Tag Archives: Coursera

Winter Evening Research

I try to maximize the dark evenings for evaluating tools and researching topics that I don’t get time for during a normal working day.

First up for the New Year is LanguageTool. Automated Quality Assurance is an important aspect of many production processes and at VistaTEC we have deployed various commercial and in-house tools. My motivation for looking at LanguageTool was its use of Part of Speech tagging and user definable rules which can be combined with regular expressions to encode sophisticated linguistic checks.

My test domain was Marketing translations. Content full of emotive, symbolic and suggestive language.

The custom rule encoding is necessarily verbose given that the serialisation format is XML. Our internal tool, Cerberus, suffers from the same characteristics – elements and escaping of regular expression meta characters. Some of the advanced rule constructs are initially difficult to grasp. We ran many small tests in order to get to understand the operation of functionality like skip scope. Hopefully the evolving Rule Editor will support more advanced rule constructs soon and this will aid learning and perhaps speed up rule writing.

We were not able to build rules for all of the constructs that we wanted. Extending the tool via Java for these is a possibility. That will be another days work.

Next up has been Neural Networks. I’ve been viewing Andrew Ng’s Machine Learning lectures on Coursera. Learning is always helped by consulting several references and James McCaffrey’s articles have been straight-forward to understand. I really like that James included worked examples in his articles – it’s a great way of being able to check your own understanding (or lack of). Finally, it’s nice that the code examples are in C# rather than the ubiquitous Python (I can read it but let’s say it’s not my native tongue).

I’d prefer to be resident in warmer climes between November and March so that I could be out more without the need for layers of thermal underwear but I do love the different seasons.

Train To Belfast

Train journeys are a great opportunity to experience a place from a different perspective and learn something new. (I find it difficult to engage in activities that don’t have a purpose.)

The initial part of the train journey from Dublin to Belfast follows the eastern coast of Ireland. There are some wonderful, long sandy beaches on this stretch.

As the train nears Drogheda it vears more inland so as to cross the River Boyne which separates county’s Louth and Meath. The segment between Drogheda and Dundalk is characterised by green farm land and large detached houses. Then as you near Newry there are more hills.

I decided I wanted to take a second run through of Andrew Ng’s Machine Learning course available free on Coursera. I have taken several of Coursera’s coursers (knowledge junkie) and I have to say that Andrew stands out as an awesome teacher. Despite the terminology-laden and mathematical nature of the course content, Andrew puts the concepts in context, explains them clearly and moves through the syllabus in a series of logical, developmental steps which are easy to assimilate.

Newry – my stop. Heading to Freddy-fest where no doubt the liberal consumption of alcohol will destroy precisely the brain cells that hold the recently refreshed knowledge of linear regression.