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Distractions

Reddit, Hacker News, Tumblr, Twitter, Imgur, Netflix, YouTube. The onslaught of pseudo information and conversation is relentless, it's easy to get lost in the comments. Feeling as if you are learning a something new all the time, a little gem in every post.

Somewhere along the way our natural curiosity and joy of learning has been hijacked and we waste away our lives reading and responding to useless chatter that seems useful and educating.

Every spare moment is filled by a quick glance to our smartphones, no time for thought and introspection left at all. Yes, that one post was …


AlphaGo - Lee Se-dol

After 5 long and exciting games AlphaGo finally managed to win 4:1 against the legendary Lee Se-dol, the first time in history a computer program managed to defeat a 9 dan professional player in an even match. And not just any 9 dan player, probably the best player of the decade. It was even awarded an honorary rank of 9 dan professional itself!

Obviously we are all extremely proud of this achievement, you can find out more about the details in our Nature paper. Most importantly, we still used roughly the same amount of hardware! This was a true …


Mastering the Game of Go with Deep Neural Networks and Tree Search

Today we published our paper on beating the human state of the art in Gocache, the only major board game where humans (or at least top professionals) could still beat computers. No more. Our program AlphaGo achieved a 99% winning rate against the strongest existing Go programs, and defeated the human European champion by 5 games to 0.

(That's me playing at 0:10)

The first major breakthrough in computer Go - after remaining at weak amateur level for decades - came with the advent of Monte Carlo Tree Searchcache (MCTS) around 2007, massively improving playing strength. Still, Go programs …


Nutrition Information

Recently, I ran across a very useful website: Examine.comcache. They collect and summarize studies about many common nutrients and supplements. If you were wondering whether to take Vitamin D or what to think about creatine, this is the website to check.


A Book of Life

Inspired by Kaue's book about lifecache, I've decided to collect my experiences and the various lessons I've learned in one place and write down generally applicable advice.

Without further ado, the Book of Life.

Why post it on this blog instead of using Google Docs or something similar?

  • Full control of the platform. This is intended to be around as long as I'm alive.
  • No problems with link rot. Thanks to the Pelican plugin I built, a copy of every page I link to is automatically saved to my blog so it can be viewed when the original is …

Tidy your Life

I just finished Marie Kondo's The Life-changing Magic of Tidying: A Simple, Effective Way to Banish Clutter Forevercache, but even before I was halfway through I couldn't stop myself from reorganizing half my room and finally disposing of many clothes I hadn't even looked at in two years.

I had always considered that I could just let things sit at the back of a shelf until the next time I moved flat and then I'd finally get rid of them, but while tidying yesterday I realized that I actually had many nice clothes I'd wanted to wear that I …


Cardboard Photography

Google just recently introduced Cardboard Cameracache. If you haven't tried it, do, it's amazing. It's the closest I've seen to transporting somewhere back in time to wherever you took the picture. I've used it with friends, parents, even grandparents, and always it is equally amazing to see the delight on their faces when they realise that they can see exactly what I saw when I was there; they can truly feel like they are part of the scene.

While the Cardboard Camera app includes a few sample images, it can often be difficult to get a sense of whether …


Scarcely Credible Stupidity

I just finished another book in the excellent Culture series. It contains this little gem of a speech given by a member of the Culture (a utopian society with very advanced technology, best described by the phrase money is a sign of poverty) on the topic of planet Earth:

'Now, on Earth things are not quite the same. On Earth one of the things that a large proportion of the locals is most proud of is this wonderful economic system which, with a sureness and certainty so comprehensive one could almost imagine the process bears some relation to their limited …


Computing Machinery and Intelligence

I was just reading Quantum Computing since Democrituscache (an excellent book!), when it referred me to Turing's Computing Machinery and Intelligencecache.

This argument is very, well expressed in Professor Jefferson's Lister Oration for 1949, from which I quote. "Not until a machine can write a sonnet or compose a concerto because of thoughts and emotions felt, and not by the chance fall of symbols, could we agree that machine equals brain-that is, not only write it but know that it had written it. No mechanism could feel (and not merely artificially signal, an easy contrivance) pleasure at its …


Iterative Deepening for Talks

When you give a talk, assume your audience knows nothing.

Start with a one minute summary, then go back to the beginning and give the 5 minute version of your talk. Showing an index slide for your talk does not count, those are a joke.

Only now can you give the full version of the talk since now the audience will have all relevant context in the L2 cache of their brain.

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