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Reading July - September 2018


Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach, John L. Hennessy and David A. Patterson. Great book covering low level details of computer architecture, from instructions sets, memory architectures to custom machine learning accelerators. I definitely recommend this for anyone with an interest in computing or software engineering.

The Age of Comfort, Joan DeJean. Interesting content, but way to verbose and repetitive. Stopped reading half way through.

Hight Output Management, Andrew S. Grove.

Why We Sleep, Matthew Walker. This book got me to take my sleep cycle a whole lot more seriously, there's hardly a night now that I sleep less than …

Remap Caps Lock to Tab

Don't want to waste prime keyboard real estate on a key you never use?

First, find out the keycode of your Caps Lock key: run xev, repeatedly press Caps Lock, note the keycode you see in the logs.

Next, create or append to the .Xmodmap file in your home directory:

remove Lock = Caps_Lock
keycode 66 = Tab

Where you replace 66 with whichever keycode you saw in the output of xev.

Finally, load the map: xmodmap .Xmodmap.

You can of course replace it with any other key as well, not just tab.

Ubuntu and Japanese Input

This is more a note to myself, but to easily type japanese on Ubuntu, install ibus-anthy (sudo apt-get install ibus-anthy), make sure ibus-daemon is running.

Then you can add Japanese in Anthy's 'Input Method' tab, make sure to select 'Japanese - Anthy'. If you use dvorak like me, also make sure 'Use system keyboard layout' in the Advanced tab is checked.

Getting into Machine Learning

If you are interested in getting started with Machine Learning, the TensorFlow Playgroundcache is a good way of building some intuition.

For a first introduction to the field, I recommend Neural Networks and Deep Learningcache, followed by the Deep Learningcache book.

To dive into a specific topic quickly, the TensorFlow tutorialscache are also great, Dive into Deep Learning has a lot of detail as well.

For Reinforcement Learning specifically, the standard text is Reinforcement Learning: An Introductioncache. Dave's UCL Course on RLcache is great too (playlist of all lectures).

Reading April - June 2018


The Power, Naomi Alderman. Interesting point of view on gender and power dynamics. Turned out different (better) than I expected from the beginning.

Letters to a Young Scientist, E. O. Wilson. Half very interesting advice about how to do science, half anecdotes from the life of a biologist with a speciality in ants.

How we got here, Andy Kessler. Whirlwind tour of the history of the industrial revolution, technology and how it lead to modern capital markets.

Pitch Perfect - how to say it right the first time, every time, Bill McGowan. Chock full of tips to improve the way …

Cooking Recommendation: Serious Eats

If you like cooking (or eating), I recommend Serious Eatscache. They have many great recipes that are easy to follow as well as delicious - for most of the new dishes I've tried recently, I've followed recipes from Serious Eats.

Two of my favorite dishes for a lazy day are Gyudoncache, a simple rice bowl heaped with beef and onion simmered in a mix of soy sauce, sake and dashi:


And Salmon Teriyakicache, another rice bowl with seared salmon on top of a bed of cucumber and avocado:

Salmon Teriyaki

Both are easy to make and absolutely delicious.

Despite the …

Reading January - March 2018

Inspired by Eli Bendersky's postcache


The Obstacle is the Way, Ryan Holiday. A modern introduction to Stoicism. If you don't like the writing style, try Seneca or Marcus Aurelius.

Cicero - Selected Works, Penguin Classics. One of the greatest orators of all time, contrasting his speeches with modern politicians gives you a lot of perspective.

Lessons of History, Will & Ariel Durant. Lessons from their history research, personally I found it a bit underwhelming compared to the tittle, but it has a concise summary of many historical events.

The Master of Go, Yasunari Kawabata. An account of the last title …

AlphaGo Documentary

As some of you may have noticed, the AlphaGo documentarycache is now available on Play Moviescache and Netflixcache!

It's a great documentary and really captures the history of AlphaGo very well - every time I watch it it takes me right back to the excitement of those months! If you are interested in AI, Go, or just like documentaries in general I really recommend you give it a try.

Breaking the Rules to Improve Society

Recently, I was talking with some friends about the increasing power of technology, and how it is being applied to ever more accurately enforce laws. In just one example, facial recognition is now used in China to automatically identify and fine jaywalkerscache.

One common concern is that these technologies are easily abused for more sinister purposes - mass surveillance, identification of political dissidents, etc.

However, I think there's an even more direct danger: Too rigid enforcement of laws stops society from improving. Until 1967cache, homosexuality was punishable by imprisonment in the UK. If it had been possible to always …

AlphaGo Zero

Usually in software, version numbers tend to go up, not down. With AlphaGo Zero, we did the opposite - by taking out handcrafted human knowledge, we ended up with both a simpler and more beautiful algorithm and a stronger Go program.

We provide a full description in our paper, Mastering the game of Go without human knowledge, which you can also read online.

At the core is a self-improvement loop based on self-play and Monte Carlo Tree Search (MCTS): We start with a randomly initialized network, then use this network in the MCTS to play the first games. The network is …

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