Confessions of a researchaholic

October 31, 2020

Epistemic dependence

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:16 am
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I found this article a nice read, which highlights the much faster growth of our collective knowledge (accelerated by computers and algorithms) than our individual brain capacities (constrained by biology and evolution). Each one of us knows a shrinking slice of the world, and this has profound implications on our society and civilization.

One, as mentioned in the article, is the increasing need of collaboration among researchers, especially for experimental science. (At this moment of writing, it is still feasible to single author a computer science paper.)
Even though the numbers of co-authors of my papers have not increased too much, I do find it increasingly harder to know exactly what is going on in every aspect of a project, notably detailed implementations and user studies.

Another timely topic is about politics.
The policies can become so complex that nobody really understands what is going on.
Thus, each voter knows only a tiny aspect of each political topic or candidate, and thus can form drastically different opinions from one another. This can be a scientific factor driving political polarization, even without other factors like social media. Fortunately, Monte Carlo sampling indicates that with enough (sufficiently independent) samples, the aggregate estimation can still be robust (low bias/variance).
For example, the US essentially has 100+ million votes for the presidency, which should give us confidence on the outcome, no matter how ridiculous it may look.

October 26, 2020

Crow with acorns

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 10:05 pm
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I used to think the acorns were dropped on the roof by the squirrels, until this afternoon when I spotted these crows, which I didn’t manage to photograph on spot but drew one later based on visual memory and online photos.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CG1U1afnQvU/

Research goal post

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:09 am
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In my personal experience, there are two ways to guide a research project: solving a specific problem with whatever solutions that work the best (based on a variety of criteria such as quality, speed, cost, etc.), and devising a novel idea that can span different problems, domains, and applications.

The problem-oriented approach happens more in engineering (which aims to solve practical problems) while the idea-oriented approach happens more in science (especially more theoretical fields like math which aim to formulate fundamental ideas behind a plethora of phenomena).
Solving a specific problem provides a clear goal and reduces the tendency to derail, while aiming for ideas is more likely to work after one has already worked on related problems so as to condense the experiences into the core forms.

October 25, 2020

Sofa portraits

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:30 pm
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Practice quick sketches of reasonably captive subjects.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CGyJgqrn7NG/
https://www.instagram.com/p/CGyvy5QHPvl/

October 23, 2020

Lemons on a tree

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:02 pm
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I didn’t notice, until today, this lemon tree near where I have lived for almost 20 years.
https://www.instagram.com/p/CGtwTO4H7y-/

October 21, 2020

What can be quantified can also be automated

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:00 am
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If the productivity of certain types of works can be quantified, it can also be optimized and thus automated.

Instead of performance evaluation, such measures are better used for identifying repetitive tasks potential for automation.

To achieve human-level intelligence, we probably need an AI framework very different from existing rule-based (e.g., Minsky) and data-driven (e.g., current ML) approaches.

October 18, 2020

Little painter

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 8:06 pm
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I drew this fun exercise with reference photo(s).

I found FB an excellent venue for virtual drawing archive: unlimited storage, albums for organization, “memories” for reminding/checking progress, social sharing (or peer pressure, depending on how you look at it) for motivation, and no known privacy issue (how to target ads based on drawings, aside from generic Adobe CC subscription?).

October 16, 2020

Pineapple

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 8:18 pm
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These are experiments with the charcoal brushes in Fresco.

View this post on Instagram

Pineapple – charcoal #adobefresco

A post shared by Kublai (@kub1ai) on

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Pineapple head – charcoal #adobefresco

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October 14, 2020

Tree remains

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 8:22 pm
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I saw a newly chopped-down tree on Monday evening, came back this evening only to see its remains already cleaned away, and drew from visual memory/impression.
Interestingly, I can draw this one faster and better from memory than onsite, probably due to the mental abstraction already took place.

October 13, 2020

6 am dream

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 8:59 pm
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I remembered this dream after waking up around 6 am, but the visual memory already faded when I tried to draw it in the evening.

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