Antimatroid, The

thoughts on computer science, electronics, mathematics


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With a new year comes some new thinking on the direction I’d like to take my work and consequently, the site. Since the site’s inception in 2008, I’ve attempted to follow a monthly publication format throughout the year with the usual summer hiatus. This approach has worked well in the past since most of my work consisted of weekend projects. As I’ve refined my capabilities, I’ve sought out more sophisticated interests and challenges to take on as projects and research opportunities. Naturally, these more advanced projects require more time to finish. As I think about the next year and beyond, I’m certain this trend will continue.

Humans are lousy at multitasking, working on multiple projects simultaneously starts to rapidly produce diminishing returns in quality of work. Since my projects will continue to grow in complexity, a monthly format will soon require that I work on dozens of projects in parallel. With each additional project, the amount of time I can dedicate to a project each month will diminish and each project will take progressively longer to complete. Consequently, I’ve decided that I’m no longer going to try and finish a project each month along with the associated monthly post, rather I’d like to focus on developing my project and research, and publishing by the maxim “it’s done when it’s done”.

I know many people in my position opt to publish progress reports for long standing projects. I’ve done this in the past and have always felt that it ended up requiring too much duplication without any real benefit and reading them always felt like reading an arbitrary page out of a piece of fiction- the context simply isn’t there and it simply isn’t interesting to read. With that in mind, I want to talk about what projects I am currently working on some projects that I’m considering approaching over the next year and beyond.

Last year I began working on a couple of Android projects, Viderefit and an unannounced platformer. Viderefit got out the door, and the platformer was stalled in its inception phase and I’ve been contemplating how it will come together on and off since then. This will be a larger programming project than the rest of the projects I have planned, but it will be a continuation of the work I’ve done in developing arcade games in years past. Since these larger programming projects are better suited for winter, beginning next year I will be focusing on this project in more detail. Similarly, I’ll be spending more time on Viderefit this upcoming spring as the weather here in Colorado starts to warm back up and my outdoor season begins.

For the past several years I’ve been responsible for designing and overseeing distributed processing systems. Much of what I’ve observed can be characterized mathematically as stochastic dynamical systems. I view this as an opportunity to take what I’ve learned in industry and to apply that knowledge to studying these systems more formally. Since last fall, I’ve been delving into the theory of stochastic processes and seeing how that theory corresponds to what I’ve observed in the field. My goal is provide a thorough analysis of these systems and under what conditions they are stable.

In an attempt to broaden the purview of my work, I’ve been exploring mathematical finance and its role in business. I’ve started writing an overview of stock and stock options from the point of view of all the parties involved- shareholders, members, the exchange, traders and so on. There is some overlap in the stochastic elements of my distributed processing systems research which I hope to apply here as well, in particular options pricing. Overall, the goal is to put together an accessible overview of the instrument suitable for developers.

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been working on a 3D printed toy robot. The opportunity to combine art, electronics, and mechanics together was too good an opportunity to pass up. The focus is on combining multiple engineering disciplines to produce a tangible result. In particular, to explore the possibilities of 3D printing, get some exposure to designing simple analog circuits, and utilize rudimentary mechanical constructs to bring a simple toy robot to life. Due to the inherent complexities of the project, and prolonged logistics involved in sourcing electronics and mechanical materials, this project is anticipated to be finished before the end of the year.

In parallel to my work on distributed processing systems, I’ve spent time being involved in applying natural language processing to problems in the medical industry. This is one area that I see a lot of potential commercially and I think it is worthwhile to pursue the subject in greater detail. A couple of years ago I wrote about an interpreter framework and its use for evaluating sentential logic. I’d like to extend that work to predicate logic and soundness checking, and then applying that solution to evaluating the soundness of English text. I’m also interested in building a speech synthesizer that can mimic the voice of any speaker given ample training data and a Russian to English statistical translator.

My work this past fall on image processing and category recognition was a rewarding process. I’m currently interested in learning more about how I can augment the mobile computing experience with augmented reality, and in what ways that marriage can result in meaningful, practical solutions for end users, and not just something that satisfies some intellectual curiosity. Likewise, I’m interested in exploring how image processing and machine learning can be applied to interpret body language and other non-verbal communication.

I see the next year full of interesting projects and possibilities that I believe will broaden my understanding of several subjects and give me an opportunity to deepen my knowledge in areas where I’m already knowledgeable. The underlying themes here are exploring the fascinating possibilities that arise from the intersection of mathematics, computer science and business, and the theme of growth and continued pursuit of bigger and better intellectual challenges. We’ll see how the new format works out and whether or not it produces noticeably improved results by this time next year when I plan to revisit my progress on these projects.


Written by lewellen

2013-02-01 at 8:00 am

Posted in Announcements

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