This week, I started to focus on learning about recommender systems. There are many kinds of recommender systems, which are often used by companies like Netflix and Amazon to recommend items that customers might be interested in, based on some combination of relevant variables. There is a pretty wide variety of techniques, and I have been working on determining which techniques we might be able to use to predict words that children are likely to learn soon based on their current vocabularies. I have also been working on setting up an application that I can use to test these algorithms once I have the data, which I will be getting next week. Furthermore, there is the problem of figuring out how best to model users (technically the parents who are providing the information, though we are studying the children) and their vocabularies in such an application so that we can effectively use the information we have. In addition to all of this, I continued to do some work with Emergent at the beginning to the week, though I will probably not be working with it as much anymore.
On Friday, there was a dinner for Lauren, who has been working with Professor Colunga but will be leaving soon. Christine and I walked over to the restaurant with Tatyana, who has been teaching us how to use Emergent, and we got to meet several more people who are involved in this research. On the way back, we ran into an organic food fair and got all sorts of free samples.