machine learning

A mind-boggling analogy between machine learning and quantum physics

A recent paper published in PNAS titled “The Fermi-Dirac distribution provides a calibrated probabilistic output for binary classifiers” caught my attention, because it describes a surprising relationship between machine learning and quantum physics. In fact, surprising is an understatement. Mind-boggling is more like it. According to the analogy developed by the authors, positive samples in binary classification problems are like… fermions?! What?! I decided that I should try to understand the gist of this paper, at least to the extent that I can.
Read more

Gradient descent on a non-Euclidean surface

Is the salesman travelling on foot or on an airplane? This article describes an experiment to develop a version of the elastic net algorithm that works on spherical surfaces. I needed it for a computational neuroscience problem, but for those who are mainly interested in machine learning, it also serves a simple and intuitive demonstration of using gradient descent on non-Euclidian surfaces. The Tensorflow source code is available on GitHub. I also made a youtube video showing the algorithm in action.
Read more