- More Than, Au Revoir Simone. Dreamy synthpop at its very best.
- Mastering the game of Go without human knowledge, David Silver, et al; good Nature summary coverage as Self-Taught AI is best yet at Strategy Game of Go, Elizabeth Gibney. This is a very important result, although I think it’s been a little too widely hyped by the popular press as evidence of the coming singularity. Go is an interesting problem domain, because the combinatorial explosion of movies leaves it intractable for traditional game-playing approaches. Reinforcement learning, used by the team, is essentially how humans learn to play go, albeit far, far faster than we learn to play. I am looking forward to seeing discussions in the coming months of the new strategies AlphaGo Zero teaches human players.
(So, yeah, last week’s promise of a post tomorrow didn’t quite pan out. Anyway, without further ado…)
- Resonant Expanse, Max Cooper & Tom Hodge
I love almost everything I’ve heard by Max Cooper. He takes traditional trance to a whole new level with his use of modulation on minimalist melodies and percussion. This work by he and Tom Hodge is on several of my “music to think by” playlists.
- A Preliminary Analysis of Sleep-Like States in the Cuttlefish Sepia officinalis, Marcos G. Frank , Robert H. Waldrop, Michelle Dumoulin, Sara Aton, Jean G. Boal.
The punch line is in the abstract: “In addition, cuttlefish transiently display a quiescent state with rapid eye movements, changes in body coloration and twitching of the arms, that is possibly analogous to REM sleep.” Cephalopods and mammals diverged some five hundred million years ago — like, twice as long ago as when dinosaurs and mammals were hanging together. If this holds true, it’s amazing. I can’t even really call it convergent evolution, because I’m not convinced we can articulate what evolutionary pressures would generate the need for REM sleep in such different ecosystems, unless it’s actually a requirement for brain function. But human and cephalopod brains are very, very different — the common ancestor was probably something like a sea worm with a brain similar to C. elegans. So there’s an awful lot of room for divergent evolution, which we see in things like the gross structures.
Anyway, thinking of cuttlefish and perhaps octopuses dreaming of Max Cooper’s and Tom Hodge’s music makes me very, very happy.
For years I’ve been in the intermittent habit of occasionally sending coworkers interesting things on Fridays that I find on the web. It may be a paper, blog post, or newspaper story that I found particularly interesting that they might not have encountered. Often, but not always, tech related. It might be a paper on ML, a history of computing paper, a blog post on keeping organized or using agile, or something like that. More recently, I’ve added a link to a single song I’d like to share. With both of these I provide a bit of commentary — no more than a few sentences, explaining why I thought this was worth following along.
I’m going to start cross-posting the content here, because there’s never anything proprietary about it, and it occurs to me that it might be of interest to a broader audience.
One remark is in order. I make no apologies that some of what I reference is behind one paywall or another, and no, I won’t send copies of what I link if you can’t access it. I am a member of the IEEE, ACM, and ARRL in part because I value the editorial work they do in their journals and to have access to their digital libraries; the fee I pay for membership in part enables them to do the editorial work that they do. The same goes for the few online news sources I pay fees to access. In all cases, there are ways for motivated non-members to access the works these organizations provide or curate — typically there’s free access for a number of works a month, or the opportunity to buy a reprint of a particular paper at a nominal cost. If what you say really interests you, it’s worth your effort to support the sources that curate that material for you.
Look forward to the first post tomorrow!