Joining Recurse Center

November 1, 2016
recurse

New York City for the Winter

I am excited to call the Recurse Center in NYC home for the next few months. Will be a part of their 12 weeks for Winter 2016 batch. Recurse describes itself as a free, self-directed, educational retreat for people who want to get better at programming, whether they’ve been coding for three decades or three months. There are facilitators but for 12 weeks you will be working with your fellow batchmates on honing your skills working on projects you always wanted to do.

Recurse Center Apply Photo Photo from Recurse Center Apply

Preface

I switched to Computer Science in college from Accounting and haven’t looked back. I have been primarily doing full stack web development for the past four years and dabbling in everything else. I’m excited to take some time to work on some back burner project ideas and also explore new problem domains.

I’ve become more interested in working with data. We generate and collect so much data now that the hard science is reasoning with the data and storing it on demand. The culmination of this is personalized computing and AI. Having it so easy to access is a powerful idea; you can have contextual personalized search to any of your data on demand.

My favorite example of this is Google Photos, I’m can find an old photo of Street Food I took on a trip to China 8 years ago if I just ask. From Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and even Facebook M, the future is going to be a world of personalized computing experiences and redefining the term Personal Computer.

Street Food Street market in Rural China from 10 year ago that I took

What I’ll be doing

At Recurse it’s recommended you pick a focus, like a capstone project that you’ll be working on day to day and hopefully finish at the end. I want to challenge myself to do more with data. I put together the idea of building a recommendation engine as my softball to myself. A little less ambitious than Mark Zuckerberg’s plan to build an AI for his Home this year but baby steps.

I’ve been using Python for a few years now and have done some Scikit-learn and Tensorflow. All my experiments in the data science realm have all been very shallow but I’m fascinated by projects like Google’s WaveNet generative audio and Tiny Clouds’s coloring black and white photos.

I’m a few weeks into the original Coursera Machine Learning by Andrew Ng but the math bits are challenging. I’ve also accumulated a list of projects on a trello board that I’ll pick through and try to tackle throughout my batch.

Trelloboard Fleshing out list of project ideas and goals

In Closing

I’ll do a follow-up at the end of my batch to see how close I stuck with what I planned to do. I’ll keep in touch, connect with me on Twitter and Linkedin and reach out if you have any questions about the program.