Saturday March 28th

My first Podcast and Book Clubs

I did my first podcast last night

  • It’s currently being edited, but Adam invited me to do an interview about grad school and my path to grad school for his podcast, Corecursive. It was first time doing a podcast, and I pushed one week because Gabe had suggested that I spend the time to get a microphone and headset (or all in one) that was not the built-in one for my laptop. I found a gaming one online, since I’m on a grad student budget, and did the interview.
  • I’m super thankful for the opportunity, and it was really interesting to see sort of a path of wanting to understand Mathematics and intellectual curiosity throughout. For example, one of the things I discussed was that my path to coding started with seeing parametric modelling for the first time, and how that led to robotics, and then to coding. So that’s interesting, and in retrospect it’s not unexpected that I took a liking to Haskell, Data Science, and PL.
  • One of the things I haven’t seen a lot of, but I think would be interesting, is topological-mesh modelling using functional programming. So something like parametric mesh-modelling using a language like Haskell. I think that a language like that would lend itself quite easily to doing interesting things like that. Most of the stuff I did was either node-based or involved languages like Python or C#.

Parametric Modelling in Rhino

  • This was a model created by a student group at USC during ACADIA (in 2014, when I attended; I also had the privilege of attending the lecture by Zaha Hadid, meeting and speaking with Will Wright on swarm robotics (I was reading a book at the time, asked him if he had heard of it, to which he responded “no; please tell me all about it!”), and taking one of my first Python workshops ever with architect and designer Marc Fornes), in which 3D models were made using Rhino and then 3D printed. I can’t believe I can still find articles like this, which explain just how creative and exciting this conference was at the time. I still have a question; could we make these kinds of topological meshes based on parametric modelling using Haskell?
  • I had noticed that many of Zaha’s architects, who held one of the most popular workshops, had backgrounds in programming. I guess that all of that had an influence on what I thought about programming, and my curiosity began. They were friendly to me, and some of them would say “I’m not really an architect; I just know programming”. One of the guys who worked on the Rhino software was also in attendance (a guy named Steve), and I asked him once if he wanted to become an architect, to which he replied “I like software engineering!”. They were so friendly to me, I had to see what they were talking about. This programming thing seemed kind of cool; like it had a lot of power to do creative things.

This Self-Isolation

  • I’ve been enjoying the self-isolation. Early on, my parents taught me to enjoy keeping my own company, so this is not as big of a deal as others have made it out to be. In fact, I have found that I have to limit outside online interaction with others, because it’s a distraction. Often, I will just make my phone notifications silent, but I do have to say that something about the smart phone design does not lend itself to being as easily ignored as my flip phone was. My flip phone had a cover, so once that top cover was flipped on to the screen, you could miss text messages for days and not notice. I also have to get into a habit of turning off all the lights, and shutting my laptop screen, and just setting my alarm, so that I am just in a dark room, with no distractions to rest for a few hours each day.
  • What I have been doing is having a general structure of meetings and classes during the day, napping around 5pm until around 8pm, and then working through the night, until around 3am to 5am.
  • I’m on a Discord group with some ladies who are quite lovely, and I’ve made quite a few friends there, I’m on several Slack groups, and more importantly, two of those Slack groups have book clubs currently in session, both learning Deep Learning. In one, we are on week two, and in the other, we are on week one (this Sunday).
  • Additionally, I’ve been involved in another group that is doing interdisciplinary research, with persons from all over the world (mostly faculty and PhD students), and we had our first meeting on Friday morning.
  • So overall, I’ve been really, really social. I also attended a virtual Functional Programming Meetup based in the Bay Area this week, in which 77 persons RSVP-ed, and about 68 were present for. So I’d say I’ve had a LOT of human interaction. I also chat with my parents pretty frequently, and other friends and family. Life is good.

This post is therefore the beginning

  • I’m working on some ML and Deep Learning projects, and I’d like to make notes or post a bit of that stuff here, if it’s interesting. I also received a Scholarship to attend the Deep Learning Institute via NVIDIA, so I’ll be doing that on Tuesday during the day, and then staying up late to do some work for one of the book clubs. There is a nap scheduled in-between, of course.
  • I love Machine Learning. I don’t know what it is quite yet, but I really enjoy it. I love AI, although I hate calling it “AI”. So I just call it Machine Learning, and leave it at that. It’s just really interesting to me, and I love the breadth of problems you can solve using it.

My mind has been clear

  • Since I have been home, I have found that my mind is clear. I just feel calm. Not having to commute is also great; I have more time in general. Self-isolation is good for the soul.

So that’s about it…back into hiding for me.

Written on March 28, 2020