[Day 683] It must have been love …

.. but it’s over now.

I finished the last exam of my Stanford career today. Halfway through the last exam, I kept checking my watch to see how much longer I had to pretend to care. Looking at the tense, sweaty faces around me, I had that strange out-of-body experience of looking at my past self. “Whatever is happening now, it’s already in the past.” The outcome of this exam wouldn’t affect my future self one tiny bit. It was over. I’d already checked out. Continue reading “[Day 683] It must have been love …”

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[Day 683] It must have been love …

[Day 636] Instant karma

Last week, I was being a bad person.

  1. A girl living in my house wasn’t very nice to me and my friend. She wanted to talk later to explain herself, but I just walked out on her mid-conversation. I wasn’t even that mad at her. I didn’t like people who aren’t nice to my friends so I decided to be not nice to her in retaliation.
  2. There’s that one American English teacher in Vietnam whose story has been upsetting me for a long time. First, he made a condescending video showing how his parents react to the way Vietnamese people speaking English to prove that Vietnamese English teachers can’t teach English, together with another video instructing Vietnamese people on how to dine with westerners. Dude, if you make your living in Vietnam, you’d better learn to dine with us, not the other way around. Second, he made a joke about American soldiers bombing and raping Vietnamese daughters – he must have meant it to be satire, but it wasn’t funny. Third, he made another joke, comparing the head of a deceased Vietnamese war hero to a testicle. What upsets me isn’t him — you can find assholes everywhere — but the fact that many Vietnamese people idolize him. A long history of being dominated power has taught us to look up to foreigners, no matter how offensive they are.

Continue reading “[Day 636] Instant karma”

[Day 636] Instant karma

[Day 626] I just gave a lecture to 400 students

Today, I was invited to give a guest lecture for the Stanford class CS224N: Natural Language Processing with Deep Learning. I was pretty excited about the opportunity. First, I’d never given a lecture to such a big audience before – there are 400+ students in the class. Second, it’s Richard Socher‘s class. He’s hands down one of the most chill professors I know. For some reason, he always looks like he’s just got out of bed and we occasionally catch him biking down the stairs to the classroom. Third, I’d always heard that speaking at NVIDIA Auditorium is lit and I want to try it out before graduating. Continue reading “[Day 626] I just gave a lecture to 400 students”

[Day 626] I just gave a lecture to 400 students

[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