2017: A Retrospective30 Dec 2017
2017 was a long year, good nonetheless. I want to take a moment to look back at the highlights of 2017. Some of the things I cover here are the goals I set out at the beginning; some of my favorite books; the good stuff – research; and other miscellaneous things.
I set out 2017 with some goals (found here). Here is how well that went:
1 commit a day challenge: It started off well. But halfway through, I realized that I was writing code and committing code not because I wanted to do that, but because I felt obligated. So, I decided to quit the challenge as it was ridiculous and taking away time that I could have spent learning something else.
Solve 100 problems on Project Euler: I solved 77 problems. Then, school and research started taking priority and I soon forgot about this. Maybe I will complete it in 2018.
Implementing Neural Algorithm for Artistic Style: I actually managed to complete this one. Here is the link to the source code.
No matter how bad (or good, depending on how you look at it) these went, I am still planning on writing a set of new goals for 2018. Hopefully these are more realistic and I actually manage to stick to them.
These are my favorite books that I read in 2017 (though all of them are much older):
Mistborn Trilogy [Brandon Sanderson]: I went in not knowing what to expect and that is the best reading experience. The magic system is really well defined with limitations. It keeps you guessing what’s about to happen and what does happen is nothing you expected, but all the clues were right there in front of you! You can buy them here.
The Death of Ivan Illych [Leo Tolstoy]: This book made me think about how I want to live my life. It is a tad bit dark, but I recommend this book to everyone, no matter how old you are. You can buy it here.
The Great Mathematical Problems [Ian Stewart]: Discusses 10 of the most famous math problems and their history. If you love math, you should definitely read this book. If you don’t, reading this book will change your opinion. Slightly. You can buy it here.
I started out doing research the Fall of this year. The Fall semester I worked in the AVS laboratory in the Aerospace department on feature tracking algorithms for optical navigation in space. We (myself and a post-doc student) bootstrapped a deep neural network to identify craters in images with TensorFlow Object Detection API. We then came up with a tracking algorithm to track the craters in videos. You can read the blog post I wrote on that here.
Starting 2018, I will be working on a new project developing mathematical models for feature extraction from texts.
- I took Critical Encounters. This class had a real impact on me and made me rethink several aspects of my life. It made me think about what kind of a person I want to be and how I should live my life. This was where I read The Death of Ivan Illych by Leo Tolstoy. I also wrote my Philosophy of Education as an assigment for this class.
- I travelled to New York in August for HackCon V - a conference for hackathon organizers. Here is the post I wrote.
- I wrote two posts explaining how to use TensorFlow to build a linear regression model and a simple neural network.
- My three favorite movies this year (in that order) are Logan, Dunkirk and The Greatest Showman. Note: I edited and replaced Wonder Woman with The Greatest Showman.
That’s it for now. See you again in 2018!