What are you working on? July 2013

by David_Gerard1 min read2nd Jul 2013101 comments

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This is the supposedly-bimonthly-but-we-missed-April-and-June-2013 'What are you working On?' thread. Previous threads are here. So here's the question:

What are you working on? 

Here are some guidelines:

  • Focus on projects that you have recently made progress on, not projects that you're thinking about doing but haven't started.
  • Why this project and not others? Mention reasons why you're doing the project and/or why others should contribute to your project (if applicable).
  • Talk about your goals for the project.
  • Any kind of project is fair game: personal improvement, research project, art project, whatever.
  • Link to your work if it's linkable.
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[-][anonymous]7y 31

Powershame: Takes screenshots of your desktop at random intervals and sends them to someone whose opinion you care about, so both of you can watch a time-lapse of your work at the end of the day. Currently testing on Linux, Alpha coming out within the next few weeks.

Edit: You can signup to be notified when Powershame is available here: http://powershame.com

"Well, given how fastidiously you stuck to getting your coding project finished, I'd say you totally earned Busty Lesbian Riding-Crop Three-Way..."

[-][anonymous]7y 14

Scheduling (shame between 10am and 6pm, say) is an important feature.

4djcb7yOh, that's a really interesting idea! Is the code available somewhere?
3[anonymous]7yIt will be.
1[anonymous]7yFirst public draft of the client code is now here: https://github.com/jaibot/powershame-client [https://github.com/jaibot/powershame-client] It's built to work with a server which doesn't yet exist in the wild, so not very useful in its current form, but...soon.
0djcb7yOh, thanks for sharing this!
2BerryPick67yI would use this.

Finishing my Master degree in Biology, so I can move to PhD on an aging-related topic. In other words, working on reducing the existential risk to my own existence.

If you want immortality, you gotta do it yourself.

3someonewrongonthenet7yWhile I fully support your endeavors, if it's really your particular death that you are attempting to delay, wouldn't the best strategy be to focus on your body and your money? I'm planning on going into science myself, but I'm led to believe it is a comparatively low wage, largely sedentary, time-consuming job which is not particularly compatible with the pursuit of health and wealth.
2Locaha7yI'm not pursuing health and wealth (although they are a nice bonus to have), I'm pursuing negligible aging - for a start. As of now, no amount of money can give you this (see also: Steve Jobs, pancreas). Of course, if I had enough money, I could directly finance aging research. However, I think I have better chances going through academy.
2NancyLebovitz7yKnowing the science improves the odds of choosing methods that work (or are at least harmless) earlier.
2Michelle_Z7yWe might be working on similar projects... :o
3Locaha7yIn the end, it's one big project. :-)

My goals are money, power, and romance. Some good news on all three, finally!

Money. I'm bankrolling my buddy in a high stakes poker game. He's highly skilled but rather risk-averse, so we negotiated the following deal: I provide his buy-ins, he gives me 40% of his winnings and keeps the rest. It's been a great year so far, netting me about a year's worth of living expenses for basically zero time investment. As an unexpected side effect, by talking over hands and general strategic concepts with him, I've absorbed some of his poker skills, which I've tested in a few high stakes games this year to good success. I have no desire to play professionally, though.

Power. I've decided to strike out on my own, career-wise. I've got a lot of ideas for software products that I'd like to take the time to develop more fully. My side business is two years old and has filled over 3,500 orders and could probably support me if I did it full-time. I have a lot of leverage at my current job so I talked to my boss about it. He offered me a raise which I turned down, then he said that he'd hire me as a founding CTO of his new business if I wanted the position; I said I'd think about it. They're amenable... (read more)

Working on a new TDT writeup for MIRI.

Working on my classes for SPARC.

Writing a long series of math blog posts around the interface of logic, type theory, and category theory. I may not be able to summon the willpower to get through every topic I want to cover, but if I do then the light at the end of the tunnel is homotopy type theory, and I may also attempt to learn Haskell as a side effect.

0Fhyve7yWhy Haskell and not Coq or Agda? That's where all the HoTT stuff is being done anyways.
0Qiaochu_Yuan7yGood point. I know some nice Haskell tutorials and haven't looked around to see if there are comparably nice Coq tutorials, but I guess it's worth looking.
1Fhyve7yTutorials/texts that I know of are Software Foundations [http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~bcpierce/sf/], Andrej Bauer's tutorial [http://math.andrej.com/2011/02/22/video-tutorials-for-the-coq-proof-assistant/#more-894] , and this Hott-Coq tutorial [http://ncatlab.org/nlab/show/Oberwolfach+HoTT-Coq+tutorial]. It looks like installing the HoTT library is a huge pain in the arse though so I think I'll stick with vanilla Coq until either I get one of my CS friend to install it for me, or they make a more user friendly install. Edit: also this [http://adam.chlipala.net/itp/]
0Ben Pace7yAs someone who didn't get past the second round of the SPARC applications this year, have you any recommendations of how I might be able to get a similar education at all?
3Qiaochu_Yuan7yTake this course [https://johncarlosbaez.wordpress.com/2013/06/27/quantitative-reasoning-at-yale-nus-college/] in Singapore?
1Jayson_Virissimo7yWow, awesome. This is particularly interesting to me because I'm in the process of designing a neo-liberal arts homeschool curriculum for my son (who is currently an infant). Thanks for the link.
0Ben Pace7yThat's brilliant, thanks.

I've been working on the Less Wrong Study Hall, with some success. I seem to have gone stagnant for the last couple weeks at the 90% mark, which isn't uncommon for me. Beeminder hasn't gotten painful enough yet to push me over that final hump.

I also have a piece of fanfiction that's effectively complete but I haven't worked up the testicular fortitude to post anywhere yet. Rationalizations include: Haven't written in ten years; can't decide whether to post under my real name or a handle (or which handle); don't know where to post it; ff.net irritates me owing to the lack of a quality requirement; and I don't know what the good alternatives are.

But really it's the testicular fortitude thing.

3Alsadius7yPost it under a handle that you wouldn't mind linking into your real identity if the story is well-received, just accept that Sturgeon's Law makes ff.net a bit low-status and ignore it(though cross-post if you ever find a less-bad location), and accept that it doesn't actually matter if it's poorly received.
1Error7yOn reflection, the low-status nature of ff.net shouldn't bother me -- writing fanfiction is pretty low-status in the first place. I'll admit that appearing side by side with Sturgeon Instantiations bugs me anyway. There is the concern that I might be one of those instantiations. Having an editorial filter has two significant benefits to me as an author: It protects me from embarrassment in the event that my work sucks, and it provides otherwise hard-to-get information about how well I've done. If my work is accepted at a site with a strong editorial filter, I can conclude with fairly high confidence that it is at least as good as the weakest piece on the site. It's remarkably hard to get comparable information from my own editing or my first readers, dunning-kruger, bias, and politeness being what they are. I've been burned that way before; a couple of my old pieces are complete crap, are online under my real name, and I'm afraid to try and get rid of them because of the Streisand effect. Of course, as a reader, having an editorial filter relieves me of having to wade through the crap. The dominance of ff.net is the main reason I no longer go out of my way to read fanfiction, even though I enjoy it when it's well-done. For example, I've read the Riddle of Kyon and liked it a lot, but I never would have come across it if it weren't linked around here.
0Alsadius7yUse the internet's famous cruelty to your advantage. Find a couple folks on here willing to read it, send them copies, and give them explicit instructions to call a turd a turd. If they like it, post it.

While not being distracted by MoR discussions - right now, I am working on a little statistical analysis of the number of links provided by my Google Alerts since 2007 to see whether the number really has declined; it's a fun use of multi-level modeling.

Besides that, I've been acquiring lithium papers to maybe do a meta-analysis of the drinking water correlations.

The n-back meta-analysis continues to grow, and I've finally acquired the largest missing study; the final study, I have been refused the data by Jaeggi. I am thinking of filing a FOIA request to ... (read more)

6TimS7yI have very little personal knowledge of FOIA, and this is written assuming that you know have no personal experience with it (so if you do, I suspect this will read as condescending, which is not my intent). I suspect that short of hiring / recruiting a politically influential person (relevant to UMich) to help, this [http://www.vpcomm.umich.edu/foia.html] is all the useful advise available (for better or worse). Beware administrative (search) costs and copying costs. Try to describe the data you want in a way that (a) makes it easy for the searcher to determine if something is responsive to your request, and (b) makes it seem like finding the documents will be really easy for some mindless bureaucrat to find. In writing the request, assume the professor will never personally do anything to grant the request, and a grad student might spend 5 minutes pointing towards a filing cabinet. Additionally, politeness and clarity are under-rated virtues in the practical invocation of legal rights. That's a good template for the first draft of the FOIA letter.
0gwern7yThanks for the advice. I've tried pinging a different person at the relevant agency in another try at avoiding FOIA at all, but I've also emailed an EFF dude who I was recommended for some advice on how to do a request.

The last week or two I've done more programming than I've done probably over several preceding years put together, on an HTML5 game. It's sort of a tycoon style game mainly about machine learning and intelligence amplification on a highly abstracted level, and will connect heavily to singularity themes and likely have many LW-culture references/Easter eggs.

0ahel6yLink?
0Armok_GoB6yIt's pre alpha, and I basically haven't worked on it in all the months since posting this, but ok. http://jsbin.com/adipaj/307 [http://jsbin.com/adipaj/307]

Non-euclidean graphics program. It's a computer program to show what life would look like if triangles didn't have 180 degrees, stuff could be bigger or smaller on the inside, and you could do this.

Also, I've done a little work on a special relativity bullet hell game. This results in an odd effect as you accelerate the ship where it looks like what you're accelerating towards is actually moving away from you, and there's a lot of redshifting and blueshifting. Also, I'm hoping to include faster-than-light travel. For most of the game, this will mean that y... (read more)

3Fhyve7yIn that link, is that the 3 dimensional analog of living on a 2D plane with a hole in it, and when you enter the hole, you flip to the other side of the plane? (Or, take a torus, cut along the circle farthest from the center, and extend the new edges out to infinity?)
3DanielLC7yThat's what it's supposed to look like. The link just used smoke and mirrors to get the effect, and didn't get it right. For example, in a true manifold, you can see any point from any other point. This is because there is some shortest path between the points, and that path is a geodesic. In the link, you can only see one side of the other side of the portal.
3Kaj_Sotala7yHave you seen this [http://gamelab.mit.edu/games/a-slower-speed-of-light/]? (I haven't actually tried it myself so I don't know how comparable it is to your game, but seems somewhat related.)
3DanielLC7yYeah. Someone mentioned that last time I mentioned this on a what are you working on thing. It's not very similar. Being 3d changes a lot of it, since you don't have to deal with sprites. Also, it has a preferred point of reference. If you let go of the controls, you always end up moving at the same velocity. In addition, you can only move so fast compared to that. In mine, velocity is relative. If you let go of the controls, you just stop accelerating.

As mentioned here, here, and here, I've been working on a new iOS (and eventually Android) game based on Dual N-Back, called Double Dynamo (also on Facebook ).

I just got the background music working last week, which was trickier than it sounds — I needed to play multiple tracks back to back without a gap while syncing the gameplay to the beat of the music. I'm halfway through writing a technical post on my blog on how I got it working, so watch this space....

The other part of the project is figuring out a marketing strategy, which is for me at least as cha... (read more)

5firstorderpredicate7yTalking about marketing, have you done any market research to determine if there's any demand for your game? Or is that step one in your strategy? I'm asking because I'm currently learning how to do marketing myself, and "discovered" I've done things backwards by building a product first. If there are experienced marketers here, they might consider creating a post at LessWrong. I'm sure they won't be shy :)
0Antisuji7yAn excellent question. I haven't done any market research apart from informal polling of friends, which has been moderately positive, and familiarizing myself with similar products that are already published. If my primary goal had been to make money I would have taken a different approach, but this particular project was especially appealing to me for a few reasons I could go into if you're interested. :) I too would welcome posts from any experienced marketers at LW.

It's the summer before my freshman year of college, and my only obligation is that my parents are paying me to clean our filthy house. So I have tons of free time that I am trying to put to the best use possible. Here's a list of what I am doing:

  • My goal in life is to be a video game developer, so my main priority is learning how to make video games. I'm not really sure which of several possible projects I'll end up spending most of my summer on, but right now I'm learning how to use Unity 3D.

  • I've been reading stuff in the broad category of "human

... (read more)
2firstorderpredicate7y"Awww, it sounds like someone fell prey to the planning fallacy." :)
0gothgirl4206667yI don't really know if this counts as the planning fallacy. As I understand it, the planning fallacy is when you underestimate the time it takes to do a specific task. This was more like overestimating my energy and willpower, and therefore the amount of time I would be able to work in any given day.
3Qiaochu_Yuan7yFor the purposes of diagnosing planning fallacy, time doesn't mean time spent, it means total time. Quote from the Wikipedia article [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planning_fallacy]: That's not 33.9 days of continuous work. Underestimating how much time you have available per day to work on a project counts as planning fallacy.
0gothgirl4206667yFair enough.
0falenas1087yMy understanding is that the planning fallacy is just not taking the outside view, [http://lesswrong.com/lw/jg/planning_fallacy/] for whatever it is. Depending on your past experiences, you may or may not have fallen prey to it. Note: Firstorderpredicate's response isn't as condescending as it sounds, it's a Methods of Rationality quote.
-2firstorderpredicate7yYes. (Spoilers deleted; Awfully sorry)
3[anonymous]7yDude, spoilers.
1Stabilizer7yI've typically understood that social skills are really hard to pick from books and implement it in real life. The main reason is that the time-scale on which you react in social situations is extremely short and insufficient for you to invoke the theory you learned. The books can be very helpful if you have a lot of social interactions and then use the theory to clarify and find patterns in all the data and then try to change a small pattern at a time. Any rate, that's just me. It might work different for you.
0gothgirl4206667yEveryone tells me that, but in my experience the reverse is true. Intuitively, your claim makes sense. There's so much nuance in human communication that it would be impossible to learn even a fraction of it from a book. For example, let's say you have a slightly politically incorrect joke you want to tell. How do you know if it's an appropriate time to say it? There are so many variables that have to be plugged into this function - number of people around you, closeness of the people to you, closeness of the people to each other, your own delivery, each person's unique personality, age of the people relative to you, social status of you versus your audience, formality of the occasion, location, even time of day. So if you were trying to answer the question "when can I tell a politically incorrect joke?" you wouldn't be able to read a book and figure it out - you would have to go and hang out with people and watch them tell politically incorrect jokes until you got an intuitive understanding of when it is permissible. But the thing is, most socially awkward people report having occasional "on nights" where they are utterly charismatic, confident, say all the right things, and don't run out of things to talk about. This implies that the intuitive knowledge of what to say that is necessary for good social skills actually already exists somewhere in the socially awkward person's brain - it's just not being accessed at the right time. So for the majority of people, learning social skills is more about making the right conditions to gain access to the buried intuitive knowledge of how to talk to people than it is actually learning how to talk to people. (Of course, you can't take this to an extreme and imagine that a stereotypical foreveralone WoW-player type can shut himself in a room with a bunch of books and come out a Casanova.) I don't think the above two paragraphs convey my thoughts on this subject anywhere near perfectly, but that's sort of where I'm coming
0Viliam_Bur7yThis is also how I see it. Most of the power is already in your brain, although of course you get better by practice. But for many people the power is somehow "locked". Something you find in the book, or doing some exercise you find in the book, may help unlock the power. Evo-psych hypothesis: Everyone has the power, but there is a mechanism detecting that "your status is too low to do this", which turns off the power, to avoid punishment by higher-status members of the tribe who want to preserve the social hierarchy. But the mechanism is an adaptation to the ancient environment, and is often miscalibrated today. Something in the book may help turn off the low-status feeling. (Perhaps even the fact that someone with high status, such as the author of the book, encourages you to behave high-status, can be perceived by the mechanism as an evidence of your status rising. It could be an equivalent of getting a powerful friend.)
0gothgirl4206667yI agree with your evo-psych hypothesis.

I wrote and published my first Android application. An extremely simple one, but it means that I have successfully installed the development environment, learned to write simple Android code, tested the code on my tablet, registered a developer account, and completed the publishing process. So for the following games, which will be more meaningful, I already have experience with most of the process -- that increases my self-confidence and could help overcome procrastination.

Why this project? Being able to make some money just by writing games was my dream ... (read more)

1NancyLebovitz7yIs there a Slovak Harry Potter fandom?
0Viliam_Bur7yMost likely yes. I don't know how to find them. But I know people that probably know. (Quick google search didn't find anything meaningful. There were two facebook pages with 10 likes, and comments only from one person. That's nothing.) Thanks for the idea!
1David_Gerard7y"0+ downloads" - surely I'm not actually the first :-) I can even give you an enhancement request: can you make the bubbles antialiased?

Academia: I'm finishing the formatting boring stuff related to my book, which, despite being finished 4 years ago, has been sitting idly on my computer up till now so I could use it as a masters thesis (oh academia, why are you so sluggish)

Writing: I'm trying to come up with a compromise between writing for Lesswrong, which is really motivating because I know people will read it, and writing academic stuff or non-fiction stuff that only has longer term impact. Put another way, I need to understand how to write in a way that is both upvotable here, and aca... (read more)

I'm writing a Bayesian inference/quantified self assistant for my Hacker School project. Once I have it somewhat usable I'll make a discussion post asking for feedback, but you can follow development now if you want.

I'm building a habit of going to the gym for some brief exercise every day, using a couple potential mind-hacks I've never used before. If I can keep up the habit for another couple weeks, I'm planning to write an LW post on what I've learned from the experience.

7palladias7yOr a post on what you learned from it not working! Negative data is precious data!
2Normal_Anomaly7yGood point! I'll write a post either way, probably some time in August. Of course, having committed to writing a post about how I either succeeded or failed is going to be another incentive to succeed.
1Normal_Anomaly7yUpdate: I kept the gym habit, but stopped posting on LW and never bothered writing the post. mild embarassment
[-][anonymous]7y 3

I'm working on learning ancient Greek, and writing a paper on the first book of Aristotle's Physics.

The Physics interests me for very much the same reasons LW interests me. It's been said before that, as people trying to discover the truth of things, we don't live in a wilderness but in a city, built and rebuilt by generations of scientists and philosophers. The greatest of these were people who inaugurated new methods of inquiry and even new ways of living. This, it seems to me, is exactly what LW is trying to do. I'm interested in this kind of a project... (read more)

On my blog, I am explaining why the faster rotating planets are warmer.

protokol2020.wordpress.com

2Daniel_Burfoot7yI actually think this is quite interesting, though I'm not sure anyone who hadn't thought about similar things would understand your posts. To restate your point, the relevant conserved quantity when dealing with surface temperature equilibria problems is not temperature T but T^4, because Stefan's Law says that the power radiated from a blackbody goes as the 4th power of temperature. So a planet with dense pockets of high temperature surrounded by regions of low temperature will have a lower average temperature than a planet with the same rate of radiation, but a uniform temperature across the surface. Faster planetary rotation will produce a more even surface temperature than slow rotation, so planets with fast rotation will have higher average temperature than planets with slow rotation, given the same rate of incoming energy absorption from the sun.
1Thomas7yYes, you have understood it well.

Writing up a "One Year of Pomodoros" post. I'm just three weeks shy a year of tracking every planned and completed pomodoro, for a grand-total of almost 5,000.

I just started a research project with my adviser developing new posterior sampling algorithms for dynamic linear models (linear gaussian discrete time state space models). Right now I'm in the process of writing up the results of some simulations testing a couple known algorithms, and am about to start some simulations testing some AFAIK unknown algorithms. There's a couple interesting divergent threads coming off this project, but I haven't really gotten into those yet.

Plan My Week iPhone App - schedules your tasks for a week, depending on duration, urgency, and importance.

  • I developed the app because I was suffering analysis paralysis trying to develop the perfect plan. See this LessWrong post for a better description. My goals for the project are two fold - 1) Use automation to cure my planning analysis paralysis (success); 2) Release the app and turn it into a commercial product. (In progress)

Chess Machine Learning - Trying to teach a neural network how to play chess. I've written a couple of bog standard tree sea... (read more)

0[anonymous]7yIs this similar to Things [http://culturedcode.com/things/] ?
1firstorderpredicate7yIt's in the same domain. The difference is that, as far as I can tell, Things seems to be about ongoing task management, and you still need to set due dates for your tasks. The purpose of PlanMyWeek is that proposes a date/time for tasks, on a (typically) week basis. It's meant to augment tools like Things, Calendars and Reminders. The other difference, in Things (like everything else I've looked at) there's no separation of urgency and importance, just priority. The problem there is that, while the urgent and important map to the highest priority, if you constantly rank your tasks in this manner, you risk "starving" the important but not urgent tasks, until they become urgent.

I'm interested in earning to give, and my current projects have to do with maximizing my income.

I've been taking Coursera classes that seem relevant to machine learning/"data science" (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). My reasons:

  • Seems likely to be more lucrative than regular old software development, which is what I'm doing right now. Indeed.com salary graph. Kaggle.com is paying it's top 0.5% of data scientists $200/hr. McKinsey says there's going to be a shortage of people with big data skills. Another article.

  • Some of the skills overlap with what MIRI

... (read more)
0Barry_Cotter7yI'm just reasoning by analogy here but sysadmins still exist despite the fact that a decent sysadmin's reaction to seeing a problem for the third time is to try and automate it. Data analysis is hard. Making it easier just lets people do things that are in some sense objectively harder with similar skill levels because the tools are better.

I've been thinking about starting a project. Specifically, I've been thinking about trying my hand at making video games - and not just any kind of video games, but RPGs in particular. If anyone here has ever tried something like this, I'd like to know if it's at all feasible for me to attempt something like this. I already know how to program and would not have trouble learning another programming language, but I also have no skill at either artwork or composing. Also, does anyone have suggestions on what kind of software would help with this? I don't wan... (read more)

4Viliam_Bur7yThe graphics and music can be solved later; you can use some temporary graphics while you work on the program. It has the advantage that if you don't succeed in making the game -- or if your ideas gradually change so much that many of the original ideas will not be used in the final version -- you don't have to pay for things you don't use. Also, when the program is ready, it is easier to explain how the graphics will be used, and you can test it immediately. After playing the game you will also know whether some things should be made bigger or smaller, which would again have some impact on graphics. (With regards to code, I am fan of reinventing the wheels, because it feels to me that I only need to reinvent each wheel once, but would probably need to learn new toolkits again and again just to find that some important functionality is missing or full of bugs. But this is not a recommendation, just my specific experience which may be not typical; and the experience is not with RPG makers.) Could you be more specific about the RPG? There are many options: isometric or 3d, turn-based or real-time... Will it have a story, or just a lot of random fights? If the story, will there be branches and multiple endings? How complicated it the system of magic or whatever (is it enough just to attack and expect that a higher-level character automatically does higher damage, or is it necessary to use a proper action to solve the specific situation)? One character or a party? Is the game over when one of your character dies, or do you just recruit a new one? Etc. -- Think about how your choices fit together. For example, if the world is automatically generated or you replace dead members with new recruits, how will you keep a meaningful story?
3CronoDAS7yAccording to my research, RPG Maker has a lot of built-in tile graphics you can use if you don't want to make your own, so I could use them. I think the default graphics look kind of like Final Fantasy IV or Final Fantasy V. I want to eventually make a story-driven game, with two endings and a few branch points that can pull you off of the default branch; the specific details of the battle system is not particularly important. (Although it might be nice to be able to pull off some tricks with the battle system, such as presenting you with two enemies fighting each other, and giving you a different story branch depending on which one wins.) I might start with something simpler than the story I really want to tell, though, just to get experience with the system I intend to use. One reason I want to tell the story as a game, rather than as text, is that I want to set the player up for a fall [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PlayingThePlayer]: start the player off working for the bad guys, and give the player the opportunity not to realize that the side he's working for is actually evil; the player character won't make a Heel Face Turn [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HeelFaceTurn] unless the player does something special to get off the default story branch. At the end of the game, the default ending will show the player several times he or she could have done the right thing, but didn't [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/WhatTheHellHero].
[-][anonymous]7y 2
0Jayson_Virissimo7yDid you write the essays or compile them? Also, what explains the lack of discussion of Stirnerite thought, given its relevance to the LW subject matter?
1[anonymous]7yI have published egoist essays by others, including Dora Marsden [http://ovo127.com/books], and I will be publishing more by others in the future. But the book I mention here is made up of my own essays. Speaking for myself (of course) I have commented in the egoist fashion but am saving egoist posting for after my book comes out. I do think that a deep inquiry into the "I" is helpful in considering "AI." I further predict a small revival of interest in egoism among philosohers within the next 3 years.

Looking for a real job. There's several larger changes in my life I want to make that aren't really practical until I do that, so I've decided to quit slacking off and actually search semi-seriously. (On that note, that's enough LW for one night)

Trying to figure out why poker AI hasn't been solved (in the sense that chess AI has been solved).

5Nornagest7yIt's been a while since I looked into this, but when I did, the big problem was behavioral modeling. All the math in poker is local -- the state of the game in one hand influences the state of the game in the next only insofar as it affects the amount of chips players have on hand. That makes it easy to build a poker AI that'll wipe the floor with innumerate players. But in also narrows the scope enough that it's possible for more sophisticated human players to mentally solve for their probability of winning a given hand, or at least approximate it pretty well, and many do. An AI can't do much better than that with pure statistics, the only way to squeeze more comparative advantage out is for it to become better at gauging playstyle and hiding information about its own patterns of play than human players are. And that's a much harder problem than building a tree of possible moves in chess.
2wmorgan7ySome great resources on poker AI: University of Alberta Computer Poker Research Group [http://poker.cs.ualberta.ca/]. Papp 1998 in particular goes into detail about what makes it difficult, briefly: multiple opponents, imperfect knowledge, risk management, agent modeling, deception, and dealing with unreliable information. To these I would add the distinction between optimal and maximal play: In chess AI, it never really matters what you expect your opponent to do like it does in poker. In chess, you just always try to move the board into the most favorable possible state. A win is a win in chess, but in poker the optimal strategy makes less money than an exploitable, but maximal strategy. But if you're playing an exploitable strategy, then your opponent can turn around and play a strategy to beat you...much of poker strategy is figuring out how to be one "level" above your opponents for as many hands as possible. And getting an AI to do that is difficult.

Taken first couple of steps to learning to dance; taken first class and have begun practicing.

Why dance? First, I'm out of shape, and this is one of several steps I'm taking to rectify this. I've been in great shape before, and it improves just about everything, including the clarity of my thinking, my ability to tolerance sleep deprivation, and my ability to power through illness. (I used to be able to jog with the flu. Now I have trouble getting out of bed when I get a cold.) Second, it should improve my proprioception/kinesthesia, which is pretty t... (read more)

Trying to find web developer work in the SF Bay area.

Because SF is awesome and where all the great stuff in webdev is happening.

0SuspiciousTitForTat7yIs there anything cool happening anywhere else?
0thomblake7yI have heard rumors that cool things happen elsewhere, but I do not believe them. Though Akihabara is pretty cool.

My 'GooFit' fitting framework is now publicly available at GitHub, and is pretty awesome for doing negative-log-likelihood fits if you have a reasonably up-to-date nVidia GPU.

Additionally, my CK2 to EU3 converter is finished, and also available at GitHub.

Feel free to post feature requests for either one.

... I had an "awe crap" moment as I moved up to the comment box, since my goal for last month was "Do something awesome by the end of June, because last news from Senseg suggested that their tech should be on shelves by then, and that seems decreasingly likely with their continued silence, and that particular technology sounds easy to reproduce, given available information". All I did was not-quite finish a major update to my one money-making game (I completely lost steam on it yesterday, and was consciously aware this meant I should ju... (read more)

I've recently completed the first part of a fully formal and complete definition of optimization power, to serve as the first step to a demonstration of the orthogonality thesis.

I'm also quickly re-reading every quantum mechanics book I own, so I can later sell them and advance to quantum field theory.

On the personal side, I'm still improving my Go. At the moment I'm reading "Opening theory made easy", at the rate of 3/4 principles per week. Opening theory, the subject not the book, is both fun and engaging for a beginner. I'm also implementing t... (read more)

[-][anonymous]7y 1

Previously.

Right now I'm working on what was previously called "A technical result in a related area, for a different kind of tomography." All of the real work is done; all that remains is writing up the results and getting them published somewhere. It's nice, living up to my username (in one of its many concurrent readings).

I moved in with my boyfriend last month. We're both currently in Korea; he's out sightseeing while I'm attending a professional conference.

Due in part to the local political and economic instability, my future research fundin... (read more)

Currently learning Java by-the-book from "Starting Out With Java: From Control Structures Through Data Structures" second edition. It's a remarkable book, unlike any of the ones I tried reading before. It explains every minutiae of the example code and leaves very little to the imagination, except for when it has the courtesy to explicitly tell the reader to ignore it for the time being, something that a lot of guides fail to do. This somewhat pads the book out when it explains when a method-call has occurred two chapters after method-calls were ... (read more)

I like playing poker for fun with friends, but I decided I want to be good at it. I also like learning to code. So far I have completed the codecademy python track.

I am building, without a doubt, a crappy poker oracle (not a bot) in the hopes that it will help me learn poker and code at the same time. The plan is to have my poker oracle be a net winner with the current group I play with. I think I will divide up the program in to segments – preflop, flop, ect. My inputs would consider things like position, player ranges, and equity among other input... (read more)

I'm a graphic artist who just recently quit her job, we ended in good terms, they said they would put in a good word for me if ever I use them as reference. I have been doing weird freelance jobs which includes but is not limited to, furry porn, live portraits of people's dogs, portraits of people's houses and doing live demos in front of students. I barely make enough from these.

I have entered a food booth contest, I am going to present them Japanese Curry and Omurice (Omelette Rice) I am hopeful to make it into the finals. I really want to get into the f... (read more)

I've decided to teach myself python, following MIT's online intro CS course. I'm on lesson 2, and so far, I've mainly reinforced my pre-existing impression that I'm not a particularly intuitive coder (my day job has nothing to with programming; it just seemed like it couldn't hurt to develop another skill).

I realize I'm probably misusing the thread asking this, but if someone can explain the first syntax error in the following snippet, I'd be most appreciative. I assume it has something to do with the way I'm nesting the conditionals, but I've played aro... (read more)

1JayDee7yFirst syntax error I got was the capital W in While, should be all lowercase.
0Kawoomba7y'factor' is not defined, you probably meant 'divisor'. Not a syntax error, but the variable name 'lastprime' is named wrongly. As per your request no further explicit help, but write the code with some binary isPrime dummy function, then once you're sure the logic is correct expand the isPrime with the actual prime check. It helps disconfuddling some of the potential confuddlers. Think about the logic top down, high level first.
0wedrifid7yTry four spaces. (The pound sign creates headings.)
[-][anonymous]7y 0

3 weeks ago I got two magnets implanted in my fingers. For those who haven't heard of this before, what happens is that moving electro-magnetic fields (read: everything AC) cause the magnets in your fingertips to vibrate. Over time, as nerves in the area heal, your brain learns to interpret these vibrations as varying field strengths. Essentially, you gain a sixth sense of being able to detect magnetic fields, and as an extension, electricity. It's a $350 superpower.

The guy who put them in my finger told me it will take about six months before I get full s... (read more)

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