[Day 550] Uphill battle

Things that I found me and my friends saying these days.

“Deadlines are the beacon that guides my life from a moment to the next.”

“That sweet, sweet two seconds between finishing a project and starting the next.”

“I don’t even think about whether I’m having a good day or not. I just work all the time.”

“I’m trying to get through the week.”

Life is an uphill battle that, at times, seems to never stop. Keep on trucking. We got this!

 

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[Day 550] Uphill battle

[Day 515] “I’m a pianist/juggler”

Today, Tucker had an extra ticket to “Mads Tolling & The Mad Men.” Tessy thought she should be the one going instead because it was almost her birthday and she *thought* she knew more about classical music than I did. “Do you even know what jazz is?” she asked. “Yes,” I answered.

I was excited about the show because Mads Tolling was a two time Grammy winner and I had never consciously been in the same room with a Grammy winner before. I was pleasantly surprised by how classy everyone in the room looked. Men were all wearing shirt or suits or both, and women were wearing dresses. By everyone, I meant everyone except Tucker. He came in jersey, tech hoodie, shorts, and sandals. When I was biking back in the cold I also realized that he was driving back. “You could have picked me up,” I screamed at him. “Yeah I suppose,” he said.

Continue reading “[Day 515] “I’m a pianist/juggler””

[Day 515] “I’m a pianist/juggler”

[Day 408] My experience with Stanford’s Honor Code

The first time I learnt about from Stanford’s Honor Code, I thought it was something too good to be true. “You mean to tell me professors let students alone during exams? How’s it possible that the students don’t cheat?” Honor code is bilateral. If students sign the code to commit to not cheating, professors must show that they trust students by not watching students during exams. It gives students abundant opportunities to cheat, while keeping the probability of being caught low.

I come from Vietnam — a country where cheating in the exam is a challenge rather than a sin. Continue reading “[Day 408] My experience with Stanford’s Honor Code”

[Day 408] My experience with Stanford’s Honor Code

[Day 406] It’s the end of junior year as I know it

Sup, guys?

It’s summer! The feeling of having no homework is amazing. I can finally do all the things that I’ve been doing throughout the year, but with much less guilt.

I still can’t decide if I had a good year or not. On the one hand, I suffered. A LOT. I overloaded myself with too many things: projects, teaching, writing, rocky relationships, and in the end half-assed everything. In hindsight, I believe I could have learned a lot more if I had tried to learn less.

On the other hand, it was a year of personal growth with amazing experiences. It was the year when I published my third book in Vietnamese. I finished my 2016’s reading challenge: read 50 books. I taught a course at Stanford, which was endorsed by Google, Kaggle, DeepLearning4J and was featured on front page of HackerNews, AI Weekly, and GitHub. A professor invited me to Hungary to help his team with a machine learning project — I accepted and had the time of my life. I started working at one of the world’s most interesting companies. I also fell in love.

Continue reading “[Day 406] It’s the end of junior year as I know it”

[Day 406] It’s the end of junior year as I know it

[Day 290] Did Viraj Mehta really flip off American people on TV?

Being off Facebook, I’ve been entirely oblivious to my friend Viraj’s famed middle-finger. I knew that he has been on Jeopardy and I knew that he’s had some impressive win — the rock I live under isn’t that big — but I wasn’t aware that there was more to that. When I ran into Viraj this afternoon, he was excited:

“Chip, I’m famous now!”
“What? Did you win that $100k?”
“I can’t say, but google my name!”

So I googled “Viraj” and saw this:

Screen Shot 2017-02-23 at 6.26.24 PM.jpg

Continue reading “[Day 290] Did Viraj Mehta really flip off American people on TV?”

[Day 290] Did Viraj Mehta really flip off American people on TV?

[Day 276] Detailed instruction on how to do Style Transfer

If you don’t already know, style transfer is the cool, hip thing that has been taking the recreational AI community by storm. It’s so cool that even Kristen Stewart co-authored a paper about it. To quote one researcher who has done extensive work in style transfer that I’ve got a chance to talk to, “it is an utterly unremarkable paper that wouldn’t have been published otherwise [if Kristen Stewart’s name is not on it]. That’s a publicity stunt.”

kristen stewart style transfer.jpgSome background on why I’m doing this: I’m teaching the course CS 20SI: “TensorFlow for Deep Learning Research” and for the assignment about convolution neural networks, I thought it’d be fun for students to do style transfer as their exercise at home. They, after all, showed a lot of enthusiasm when we did Deep Dream in class.

Continue reading “[Day 276] Detailed instruction on how to do Style Transfer”

[Day 276] Detailed instruction on how to do Style Transfer

[Day 217] Why people at Stanford don’t call anymore, or in the defense of text messages

I’m reading the Aziz Ansari’s book “Modern Romance: An Investigation“, in which he accused men of being bozos for asking a girl out by texting instead of calling her. According to Ansari, calling a girl is a sign of courage and seriousness, while “texting facilitates flakiness and rudeness.” His observation is consistent with the advice I often see in dating columns (yeah I’m that kind of girl who reads dating columns), and I think it might as well be the most outdated advice ever, at least where I live.

Continue reading “[Day 217] Why people at Stanford don’t call anymore, or in the defense of text messages”

[Day 217] Why people at Stanford don’t call anymore, or in the defense of text messages