Everything You Should Know About Machine Learning

Programming Computers: Then and Now

I find it fascinating that today you can define certain rules and provide enough historical data to a computer, reward it for reaching closer to the goal and punish it for doing bad, which will get it trained to do a specific task. Based on these rules and data, the machine can be programmed to learn to do tasks so well that we humans have no way of knowing what steps it is explicitly following to get the work done. It’s like the brain, you can’t slice it open and understand the inner workings.

The days when we used to define each step for the computer to take are now numbered. The role we played back then, of a god to the computers has been reduced to something like that of a dog trainer. The tables are turning from commanding machines to parenting them. Rather than creating code, we are turning into trainers. Computers are learning. It has been called machine learning, for quite a while now (defined in 1959 by by Arthur Samuel). Other names being artificial intelligence, deep simulation or cognitive computing. However now, it really has picked up and based on the amazing things it can help computers do now, it is clearly going to be the future of what the IT industry will transform into.

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Fact vs Factoid

By Anupum Pant

Fact is something that’s unquestionably true. A universal truth that can’t be denied. Like, the sun rises from the east.

Factoid, like a duckling, seems to be like a quick fact. It isn’t. It’s important to remember that it is very different from a fact.

A factoid is something that’s repeatedly used wrong at many places. It is a word that is believed to have been coined in the biography of Marilyn Monroe, by Norman Mailer. As the Guardian puts it…

A true factoid should sound credible, and be assumed to be true by a significant number of people (if you are the only person who believes it, it may simply be a delusion). The Washington Times defined a factoid as “something that looks like a fact, could be a fact, but in fact is not a fact”. An example is the belief that the Great Wall of China is visible from the moon, which according to Wikipedia would be possible only if your eyesight were 17,000 times better than 20/20.

The Scientifically Right Way to Pee

By Anupum Pant

Any man who has used a common urinal knows how splashy urinating in them can be. Men have tried for ages to do it the right way, but the right way has remained elusive. Now, science has stepped in to save the day.

Splash lab, Brigham Young University’s famous fluids lab studied the physics of urinal usage and presented their learnings in a conference recently. To reduce the significant splash back that is produced, they suggest some scientifically proven techniques of aiming.

1. Aim for the vertical surfaces. Horizontal ones will produce a much bigger splash back.

2. At closer distances the stream remains continuous. However, turbulence kicks in quickly and the stream separates into individual droplets. (which also is the reason peeing on an electric fence won’t kill you). You don’t want these separated droplets to hit the surface of water. So go closer, as close as you can get.

3. Try to make low angles with the surfaces at which the stream hits surfaces.

4. Splash reducing inserts are put in there for a reason. Aim there.

As splash lab puts it – always remember “Haphazard urinal usage can have devastating consequences.”