Advertisements

We're a little crazy, about science!

Author Archive

Day #85: My QE date is set

Brain

Sometimes you need to get… a head. See what I did there?

Well it happened, the date for my qualifying exam has been set. I’m nervous, I’m excited, I’m mostly just anxious to get it done. Quite frankly I’m exhausted, so it will be nice to get one thing off my to-do list. Let’s look at how I need to get ready.

(more…)

Advertisements

Day #84: Model training progress

 

Day 84 - SVM hyperplane

Two dimensional data is easier to visualize than 202 dimensional data.

I don’t normally leave my computer on 24 hours a day, but it has been hard a work, so it hasn’t been off in days. Training a model can take some time, as I am finding out and while I’ve made progress on the resulting model, it’s still not where I want it. Let’s talk about what has been going on.

(more…)


Day #83: An unexpected gift

Day 83 - Gift

I’ll let you in on a secret, I’ve been doing science outreach on a regular basis for the past 3-4 years now. Specifically with Skype a scientist I’ve volunteered every term since it was pretty much first started. My secret, if not horribly kept, is this… I am ALWAYS nervous to give my talk. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it and let me explain why.

(more…)


Day #82: Congrats, it’s an overfit model

Day 82 - example overfit model

There I was patiently waiting for my data to finish being processed, an hour, two, time kept moving as did the little animation letting me know that the algorithm was still doing its thing. Then it was done, I had a new, more complete model and it was glorious… until it wasn’t.

(more…)


Day #81: Creating a Model

Day 81 - Classifier

Today is going to be a long day. I’m training a model using some data I’ve collected. Now, depending on your background that sentence either meant something to you or was complete gibberish. In either case, let’s talk about what I’m doing, even though I can’t get into specifics about my data.

(more…)


Day #80: Experimental Design

 

Day 80 - Experiment

I have funding for an experiment. Well let me rephrase, I’ve had funding for an experiment. It’s new, it’s exciting, it’s everything I wanted it to be… but there is a catch. My PI and I don’t see eye to eye regarding the experimental protocol. It’s not a matter of a fledgling PhD student thinking he knows better, he is well know for losing sight of the big picture in favor of collecting as much data as he possibly can.

(more…)


Day #79: QE update

day 79 - presentation

As promised from last post, I have an update regarding my QE. This will be brief, but there are a few final things I need to get done before I can do my presentation so let’s talk about that!

(more…)


Day #78: The Qualifying Exam

exam

It never occured to me that this was unique to the American higher education system. However, when I was having a conversation with an overseas collaborator at the Bristol Robotics Lab in the UK, I got a confused response when I mentioned I was getting ready to do my qualifier.

(more…)


Day #77: Sometimes life gets in the way

Well it looks like it’s another day without a post, don’t worry I’m not making it a habit, but I’ve had some personal issues come up today that I needed to deal with. Not to worry though, I’ll be back at it tomorrow.

Until next time, don’t stop learning!


Day #76: Organization

day 76 - organization

Today is going to be a busy one. Not for me exactly, but my computer will be busy cracking away at the code I wrote. Unfortunately it takes FOREVER to run, but it got me thinking about MATLAB and how we write code for everything.  More to the point, it got me thinking about how I organize my files.
(more…)


Day #75: Deadlines in Academia

5 tacks on a single date on a calendar

 

5 tacks on a single date on a calendar

Getting a PhD is a weird process. Sometimes it seems like everything is falling apart and somehow (hopefully) it comes together in the end. To that point, in an academic setting, deadlines tend to group together. For instance I have not one, not two, not three, not even four, but five deadlines coming up back to back. Today, let’s talk about why that is in my case.
(more…)


Day #74: Finding your motivation

day 74 - motivation

You don’t want to do it. I don’t blame you, I wouldn’t want to do it either. So what do you do when the work is piling up and the weight of things in your to do box is so massive that you feel like you can’t move? Well first, remember you’re not alone. Next, …well that depends on you.
(more…)


Day #73: Halloween!!

Today is Halloween, my favorite holiday! I don’t usually do anything too spectacular for the day, it’s more of an excuse to binge horror movies and enjoy the halloween candy I bought. In the spirit of halloween, I don’t plan on posting anything major today. We can get into it tomorrow, but as I’ve mentioned over the course of the last 72 days, taking a break can be a good thing.

If you are looking for a ghoulish reading treat, I recommend my yearly post on the REAL zombies of nature! Be warned, it’s not for the squeamish, that’s for sure! In lieu of my usual sign off, let’s just say

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

halloween


Day #72: The dreaded email…

email

Fun fact, no one ever enjoyed sending an email. Least of all an email to someone you’ve never met, not just an email, a cold email. In the spirit of halloween, let’s talk about the scariest thing I can think of outside of the horror of finding no significance in your data.

(more…)


Day #71: Busy, busy, busy!

A quick update since I have a lot of work going on today.  Originally, I  has some outreach planned for the day, but that had to be rescheduled. I also had a very thorough review of my qualifying exam project with some very exciting results. Once I reschedule for the actual QE, I’ll talk more about that research, but I typically devote an hour or more to writing these posts and I cannot do that today. I anticipated this though and even included it in my original post, in any case, I have another Skype a scientist session scheduled for tomorrow, but I should have more time to devote to the blog after (or maybe before, who knows).

Until next time, don’t stop learning!


Day #70: The art of goal setting

day 70 - goals

Some days I feel zero motivation to do anything. Usually I indulge those feelings because if I don’t it won’t go away, more importantly if I don’t then I sit in front of a computer/book/etc. and get almost zero accomplished. Frankly, I think trying to power through the feeling and get work done just isn’t healthy and experience has shown it does absolutely nothing for me. This brings me to the topic of the day, goal setting!
(more…)


Day #69: The PERFECT daily routine

Day 69 - routine

This week we’ve taken a break from the math (well statistics if we want to be exact) and have looked at some of the other things that go on when doing your PhD. Tomorrow we (may) get back to the concepts, but today let’s talk about the perfect daily routine.

(more…)


Day #68: Hobbies are important!

hobbies

All work and no play… well you know how the saying goes. Here in the US we have this mindset where it’s work all day every day. That is probably one of the reasons we have such high rates of depression (we as in people pursuing a PhD). Sure one of my hobbies is blogging, I enjoy it and it is a great way to review the things I’ve been learning, but I have others and today I think we should talk about why that is important. (more…)


Day #67: On being a student coordinator

wiring

Look at my beautiful wiring job!!!!

I figure we can finish out the week by talking about yet another project that doesn’t involve my research. I’m a student chair for a workshop for neurotech entrepreneurs. Fun fact: I’ve never done this before. Yep, there has to be a first time for everything you do and this will be my first time attempting to run one of these things. Let’s talk about what that looks like. (more…)


Day #66: Sometimes we learn more from failure

BrokenLaser1

Not everything can be safely laser cut…

It has been a busy week, as you’ve seen I’ve had not one, but two Skype a scientist sessions in one day, then we did some outreach with some local 4th graders, yesterday I even posted photos of the event. Yesterday I also had a conference call to help set up an event that I’m helping run for neurotech entrepreneurs. If you follow me on twitter, you know I’ve pushed people to apply for it. So let’s talk about what I’ve got going on today!

(more…)


Day #65: Lab Tour photos

As you may have seen, yesterday we had our lab tour group come through. So today I just wanted to share a few photos from the time they had with us, it was a lot of fun and hopefully we inspired a few kids!

(more…)


Day #64: Lab Tours!

 

20190405_101414

Just hanging out with some exoskeleton friends.

When doing your advanced degrees (Masters or PhD) you end up with a lot of different responsibilities that have nothing to do with your education. That isn’t to say that it isn’t an important thing or that I hate doing it, you just don’t learn anything with regard to your study subject. Today is one of those days, let’s talk about it.

(more…)


Day #63: The Importance of Science Outreach

skype a scientist

Today is Skype a Scientist day! Every term I volunteer my time and try to explain my journey, my research, and my pitfalls with students all over the US. Technically this is my second session (of six!) this term, but I wanted to talk about why I do what I do today. So if you’re interested in what it’s all about, keep reading.

(more…)


Day #62 : Two Random Variables A2

Like we did with question 1, this will be the solution to the question we posed in the last post, if you haven’t tried to solve it yet, go give it a shot. If you have and are dying to check your answer, then let’s look at the solution.*

(more…)


Day #61 : Two Random Variables Q2

For those of you who have been following along, today we are going to post another question and in the next post we will give the solution. This will be another two random variable question and we’ve covered everything you need to solve it in our previous posts. So with that, let’s get to today’s question.*

(more…)


Day #60 : Two Random Variables A1

Hopefully if you’re reading this you saw our last post, where we gave the question we will solve today. If you haven’t had a chance to try and solve it, please feel free to stop and give it a shot. If you’re ready to see how we solve it, then let’s get started.*

(more…)


Day #59 : Two Random Variables Q1

Well now that we’ve had a minute to take a breath, let’s try out something new. In this post I will give the question and in the next post we can work out the answer. For those of you playing at home, this will be a good way to check your knowledge and for me, it will give the the chance to do the same.*

(more…)


Day #58 : Still taking a moment – 365 DoA

We will pick back up tomorrow most likely. Today however is one of those much needed rest days. Don’t worry, we’re still going to get into it, just not today.

Until next time, don’t stop learning!


Day #57 : Life in Academia – 365 DoA

Mental Health

A brief word, since I don’t have time for a full post today. If/when you start down the path towards your PhD or Masters, remember that you need to balance work and life. That isn’t to say you need to find a super exciting hobby, more like you need to unwind every once and awhile. There is a lot of burnout in academia, students often find themselves overwhelmed and have a higher rate of depression than the average public. It’s okay to need help, it’s okay to say you cannot do something, and most importantly, it is okay to take time for yourself.

(more…)


Day #56 : One Function of Two Random Variables Example 3 – 365 DoA

Example1

Today we are solving this guy!

Okay quick example, still not super difficult, but one we can work out to a complete solution. We’ve gone over a few examples now, but we’re going to go over a few more for both my benefit and yours. So let’s dive in.*

(more…)


Day #55 : One Function of Two Random Variables Example 2 – 365 DoA

resturant

Don’t worry, the image ties into what we are doing today, I promise!

Well our last post we took a break and talked zombies! While I would love to do a whole month of halloween topics, this year is not the time, maybe next year. In any case today we are going to go over another example of a single function of two random variables. This is going to be slightly more complex than our first example, however it won’t be extremely complex (we’re working towards it). So let’s take a look shall we?*

(more…)


Day #54 : The Science Behind Real Zombies – 365 DoA

Zombies: Science Fiction vs. Fact

zombies ahead

Time for a break from stochastic processes, at least for the moment. Every year here we update and post our favorite Halloween tradition!  So today we bring you the science fact and fiction behind the undead. Zombies, those brain loving little things are everywhere. Sure, we are all familiar with the classic  zombie, but did you know that we aren’t the only zombie lovers out there? It turns out that nature has its own special types of zombies, but this isn’t a science fiction movie, this is science fact! Sometimes fact can be scarier than fiction, so let’s dive in. Let’s talk zombies.

(more…)


Day #53 : One Function of Two Random Variables Example 1 – 365 DoA

One Function of Two Random Variables

Hopefully at this point we’ve demystified more than just a few concepts at this point. Today we are going to look at one function of two random variables. Originally I was going to break into a joint CDF example that involved dependent variables, but it turns out my book doesn’t cover that! Oops, guess I should’ve read ahead. In any case let’s talk functions!*

(more…)


Day #52 : Joint Cumulative Distribution Function Example 1 – 365 DoA

JointCDF.png

We’re getting into some interesting things today!

Well here we are again, today we are talking functions of two random variables. If you’re looking for the beginning, this isn’t it, but you can read the introduction here. If you’ve kept up, then you’re ready to go over the example we have today, so let’s get started.*

(more…)


Day #51 : Joint Cumulative Distribution Function – 365 DoA

Joint CDF Image

As promised, today we are going to talk about two random variables that are not independent. This means that the individual probabilities don’t sum to be equal to the joint probability (like they did yesterday). Like our normal CDF, we can find a CDF for two random variables, but let’s take a look at how this works.*

(more…)


Day #50 : Intro to Two Random Variables – 365 DoA

Coins

I was debating about not posting anything today. It’s been a bit rough for me these past few days. However, I’m going to write a little something today and tomorrow to introduce two random variables (so we don’t skip a day). This is going to be a lot like our single random variable examples, but (of course) more complex, let’s take a look at what I mean.*

(more…)


Day #49 : Functions of One Random Variable Example Part 5 – 365 DoA

function of RV fourth example5

Let’s look at something a bit different today!

If you’ve been following along, we’ve been taking it easy the past few days. I’ve also been going over (relatively) simple examples, so today we’re going to take a more complicated example and work through solving it. I may go over a few more examples to be honest, only because this is important to what comes next, after we nail this down, we’re going to get into functions of two random variables and as you can imagine that’s a little more complicated (a lot more).*

(more…)


Day #48 : Functions of One Random Variable Example Part 4 – 365 DoA

function of RV thrid example8

A simpler example than yesterday.

Still feeling under the weather, but the show must go on as they say. So today let’s look at another example of how to solve functions of one random variable. Today will be another shorter post, but as usual I’ll try to explain everything step by step and hopefully you’ll see the methodology behind solving these types of problems.*

(more…)


Day #47 : Functions of One Random Variable Example Part 3 – 365 DoA

function of RV second example

Let’s solve this guy.

Bad news readers, I’m feeling a bit under the weather. Today we’re going to go over a quick example. It’s not the one I had in mind, but it’s fairly straightforward and should help make some more sense of everything we are covering. When I start feeling better we can get into some of the newer concepts.*

(more…)


Day #46 : Functions of One Random Variable Example Part 2 – 365 DoA

bayes theorem joke

Another Joke by xkcd

As promised today we are going to look at another example of how to solve functions with one random variable. If you haven’t you may want to start with our first post on the subject here.  For those of you who are caught up, let’s get started.*

(more…)


Day #45 : Moment Generating Functions – 365 DoA

distribution park joke

There wasn’t a good visual for what we are talking about today, so how about a joke instead?

Well from the views it looks like my function of a random variable example was a big hit. Hopefully we’re clearing a lot of the confusion up now that we are looking at some examples of how to solve these and we can get a better grasp of how this works. Today we’re going to introduce a new concept, this one is going to be a bit more complex than our last, so you may want to review our last post before we start.*

(more…)


Day #44 : Functions of One Random Variable Example Part 1 – 365 DoA

func of RV

Really, this is all we are doing, but let’s make some sense of it.

Well maybe yesterday was confusing, maybe it wasn’t. In any case, today should clarify some things for you if you are confused and should make things more clear if you are not. Today we are going to go over a quick example of what a function involving one random variable looks like. Now you may notice I keep saying one, that’s because you can technically have as many variables as you want, but since this is fairy complex stuff, let’s just stick with the one for now.*

(more…)


Day #43 : Introduction to Functions of One Random Variable – 365 DoA

Function of one random variable (Borel)

Yep we’re getting a little complicated, but let’s see if we can make sense of this.

Now that we’ve looked at conditional probabilities we can talk about other things we can do with random variables. If you’ve been keeping up with us so far, then this shouldn’t be too crazy of an idea, really all we are going to do today is take a random variable and transform it somehow. Interested? Let’s go!*

(more…)


Day #42 : Conditional Probability – 365 DoA

Conditional probability pdf plot

How does this not exist on the internet?! This is directly from my book, so it looks a little… well loved.

Up to now we’ve been dealing with single variable pdf and the corresponding CDF. We said that these probabilities relied on the fact that our variable of interest was independent. However, what if we knew some property that impacted our probability? Today we are talking conditional probability and that is the question we will be answering. It’s going to be a long, long post so plan accordingly.*

(more…)


Day #41 : Connecting the Concepts – 365 DoA

catinthebag

Maybe we shouldn’t phrase it this way, since there is still quite a few days left of 365DoA, but you made it to the end! No, not THE end, but if you’ve been following along the past few posts we’ve introduced several seemingly disparate concepts and said, “don’t worry they are related,” without telling you how. Well today, like a magician showing you how to pull a rabbit from a hat, let’s connect the dots and explain why we introduced all those concepts!*

(more…)


Day #40 : The Normal Approximation (Poisson) – 365 DoA

Poisson vs Gaussian

Poisson’s return!

You have all been really patient with seeing how we tie these last few posts together and frankly I think that we are on track to do that in the next post. Today however we have one more thing to introduce then we can bring it all together, that would be yet another normal (again we usually refer to this as the gaussian) distribution. If you recall I hinted at this a few days ago in the Poisson pdf post.  Let’s look at what this means and why we would want to use this.*

(more…)


Day #39 : The Normal Approximation (De Moivre-Laplace) – 365 DoA

Binomial_distribution plot

The binomial distribution, don’t worry we’ll get into it.

Well we haven’t covered the binomial distribution, but it should be vaguely familiar if you’ve been keeping up, specifically if you’ve already read about the gaussian pdf. Today we are going to talk about what the binomial distribution is and how it relates to the normal distribution. So let’s get into it and see how it relates to some of the topics we’ve been covering!*

(more…)


Day #38 : The Poisson Distribution – 365 DoA

poisson

The Poisson distribution changes shape as λ changes

Well in an effort to catch up to what we’re currently learning in my class today we should hammer out the Poisson distribution so we can get to combining some ideas. The interesting thing about this distribution as you can see from above, is that as we adjust λ the shape of the distribution changes. Let’s get started.*

(more…)


Day #37 : Bayes’ Theorem – 365 DoA

bayes light

We’re talking Bayes for days.

Okay, it looks like we have our topics for the next few posts and today we need to introduce something called Bayes’ rule (or theorem) if we are going to get into some of the things I want to talk about. We also need to talk about the Poisson distribution eventually, but we’ll get to that in time. For now, let’s talk Bayes!*

(more…)


Day #36 : The uniform pdf – 365 DoA

Uniform distribution

The uniform distribution, a very simple looking distribution indeed.

Today we are going to take it a bit easy, after all we still have 329 days of blog posts and not every one has to be a novel. That is why today we are introducing something called the uniform distribution. Ever wonder what would happen if nothing really mattered? Well you’re in for a treat! Let’s get started.*

(more…)