25. February 2020

What I learned about research from crossword puzzles

I’ve been doing crossword puzzles daily for many years. Apart from doing a puzzle before grad school exams to warm up my neurons, I never saw much of a connection between puzzles and my day job as a professor of data science. But lately I’ve noticed that many of the habits and attitudes I developed as a solver are also relevant to research. Here’s a summary.


10. December 2015

Hamiltonian Monte Carlo

There have been a number of papers at NIPS that use Hamiltonian Monte Carlo, and I thought I’d share a Javascript implementation of the algorithm that I wrote a couple years ago. It can be a fairly opaque algorithm when described mathematically, and I found it really useful to see it working. It turns out it’s kind of mesmerizing.


24. June 2015

Get out on the ship!

When considering data analysis questions, I often think of this passage from “The Wizard War” by R.V. Jones, head of British scientific intelligence during World War II.


22. June 2015

A graduation speech

Since Cornell is such a big place, departments have individual graduation ceremonies where we can give students more individual recognition. I was recently invited by the Information Science students to give the faculty address for our department. Here’s a lightly edited transcript.


23. February 2015

Mallet past present and future

There was a conversation on Twitter about the current state of Mallet. My goal for Mallet is that it should do a few things very well. Future development will focus on making the process of using machine learning easier and more informative. Also, be sure to use the current GitHub version.