Fall 2016 Computer Science 458: 11/14/2016



  • Per piazza posting, Jieung Kim office hours: Monday and Wednesdays, 5:30 pm to 7:30pm. AKW 311.

    Upcoming Speakers

  • Wednesday November 16th: David Swensen, Yale Investment Office. Reading: Yale Endowment 2015 Reading: Pioneering Portfolio Management, Chapter 3: Investment and Spending Goals
    Dinner guests:
      Fed Panfilov
      Pauli Xu
      Stephanie Hickman
      Davey Proctor
      Kenneth Seals-Nutt
      Chris Gunther (plus one)

    Today's Guest Speaker:Alborz Geramifard, Research Scientist, Amazon Alexa


    Alborz Geramifard is currently a senior research scientist and manager at Amazon leading the Boston branch of Alexa's conversational AI. Before joining Amazon, he was a postdoctoral associate at MIT's Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems. Alborz received his PhD from MIT working with Jonathan How and Nicholas Roy on representation learning and safe exploration in large scale sensitive sequential decision-making problems in 2012. He finished his MSc at University of Alberta under the supervision of Richard Sutton and Michael Bowling in 2008, where he worked on data efficient online reinforcement learning techniques. His research interests lie at machine learning with the focus on reinforcement learning, natural language understanding, planning, and brain and cognitive sciences. Alborz was the recipient of the NSERC postgraduate scholarships 2010-2012 program.

    Echo is high performance fully voice controlled wireless speaker created by Amazon that is designed for the home. It is very convenient, always plugged in and ready to use. The technology behind Echo lives on device as well as in the cloud and represents some of the best in Natural Language Processing (NLP) technologies today. Echo is extensible and supports a broad range of functionalities out-of-the-box, such as music, wikipedia, to-do and shopping lists, sports and weather information, generic question answering and more. It features high performance keyword spotting, automatic speech recognition, natural language understanding, question answering and text-to-speech. This talk provides an overview of speech and natural language processing activities at Amazon around Echo and describe some of the core technologies and research challenges our teams are facing.
    Dinner guests:
      Fed Panfilov
      Pauli Xu
      Kenneth Seals-Nutt
      Bhavani Ananthabhotla

    Alborz's cheat sheet for acing the Amazon machine learning interview.

    Final Project: Additional Specifications

  • Final projects are due the last day of reading period: Thursday December 15th.
  • Be prepared to give a brief presentation of your project to the class after Thanksgiving break. It should be 5-10 minutes, and describe what you intend to do. If you have already implemented something, all the better.

  • Post project proposal to class*v2 under assignments Once you get approval, you may commence work. Submit your proposal this week. Leave time for an iterative review process.

  • Final Project: Criteria

    In no particular order:


  • Self-driving Cars: an introduction
  • Cognitive Models of Decision Making: VOTE
  • A Realistic Model of Rationality (More readable PDF version of above.)
  • Running VOTE on the zoo
  • An Intentional Arithmetic for Qualitative Decision Making
  • Affect
  • human.java (Java human class with emotions)

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