hadoopsummit13 meetup

Yesterday, I attended a meet-up session on big data and machine learning. Hadoop summit 2013 is kicking off in San Jose and event organizers were able use it as an excuse catch hold of some big names/vendors in this field.

ted dunning

Ted Dunning on Apache Mahout

The first speaker for the night was Ted Dunning, who as everyone knows is guru in this field. He started off with an introduction on Apache Mahout, pointing out areas where Mahout is good and comparable to best performing implementations in other platforms. He spoke about different packages Mahout provides and how to utilise them best. For example Recommendation package has plethora of good online algorithms, but it performs poorly in classification tasks. He also spoke about math library in java, which can be used to do all vector/matrix manipulations like Python or Matlab. He also mentioned that these algorithms have both in memory and distributed implementation, so that will be something cool to checkout. Link to his slides.

Second talk was from Alpine data labs which sounded almost like a sales pitch to me. They showed their parallel implementation of SVM where the key was to apply an approximation technique to one of the computation of Lagrange multiplier coefficients. It was a good descriptive talk and got many people thinking about the inherent details of the algorithm.

0xdata started off with the theme of how they want to bring data science to masses and  help them get away from the direct confrontation with mathematics. Their product can interface with disparate sources like excel, R, SAS and extend the in memory implementations on to the distributed platform. They worked through an interesting proof of concept using a on-time-airline dataset http://stat-computing.org/dataexpo/2009/.

Camera, Images and EXIF

Last year I lost my camera during a trip up north of San Francisco. I was sad for about a week, till those memory cells faded. Suddenly it struck me why do we loose things, there should be a way to locate them, like we do we mobile phones. 

Another alternative is we do exhaustive search of all the images shared on internet and find if one clicked with your camera. Digital camera’s store meta information in EXIF format which includes even the serial number of your camera. A serial number can uniquely identify any device. stolen camera finder works on the same basis and claims to crawl all the images. However it returned zero search results when I searched for mine. Although I have published many pictures on my picasa album with the same camera, this search engine fails to identify them. There can be many reasons why this approach would fail. 


1. Crawlers aren’t good enough. I wish Google to have started this service, it will help so many.

2. Images with missing EXIF info. I ran a test using EXIF-py, a python library on different images from Facebook, Picasa, Flickr and web and found only a very few preserved this information. Facebook seems to remove exif information from the pictures. I saw serial number for few images in picassa. In some cases only the model number is present but not serial number. 


So it seems most of the images editing softwares do not write exif information. This makes it difficult to search for your lost camera by simply crawling images. So we see we need to look for a different approach to solve this problem.

Living with Constant Noise

Noise is in the air and you cannot do much about it. I know this is the sad part but not any more. In this blog I will share a work around I found a month ago.

Here I will discuss interesting uses of earmuff. It is mainly used by workers in noisy environments. But for the past one month I have been using it for my every day use. I am almost addicted to it now. In the past i used to be woken up by barking dogs in the middle of the night. I could do nothing but press my pillow against my head & wait for the dog to get silent again. (dog belonged to my neighbor). If you live by a road side how can you avoid the honks & bombarding piston of lousy motorcycles. it’s almost inevitable. But not any more. whatsoever may be the source of sound this instrument takes care of it. For college going kids this can be an excellent companion.

earmuff uses

Read, meditate & leisure

But being made out of hard plastic it restricts your sleeping position. you can only lie on your back with these ear-muff on. If you can fund me we can research on making soft muffs which will be flexible & will give feel like no muff. I remember last Sunday night I was feeling little cold, it was all quite. For a moment i thought to take my ear-muff off but it was not long when I heard my roommate snorting to the loudest. But thankfully I had the solution. I remember someone saying ” you cannot change the world but yourself”.

Beside these if you are looking for a perfect noise cancellation head phones then you can make one out of these. Just put on your ipod ear phones & wrap them with this ear-muff. This all comes under 20$ price.

Disclaimer: I am not sure if constant usage of ear-muff can cause any long term injury. So please consult your physician before you using for daily use.