Learning to data crunch – My foray in Machine Learning

Those who know me well would have known that I had taken a break from my job for my pregnancy and am now enjoying my son’s company.   But my hands itched to code and to create. I have been fleshing out my pet project and experimenting in crawling and natural langauge processing.  The project is highly ambitious and may take several man years to materialize. Some of the side projects were good enough to give back to the community like decruft . Yet, most of them are still works in progress, and the more I do, the more I learn.

Working on the project helped me identify areas to improve my knowledge in.  So when ‘Artificial Intelligence’ and ‘Machine Learning’ were offered as online courses I jumped at the chance to take them.  Then I did not have any clear notion on what would be taught in machine learning except that it would turn out to be useful to me. Now, after the classes, it feels like whole new worlds have been thrown open to me.  Now it is up to me take the baby steps. I have decided to explore the world of machine learning.  The magic of  emerging patterns where none seemed to exist. Creating crystal balls to predict what that next input might do.  Swishing wands that coax meaning out of random numbers.

As those who had taken the machine learning classes would know, they were very lucid and had lots of quizes and exercises.  On the other hand, the programming exercises had lots of hand holding.  It was very convenient then, when I was constrained in time, but it has its disadvantages.  The best way to understand anything intimately is for you to build it up yourself, from the ground up.  With that in mind, I’m getting my hands dirty solving my first machine learning problem.  I have decided on blogging all my exercises as this would help me get feedback easily from community and also track my progress over time.  It would be apparent to you that this is not the most updated blog around.  Hopefully it would improve in the months to come.  So without more ado, lets move on to the next post to see the first challenge that I have set for myself.

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