern library is to serve as the web mining module. So, it supports NLP only as a side task.
      • Polyglot is the yet another python package for NLP. It is not very popular but also can be used for a wide range of the NLP tasks.
  • Continuing writing Clockwork Muse review
  • Reading Attachment 1 to BAA FA8750-18-S-7014. “While white papers will be considered if received prior to 6:00 PM Eastern Standard Time (EST) on 30 Sep 2022, the following submission dates are suggested to best align with projected funding:” 
    • FY20 – 15 April 2019
  • AIMS/ML Meeting. Not sure what the outcome was, other than folks are covered for this quarter?
  • Long, wide ranging meeting with Wayne at Frisco’s. Gave him an account on And it seems like we won first place for Blue Sky papers?

Phil 2.12.19

7:00 – 4:30 ASRC IRAD

  • Talked with Eric yesterday. going to write up a white paper about teachable AI. Two-three week effort
  • Speaking of which, The Evolved Transformer
    • Recent works have highlighted the strengths of the Transformer architecture for dealing with sequence tasks. At the same time, neural architecture search has advanced to the point where it can outperform human-designed models. The goal of this work is to use architecture search to find a better Transformer architecture. We first construct a large search space inspired by the recent advances in feed-forward sequential models and then run evolutionary architecture search, seeding our initial population with the Transformer. To effectively run this search on the computationally expensive WMT 2014 English-German translation task, we develop the progressive dynamic hurdles method, which allows us to dynamically allocate more resources to more promising candidate models. The architecture found in our experiments – the Evolved Transformer – demonstrates consistent improvement over the Transformer on four well-established language tasks: WMT 2014 English-German, WMT 2014 English-French, WMT 2014 English-Czech and LM1B. At big model size, the Evolved Transformer is twice as efficient as the Transformer in FLOPS without loss in quality. At a much smaller – mobile-friendly – model size of ~7M parameters, the Evolved Transformer outperforms the Transformer by 0.7 BLEU on WMT’14 English-German.
  • Finished running Tymora1 on Slack. Downloaded, though the download didn’t include research_notes. Hmmm. Looks like I can’t make it public, either.
  • Thinking about writing a tagging app, possibly with a centrality capability.
  • Started on the Teachable AI paper. The rough outline is there, and I have a good set of references.

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

Phil 1.30.19

7:00 – 4:00 ASRC IRAD

Teaching a neural network to drive a car. It’s a simple network with a fixed number of hidden nodes (no NEAT), and no bias. Yet it manages to drive the cars fast and safe after just a few generations. Population is 650. The network evolves through random mutation (no cross-breeding). Fitness evaluation is currently done manually as explained in the video.

  • This interactive balance between evolution and learning is exactly the sort of interaction that I think should be at the core of the research browser. The only addition is the ability to support groups collaboratively interacting with the information so that multiple analysts can train the system.
  • A quick thing on the power of belief spaces from a book review about, of all things, Hell. One of the things that gives dimension to a belief space is the fact that people show up.
    • Soon, he’d left their church and started one of his own, where he proclaimed his lenient gospel, pouring out pity and anger for those Christians whose so-called God was a petty torturer, until his little congregation petered out. Assured salvation couldn’t keep people in pews, it turned out. The whole episode, in its intensity and its focus on the stakes of textual interpretation, was reminiscent of Lucas Hnath’s recent play “The Christians,” about a pastor who comes out against Hell and sparks not relief but an exegetical nightmare.
  • Web Privacy Measurement in Real-Time Bidding Systems. A Graph-Based Approach to Rtb System Classification.
    • In the doctoral thesis, Robbert J. van Eijk investigates the advertisements online that seem to follow you. The technology enabling the advertisements is called Real-Time Bidding (RTB). An RTB system is defined as a network of partners enabling big data applications within the organizational field of marketing. The system aims to improve sales by real-time data-driven marketing and personalized (behavioral) advertising. The author applies network science algorithms to arrive at measuring the privacy component of RTB. In the thesis, it is shown that cluster-edge betweenness and node betweenness support us in understanding the partnerships of the ad-technology companies. From our research it transpires that the interconnection between partners in an RTB network is caused by the data flows of the companies themselves due to their specializations in ad technology. Furthermore, the author provides that a Graph-Based Methodological Approach (GBMA) controls the situation of differences in consent implementations in European countries. The GBMA is tested on a dataset of national and regional European news websites.
  • Continuing with Tkinter and ttk
      • That was easy!
        • app3
      • And now there is a scrollbar, which is a little odd to add. They are separate components that you have to explicitly link and place in the same ttk.Frame:
    # make the frame for the listbox and the scroller to live in
    self.lbox_frame = ttk.Frame(self.content_frame)
    # place the frame 
    self.lbox_frame.grid(column=0, row=0, rowspan=6, sticky=(N,W,E,S))
    # create the listbox and the scrollbar
    self.lbox = Listbox(self.lbox_frame, listvariable=self.cnames, height=5)
    lbox_scrollbar = ttk.Scrollbar(self.lbox_frame, orient=VERTICAL, command=self.lbox.yview)
    # after both components have been made, have the lbox point at the scroller
    self.lbox['yscrollcommand'] = lbox_scrollbar.set


    • If you get this wrong, then you can end up with a scrollbar in some other Frame, connected to your target. Here’s what happens if the parent is root:
      • badscroller
    • And here is where it’s in the lbox frame as in the code example above:
      • goodscroller
    • The fully formed examples are no more. Putting together a menu app with text. Got the text running with a scrollbar, and everything makes sense. Next is the menus…scrollingtext
    • Here’s the version of the app with working menus: slackdbio
  • For seminar: Predictive Analysis by Leveraging Temporal User Behavior and User Embeddings
    • The rapid growth of mobile devices has resulted in the generation of a large number of user behavior logs that contain latent intentions and user interests. However, exploiting such data in real-world applications is still difficult for service providers due to the complexities of user behavior over a sheer number of possible actions that can vary according to time. In this work, a time-aware RNN model, TRNN, is proposed for predictive analysis from user behavior data. First, our approach predicts next user action more accurately than the baselines including the n-gram models as well as two recently introduced time-aware RNN approaches. Second, we use TRNN to learn user embeddings from sequences of user actions and show that overall the TRNN embeddings outperform conventional RNN embeddings. Similar to how word embeddings benefit a wide range of task in natural language processing, the learned user embeddings are general and could be used in a variety of tasks in the digital marketing area. This claim is supported empirically by evaluating their utility in user conversion prediction, and preferred application prediction. According to the evaluation results, TRNN embeddings perform better than the baselines including Bag of Words (BoW), TFIDF and Doc2Vec. We believe that TRNN embeddings provide an effective representation for solving practical tasks such as recommendation, user segmentation and predictive analysis of business metrics.