Thoughts on Rails

Riding the Train of Thought

[software] Neural Networks / Project: Ana / Musings.

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This is a sort of jumbo post, that talks about many things, so be warned. You might run into answers to questions you never asked.

Okay. I admit it. Even though I love Photography and I have taken the decision to build my career in it, I still cannot leave programming!

Yesterday(actually, the day before), I was looking for more information while working on the ‘Emotion Engine’ for Project: Ana. I must have mentioned it a few times before, but here’s for the record. I have been working on this concept since last 3/4 years, on and off. I almost gave up last year when I flunked in mathematics and then dropped out of college. Anyway, the idea is to make a software that talks to human beings in a way that we prefer – in English, while understanding the mood and emotions of our words. The former part is already achieved to a large extent by A.L.I.C.E. The latter part is where I would love to contribute.

The idea is simple, to have a software representation of the individual feelings that we have and to select responses based on these moods and combinations of them via programming.

But like every time I near the part where I would start building the prototype, I get a bunch of more crazy ideas and I stagger off the path. This time it was thanks to Neural Networks. The concept of artificial neural networks is simply brilliant. Especially for a person like me, who loves programming and logic but can hardly cope with mathematics, a programming approach that takes algorithms and formulas out of the scenario (in part at least) is most welcome!

I found bpnn.py, a fantastic implementation of back propogation neural networks in Python. Since I love Python and Pyton loves all its users, I learnt a lot in just one session of tweaking with the program.

So, now I have a simple neural net, that is nicely trained to recognize patterns in a 7-segment LED display and tells what number is being displayed. It is possible using regular programming methods, but then, why all this trouble?

1. It is fun.
2. I need to give it the possible inputs and outputs, the neural network figures out the other stuff.
3. I need to change the output/test function slightly to change the generated BCD code to Integers.

The neural network handles the process from [0,1,1,0,0,0,0] (which, I say is code for digit “1”) to [0,0,0,1] which is binary coded decimal for digit “1” . And the test function simply converts the BCD to decimal for me to marvel at. 🙂

This freedom in programing is lovely. I will be putting a little more time into NNs and taking a shot at making some use of it in my original project if needed/possible.

Otherwise, on a personal note, life is good. It has always been. My studies in the new University are going alright. I’m glad about choosing this correspondence course as I don’t have to deal with teachers and professors anymore. Most of my previous experiences have left me with a bad opinion about these people.

Anyway, I’d like to conclude this small note with a message to those who taught me ‘Computer Science’ in my previous college.

“I am not proud or boasting when I say that I learnt all this [software and technology] myself. I feel sorry that I had to. My only expectation from a teacher was to encourage my ideas, what I got was sarcasm; worse, sometimes a cold reception or even worse, no reception at all.

I created small pieces of software, people as far as from the other side of the planet appreciated me, but you could not. Because you were preoccupied with nourishing your ego. Having a student who dreams big is an advantage to a teacher, not a threat. Realize this. Don’t try to curb another student’s ideas just because you fear that your ignorance and indifference will be found out.

Dare to challenge the student’s mind, and dare to lose… because it is they, who are going to change the world – and you can be the launchpad for their work or the obstacle in world’s progress.

Teachers, you brought me to a point where I think ten times before I say ‘Dear Teacher’. Please, don’t do this to more of your students. Don’t let their enthusiasm and talent go waste for the sake of your ego. I beg you to change your ways. Please, don’t let your ego come between your student and knowledge.”

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Written by hiway

December 18, 2005 at 1:20 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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