The Project Journal

Week 1: June 14 - June 21

I arrived in Santa Cruz on Sunday, June 14. Prof. Zhang was away for the week, so I met up with Jiazhong, the Ph. D. student that I would be working with for the rest of the summer. He introduced me to the tecWave project and the lab. I needed to learn the mathematics behind it all, so I was given some books and papers to read over the course of the week.

I learned a lot this week. I read most of the Introduction to Machine Learning textbook by Alpayadin, but focussed on the linear discrimination chapter. I also learned about the techniques of Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA) and read a paper on how to better improve relational learning by using matrix factorisation.

I also learned some life skills, as I spent a couple of days house-hunting. The university offered me accomodation, but I was trying to find a cheaper alternative, so I turned to Craigslist. I spent Monday through Wednesday travelling around Santa Cruz (and as a side-effect, familiarising myself with the bus routes) looking at houses, and finally found this fabulous house just a minute's walk from the base of campus. I'm a little sad that I won't be living in the dorms, and meeting people will be harder, but I'm actually somewhat excited about domesticity. (I've never had to manage a house by myself before!)

Prof. Zhang returns on Tuesday, and I also get to meet my fellow-DREU student next week, so I'm looking forward to that. I'm also looking forward to actually applying all that I've learned and sinking my teeth into some code. I've decided that I'm going to use Python to do all my coding (I can use any language I want), and I've never really used Python before, so that should be fun. From what I've seen, it's really easy.