The Project Journal

Week 2: June 22 - June 28

I actually got started on actual coding this week, and it's been a lot of fun!

Tuesday was a day of meetings. My first meeting was with Prof. Zhang, Jadiel (the other DREU student) and Jiazhong and Lambo, the grad students supervising us. We were introduced to the college and its resources, and told more about the work we'd be doing. Next, we met with the IRKM lab group, which is Prof. Zhang's research group. We will be meeting every Tuesday to discuss each other's research and also keep up with the latest research doing in the field of information retrieval and knowledge management (which is what IRKM stands for.) That should be really interesting. My third and last meeting of the day was with the tecWAVE team, both the education and the development halves. Every member updated us on what they'd been doing and what tasks they were working on. I look forward to having something to contribute this Tuesday!

Onto the work I've been doing! I've been helping Jiazhong prepare relational data to check the accuracy of the matrix factorisation model that he's been using to check the accuracy of tecWAVE's learning. tecWAVE is supposed to predict which words would be difficult for a user based on their reading level and native language. The matrix factorisation model that maps this is based off of a paper written in 2008. I've basically just been writing Python scripts that process reallly huge data files and format them a certain way, extracting data from XML files etc. Over the weekend, and spilling over into day, I've been using a program written by Jiazhong to run experiments on this data, adjusting weights on all of the parameters etc.

Research is funny. I'm not even sure if anything I'm doing is useful, because it's all experimental. We're hoping a correlation shows up, but it very well might not. I'll report back on that next week!