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Posts tagged “education

Day #132: Rat model validation!

stock photography Pet rat closeup

Yesterday I mentioned that I had some rat data to go through. It was an old(er) dataset, about five years-old to be exact, but it was one that was going to help me validate some of my findings. Unfortunately there existed no invasive human datasets to compare my human data to, so I needed to find an animal model, in this case a rat model. Let’s discuss the importance.

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Day #124: On the importance of time off

Overworked

When I left the military, I threw myself into work. I was offered — and I took — all the overtime I could get. If I stayed busy, I didn’t have to think about anything else and at the time, it is what I wanted. I didn’t want to have to think about anything else. It was an unhealthy and unsustainable lifestyle, one I don’t necessarily regret, just one I had to learn from.

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Day #123: Well I HAD a meeting

timeobsessed

Today I reluctantly had two things to do on my list, this despite being sick. Now, I don’t normally like going out when I’m unwell, I don’t want to get others sick, I don’t want to suffer more, blah blah blah. The usual things you’re supposed to do when you are sick. Well today I was not that lucky, let’s talk about why.

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Day #122: Moving forward

prosthetic head

After the events of the past week, I need a break. Not just because of all the excitement that has occured, but because I am sick. Like bad. There is never a good time to be sick per say, but if I had to be sick, this was about as good of timing as I could ask for. Let’s talk about what’s next once I’m feeling better.

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Day #121: Qualifying Exam Aftermath

Steele - QE

I don’t normally share photos of myself, but I thought I would share the final slide, I love it so much.

Well if you don’t follow me on twitter, then you don’t know the results of my qualifying exam. Well I’ll tell you, but not yet. First let’s talk about how it went and what the qualifying exam is (I know we’ve covered this already here, but it would be good to do it again).

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Day #109: Post exam exhaustion

exhausted student.jpg

It’s over. The term has finally come to an end and I’ve taken my final as of yesterday. It’s bittersweet, on one hand I can now (sort of) relax. On the other, it means that there are exactly zero chances for me to improve my grade. I’ve done my best and now I need to hope that it is enough to get me to the finish line.

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Day #102: Finals ahead!

Warning sign

Well it’s that time of year again, finals! On one hand I’m excited at the prospect of being done with the term, on the other I’m a notoriously bad test taker. I deal with a lot of anxiety you see and even when I know how to solve the problem, come test day I end up drawing a blank or making very stupid mistakes. Standardized tests are the bane of my existence!!

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Day #101: Holiday

Well today is thanksgiving, not a holiday I celebrate, but I’m happy to have the day off at least. I’ll be taking the day to get some work done and relax some. Deadlines are coming so I can’t take the whole day to myself, but at least it’s a low stress day.

Until next time, don’t stop learning!


Day #100: Graduating lab members

Day 100 - PhD defense offense

Image from: xkcd.com

Wow, time flies, we’re already on day 100. Still not half way done, but it certainly doesn’t feel like 100 days of writing. Today has been a busy day, which is why I’m writing so late. With the end of the term comes other projects that need to be addressed, namely my qualifying exam, final exams, and other lab members having their Ph.D defense. Yep, we have not one, not two, but three people defending their Ph.D this term.

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Day #99: Data request, a update

letters vs email

Sometimes emails can still be exciting!

I’ve got news! In my last post on the subject I said that I wasn’t expecting a response from the lab I was requesting data from until Monday, if at all. Well would you believe I got a response! It wasn’t a “here’s the data response,” but it is progress. Let me explain why.

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Day #98: Laptop troubles

Well it finally happened. My laptop looks pretty dead. Right now I have it in pieces while I try to figure out what went wrong with it. Thankfully I have a desktop computer that I use for all my heavy computing as a back up. Just one more expense I guess, I should be grateful that it wasn’t something more serious like the hard drive going out.

So short post, I know, but I have to get this fixed or find some sort of resolution since my laptop is an important part of how I get work done. I’ll have a longer post tomorrow, but for now I think that is it.

Until next time, don’t stop learning!


Day #97: Neural network models

Neural net

Today should be an interesting day for me. I plan to do a deep dive into the world of neural networks to better understand how they work and the best type to apply to my data. There are a few, quite a few in fact that I could use and really it depends on how I want to frame my problem, so let’s look at what I’ve got planned.

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Day #96: The art of requesting data

Day 96 - mice

I have some data. This shouldn’t be news, I’ve been talking about how I’m trying to train a model to predict an output using this data and all the woes that have come from the training process. Turns out I have a problem, well more like questions that need answers and for that I need help.

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Day #94: Paper formatting

submtting a paper

Ugh!! After over six weeks my paper was rejected becuase it didn’t fall in line with what the editor wanted. This is frustrating because each journal has different formatting requirements and you cannot submit to multiple journals at once so we need to sit and wait.

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Day #93: QE date is set… again!

5 tacks on a single date on a calendar

5 tacks on a single date on a calendar

Exciting news!!!!! Well as you can tell from the title, my qualifying exam date is set. After some time emailing back and forth I finally just sent out a doodle poll to get everyone to vote on what time would work best for them. Last night, my last committee member added their availability to the poll and with that, I have a new time and date!

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Day #92: Missed meetings…

65874759

As you may be aware, I am planning an experiment! Cue upbeat music Unfortunately record scratch I’m nowhere near ready. It’s been a process for sure and we are (maybe?) back on track to get started soon. Today I had a meeting scheduled with my PI to discuss the details, but…

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Day #86: Or maybe not…

vicous cat

Even my cat doesn’t like the news.

Last post I had triumphantly declared that I had scheduled my QE date…. wellllllll maybe not. I had a last minute email from one of my committee members saying they had another obligation that day that they had forgotten about. So today let’s talk about why that is okay, even though it isn’t really.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.*

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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.*

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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.*

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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.*

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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.

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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.*

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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?*

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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!*

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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.*

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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.*

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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.*

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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).*

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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.*

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