1. Re-Identifying Manta Rays

    My current project is re-identifying individual manta rays (Mobula alfredi and Mobula birostris) by their distinct belly patterns … er… ventral markings.

    Photo of manta ray 'Queenie' showing distinctive markings

    Every night at two spots on the Big Island of Hawai’i where I live, dive boats shine bright lights that attract plankton. Most nights, the plankton in turn …

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  2. What We Talk About When We Talk About Attention

    The "attention" in ML is "what you should attend to," not "alertness." In the sentence "They crossed the <???> to get to the other bank." you need to "attend to" the <???> word to disambiguate "bank". If <???> is "street" then it's "bank" as in "financial institution" (most likely). If <???> is "river" then …

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  3. How to train/test on a subset of your FastAI data

    If you have a large FastAI (v2) DataLoaders and you're trying to debug something at epoch-scale (such as a custom metric), an easy way to train on a small subset of your data is:

    subset_size = 100 # Or whatever
    selected_items = np.random.choice(dls.train_ds.items, subset_size …
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  4. Large Language Models and the Chinese Room

    The Chinese Room is a 1980 thought experiment from the philosopher John Searle. The Wikipedia summarizes the setup:

    [S]uppose that artificial intelligence research has succeeded in constructing a computer that behaves as if it understands Chinese. It takes Chinese characters as input and, by following the instructions of a …

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  5. How I Failed At Kaggle Happywhale

    I just deleted my intermediate data and models for Kaggle’s Happywhale competition. I did terrible, never getting much above pure random guessing. Which was frustrating, because it’s a problem in Machine Learning that I’m very interested in (and want to do more work in).

    Happywhale, Sad Human …

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  6. Biggest mistake on Kaggle

    Don’t join a team too quickly. Once you’re on a Kaggle team:

    • You cannot choose to leave
    • The team leader cannot choose to remove you

    Unless you have a very good sense of what exactly your teammates are bringing to the competition, including their:

    • Knowledge level
    • Time commitment …
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  7. Installing Detectron2 on a Mac in CPU mode

    At the risk of saying, “Yeah, it’s in the docs,” this is what I did. I think the crucial thing is installed things in the proper order, so I would advise going step-by-step:

    1. Have conda installed (brew install conda if not, I suppose)
    2. Create a conda environment with conda …
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