Current Projects

Machine Learning: Concept, Theory, and Application

The capacity to learn is a feature of many interesting natural and artificial systems. I will attempt to provide an overview of machine learning from conceptual, theoretical and practical perspectives.

Past Work

Network Science for Fun and Profit (for Open Source Bridge 2014)

Understanding the relationships between data elements has become increasingly valuable, as LinkedIn, Facebook and Google illustrate. Network science provides a means to understand, explain, predict and otherwise utilize these relationships. I will provide a brief overview of network science, with examples and illustrations using R, focused on providing an entry point to their use for fun and profit.

Machine Learning in the Open (for Open Source Bridge 2012)

Machine learning and data mining methods underlie many exciting products and services, but their underlying workings remain opaque to many, even developers. I will provide a brief tutorial on some of the most important concepts and methods from machine learning and data mining, with motivating examples and illustrations from open source tools. Topics will include data exploration, data preparation, supervised and unsupervised learning methods (including models, patterns, scoring functions, optimization, and search), performance tests, and model evaluation. Particular emphasis will be placed on learning methods and their appropriate use.

Data Science in the Open (for Open Source Bridge 2011)

Data Science promises to transform ubiquitous and cheap data into insights with the potential for great social, scientific and personal value. However, while many of us have the needed hacking skills and domain knowledge, we might not have a strong background in the agglomeration of formal disciplines that underpin data science methods. I will provide a lightning tour of high level theory, concepts, and tools to extract knowledge and value from data. These are deep and wide subjects, so emphasis will be placed on the high level structures of data analysis problems that point to good solutions.

Computing Spaces (Private Google Project SiteDeprecated

This monograph presents an overview of research on methodology, and argues for an approach unified under category theory. Briefly, it is argued that the computational power of our methods, along with the exact structural features (algebraic, topological, etc.) of the problem and the solution space determine which methods are appropriate in terms of reliability and efficiency. This characterization is, in turn, embedded into category theoretic schemas that aid in classifying learning problems by structures that bridge results across several disciplines (empirical process theory, learning theory, domain theory, and recursion theory).

Past Academic Work

These papers do not necessarily reflect my current views.


Ockham’s Razor in Russell’s Philosophy

The concern for simplicity is a unifying theme in much of Bertrand Russell’s philosophical works; particularly in his theory of definite descriptions, logical atomism and neutral monism. The latter two theories’ connection with simplicity-considerations will be briefly mentioned, while special attention will be given to the resolution of the three central puzzles in Russell’s ‘On Denoting’. Last, Russell’s justifications for the use of Ockham’s razor will be considered.

How Real are Real Patterns?

Propositional attitudes are, Dennett maintains, here to stay, contrary to the arguments of eliminative materialists. Furthermore, they are not part of “the furniture of the world” as realists maintain, but neither are they mere convenience as instrumentalist see them. Rather, they are real patterns discernable from the intentional stance. What is a stance? What is the intentional stance, in particular? What constitutes a real pattern? Do these notions sufficiently distinguish Dennett’s position from others? How real are real patterns and is their reality problematic?


Steve Austin Versus the Symbol Grounding Problem (cowritten with Dr. Scott Burgess) In Proc. Selected Papers from the Computers and Philosophy Conference (CAP2003), Canberra, Australia. Conferences in Research and Practice in Information Technology, 37. Weckert, J. and Al-Saggaf, Y., Eds., ACS. 21-25.

Harnad (1994) identifies the symbol grounding problem as central to his distinction between cognition and computation. To Harnad computation is merely the systematically interpretable manipulation of symbols, while cognition requires that these symbols have intrinsic meaning that is acquired through transducers that mediate between a cogitator and the environment. We present a careful analysis of the role of these transducers through the misadventures of Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man. Putting Steve through a series of scenarios allows us to analyze what role transducers play in cognition.


Evolutionary Psychology: Objections and Replies

Evolutionary psychology is the study of human cognitive structures and the resultant behaviors in the light of evolutionary theory. The methodology, results and very existence of evolutionary psychology have been objected to on both ethical and scientific grounds. This essay attempts to address some of the most important objections to evolutionary psychology and show them to be either of legitimate concern or simply mistaken. No objections are found to be defeaters for evolutionary psychology.