Saturday, November 24, 2018

Thanksgiving Hunger

I was hungry. I came to NYC for Thanksgiving. I went for a walk and found a hole in the wall Japanese curry place which reminded me that good food can be cheap. Then I had a drink in a basement near a stone wall, 3 fireplaces and drinks served by folks with indeterminate life trajectories. Finally, I saw a $20 offoffbroadway work with super acting, sitting with a dozen old souls, the kind of place where the actor/writer/lead sets up the wine sourced by a family member vintner in the audience before the show begins. Also got glasses, met artists, still read nytimes and fomented thoughts in folks.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

ML Humor

I got an Uber driver with 3 rides total in his profile. I realized I am the target of a MAB algorithm. 

Kids, CA

After a looong week, I came home, made myself some tea, looked around with no particular focus. I saw large green mangos on the counter. Still unfocused, I checked to see if they were organic, they were. I was about to put them away when my daughter, walking past me, said, "We bought them because they are grown in CA." That perked me up, and I remembered the story of Keitt mangos, the tropical fruit groomed in Florida and grown organically in CA, available in early Fall, instantly taking me from the fall shade of Mercer Island to the shadows of a mango tree on a sunny day in south India.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Amazon Scholars Program

Amazon has an interesting way to have scholars  (professors, experts) work flexibly with Amazon. Check with the program here. Obviously online advertising is of great interest too, including ML/AI, game theory, optimization, etc. 


Saturday, August 11, 2018

Amazon Research Awards

Amazon has a program for research awards. Check out the process. The focus areas include online advertising for the first time and this should be interesting to researchers in mechanism design, optimization, game theory and multiagent systems, among other things. There is also a lot of interest in machine learning methods in general, and theory in the context of these focus areas. The deadline is Sept 15, 2018. Looking forward to submissions. 


Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Dear Data

People who work with data often don't innovate on presenting it.  Tufte's classic books presented new options for a generation, but maybe dated. I like a recent book called "Dear Data". As authors say, "For our project Dear Data, each week throughout a year we collected and measured different types of personal data relating to our lives and then visualized it as a drawing on a postcard which we then sent as a type of “slow data” transmission of our personalities and our days to the other person." Beautifully communicative visualizations, acquired by MoMA

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Walk NY Pride.

I walked through the sixth avenue, following the pride parade, with two ambient kids. I got a "Go Dad!" cheer from a tired group of paraders.

I picked up a pie of Joe's Pizza and walked home. An old man walking the opposite way said, "Hand over Joe's and we will call it a trade," as a way of negotiating a passage across a tight sidewalk spot on the west village. 

I am glad strangers in NY still find a  way to create moments. 

Some Uber Humor

Got into a Uber car, shiny and Prius.
Driver said, "Buckle up, it is the law."
Few minutes into the ride, honks and near-misses,
and I said,  "Also, a good idea."

Kearns in News

Morgan Stanley hires Michael Kearns as their AI expert and here is their announcement.

As an aside, financial institutions are/have been  dipping into the ML/AI pool. I am curious to see what the battle of the GAN armies from different finance players (for modeling risks, strategies, trading) produces as the eventual market. 


Saturday, May 26, 2018

Children's Books

Here are two collaborative books:

- The Redwood Tree and Its Friends, and
- Left and Right.

These books are a collaboration of Eira with her parents, written when she was four years old.

The Redwood Tree and Its Friends was inspired by the time when Eira lived in a redwood forest.  She explores friendships between a growing redwood tree and other creatures.  The talented NY-based artist Alexis Kandra has brought the story to life through animals situated in abstract grids.

In the Left and Right book, Eira and her dad explore the dialogue between the left and right parts of one's body during their outdoor play activities. A talented artist from Prague - Patrik Antczak -- literally drew paper illustrations with scissors and arranged the cuts into paper sculptures for this book.
EmmEmm Publishing believes that the child will grow with collaborative books while books and stories will grow with the child. Also, children’s books deserve great art, so these projects involve painters, sculptors, installation artists, performers, and  others.  If you are inspired,  support the books and the artists: share the books with friends and libraries.

Books are available at and
Left and Right
The Redwood Tree and Its Friends

Optimization notes

  • Looking through lecture notes on convex optimization by Nisheeth Vishnoi. 
  • Celebration of Vijay Vazirani's 60th birthday, schedule looks great.
  • The winners of the 2018 ACM SIGecom Test of Time Award are: 
    • Varian, Hal R. "Position auctions." international Journal of industrial Organization 25.6 (2007): 1163-1178. 
    • Edelman, Benjamin, Michael Ostrovsky, and Michael Schwarz. "Internet advertising and the generalized second-price auction: Selling billions of dollars worth of keywords." American economic review 97.1 (2007): 242-259. 
    • Aggarwal, Gagan, Ashish Goel, and Rajeev Motwani. "Truthful auctions for pricing search keywords." Proceedings of the 7th ACM conference on Electronic commerce. ACM, 2006.