Category: automation

How a File Format Exposed a Crossword Scandal

Vincent Warmerdam shared this Youtube video which I thoroughly enjoyed watched. It’s about Saul Pwanson, a software engineer whose hobby project got a little out of hand.

In 2016, Saul Pwanson designed a plain-text file format for crossword puzzle data, and then spent a couple of months building a micro-data-pipeline, scraping tens of thousands of crosswords from various sources.

After putting all these crosswords in a simple uniform format, Saul used some simple command line commands to check for common patterns and irregularities.

Surprisingly enough, after visualizing the results, Saul discovered egregious plagiarism by a major crossword editor that had gone on for years.

Ultimately, 538 even covered the scandal:

I thoroughly enjoyed watching this talk on Youtube.

Saul covers the file format, data pipeline, and the design choices that aided rapid exploration; the evidence for the scandal, from the initial anomalies to the final damning visualization; and what it’s like for a data project to get 15 minutes of fame.

I tried to localize the dataset online, but it seems Saul’s website has since gone offline. If you do happen to find it, please do share it in the comments!

Repository of Production Machine Learning

Repository of Production Machine Learning

The Institute for Ethical Machine Learning compiled this amazing curated list of open source libraries that will help you deploy, monitor, version, scale, and secure your production machine learning.

๐Ÿ” Explaining predictions & models๐Ÿ” Privacy preserving ML๐Ÿ“œ Model & data versioning
๐Ÿ Model Training Orchestration๐Ÿ’ช Model Serving and Monitoring๐Ÿค– Neural Architecture Search
๐Ÿ““ Reproducible Notebooks๐Ÿ“Š Visualisation frameworks๐Ÿ”  Industry-strength NLP
๐Ÿงต Data pipelines & ETL๐Ÿท๏ธ Data Labelling๐Ÿ—ž๏ธ Data storage
๐Ÿ“ก Functions as a service๐Ÿ—บ๏ธ Computation distribution๐Ÿ“ฅ Model serialisation
๐Ÿงฎ Optimized calculation frameworks๐Ÿ’ธ Data Stream Processing๐Ÿ”ด Outlier and Anomaly Detection
๐ŸŒ€ Feature engineering๐ŸŽ Feature Storesโš” Adversarial Robustness
๐Ÿ’ฐ Commercial Platforms
Direct links to the sections of the Github repo

The Institute for Ethical Machine Learning is a think-tank that brings together with technology leaders, policymakers & academics to develop standards for ML.

Automatically create perfect .gitignore file for your project

Automatically create perfect .gitignore file for your project

These days, I am often programming in multiple different languages for my projects. I will do some data generation and machine learning in Python. The data exploration and some quick visualizations I prefer to do in R. And if I’m feeling adventureous, I might add some Processing or JavaScript visualizations.

Obviously, I want to track and store the versions of my programs and the changes between them. I probably don’t have to tell you that git is the tool to do so.

Normally, you’d have a .gitignore file in your project folder, and all files that are not listed (or have patterns listed) in the .gitignore file are backed up online.

However, when you are working in multiple languages simulatenously, it can become a hassle to assure that only the relevant files for each language are committed to Github.

Each language will have their own “by-files”. R projects come with .Rdata, .Rproj, .Rhistory and so on, whereas Python projects generate pycaches and what not. These you don’t want to commit preferably.

Enter the stage,

Here you simply enter the operating systems, IDEs, or Programming languages you are working with, and it will generate the appropriate .gitignore contents for you.

Let’s try it out

For my current project, I am working with Python and R in Visual Studio Code. So I enter:

And Voila, I get the perfect .gitignore including all specifics for these programs and languages:

# Created by,python,visualstudiocode
# Edit at,python,visualstudiocode

### Python ###
# Byte-compiled / optimized / DLL files

# C extensions

# Distribution / packaging

# PyInstaller
#  Usually these files are written by a python script from a template
#  before PyInstaller builds the exe, so as to inject date/other infos into it.

# Installer logs

# Unit test / coverage reports

# Translations

# Scrapy stuff:

# Sphinx documentation

# PyBuilder

# pyenv

# pipenv
#   According to pypa/pipenv#598, it is recommended to include Pipfile.lock in version control.
#   However, in case of collaboration, if having platform-specific dependencies or dependencies
#   having no cross-platform support, pipenv may install dependencies that don't work, or not
#   install all needed dependencies.

# celery beat schedule file

# SageMath parsed files

# Spyder project settings

# Rope project settings

# Mr Developer

# mkdocs documentation

# mypy

# Pyre type checker

### R ###
# History files

# Session Data files

# User-specific files

# Example code in package build process

# Output files from R CMD build

# Output files from R CMD check

# RStudio files

# produced vignettes

# OAuth2 token, see

# knitr and R markdown default cache directories

# Temporary files created by R markdown

### R.Bookdown Stack ###
# R package: bookdown caching files

### VisualStudioCode ###

### VisualStudioCode Patch ###
# Ignore all local history of files

# End of,python,visualstudiocode

Try it out yourself:

Generative art: Let your computer design you a painting

Generative art: Let your computer design you a painting

I really like generative art, or so-called algorithmic art. Basically, it means you take a pattern or a complex system of rules, and apply it to create something new following those patterns/rules.

When I finished my PhD, I got a beautiful poster of where the k-nearest neighbors algorithms was used to generate a set of connected points.

Marcus Volz’ nearest neighbors graph, via

My first piece of generative art.

As we recently moved into our new house, I decided I wanted to have a brother for the knn-poster. So I did some research in algorithms I wanted to use to generate a painting. I found some very cool ones, of which I unforunately can’t recollect the artists anymore:

However, I preferred to make one myself. So we again turned to the work of the author that made the knn-poster: Marcus Volz.

He has written (in R) many other algorithms. And we found that one specifically nicely matched the knn-poster. His metropolis – or generative city:

Marcus’ generative city, via

However, I wanted to make one myself, so I download Marcus code, and tweaked it a bit. Most importantly, I made it start in the center, made it fill up the whole space, and I made it run more efficient so I could generate a couple dozen large cities quickly, and pick the one I liked most. Here’s the end result:

And in action, in my living room:

You can find my code here on github.

PyBoy: A Python GameBoy Emulator

PyBoy: A Python GameBoy Emulator

If you are looking for a project to build a bot or AI application, look no further.

Enter the stage, PyBoy, a Nintendo Game Boy (DMG-01 [1989]) written in Python 2.7. The implementation runs in almost pure Python, but with dependencies for drawing graphics and getting user interactions through SDL2 and NumPy.

PyBoy is great for your AI robot projects as it is loadable as an object in Python. This means, it can be initialized from another script, and be controlled and probed by the script. You can even use multiple emulators at the same time, just instantiate the class multiple times.

The imagery suggests you can play anything from classic Super Mario to Pokemon. I suggest you start with the github, background report and PyBoy documentation right away.

Go catch ’em all!

Or get a bot to catch ’em all for you!

GitHub - Baekalfen/PyBoy: Game Boy emulator written in Python
Free Springer Books during COVID19

Free Springer Books during COVID19

Update: Unfortunately, Springer removed the free access to its books.

Book publisher Springer just released over 400 book titles that can be downloaded free of charge following the corona-virus outbreak.

Here’s the full overview:

Most of these books will normally set you back about $50 to $150, so this is a great deal!

There are many titles on computer science, programming, business, psychology, and here are some specific titles that might interest my readership:

Note that I only got to page 8 of 21, so there are many more free interesting titles out there!

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