Hi everyone, it’s time for an update.
As you can tell from the time it has been since my last update I have been settling here very well and have a nice time. Everything works out fine. I have a new sport which I really enjoy due to the challenge in it and the way there is left for me to go. Of course I’m talking about climbing.
I just came back from the climbing wall and had a debut today. On the advice from the other climbers I have also bought a harness to be able to go vertical, that mean climbing further up than the 0-2 meter you’re above the ground when bouldering (mostly I boulder 20-30 cm above the ground). And not just that it was the first time I climbed vertically on this wall, but also I climbed with a methods which is called “lead-climbing”, from the function the climber has when a group wants to get up a rock: Since there is no rope hanging down from the top, the climber has to apply save points on his way up and click in there. In the case of the climbing wall the save points are already applied and you have to click your rope in as you get further up. That also means that your last save point is mostly below you all the time and you feel like you’re not secured at all. Even worse, the rope pulls due to it’s weight and as you get up your hands get tired. Clearly the scariest part is when you have to pull the rope up to click into the next save point while you feel your other hand sliding from the hold. And the carabiners at the save points are hanging loose and turning all the time while you desperately and in panic try to click in. So it was intense what it has been an amazing experience and I even tried a little overhang! So I’m pretty much hooked!

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This week I handed in my first homework and I enjoyed working on it. It was challenging as the questions were very open and the topic complex. That’s one of the reasons why I looked forward to study here. Since I’m not involved in all kinds of things I have the time to do things properly and I think I maybe overdid it this time with a report on 19 pages. It will be interesting to see what the teacher thinks of it, I’m so used to that when I’m digging deep into something that I’m not able to make my point clear to others (as happened in my “Cognitive Modelling” course last semester where I got a C with the comment “we don’t really know how to grade you. You put a lot of thoughts and work in it, but we have trouble to understand it”.

Since I’m working really much with artificial intelligence and machine learning now, I have been walking around with some thoughts. To get a new perspective on it I moved out and found this lovely spot and view:

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My thoughts are on how to teach computers the things we know and how to understand natural language. This is a great chance to combine all my interests of computer science, psychology (especially developmental psychology), medicine, mathematics and cognitive science.
How does our brain understand the world? How do we learn and how much can be modelled. When a child is born it doesn’t know much about the world. It can’t control it’s body and especially limbs. It can’t even see clearly. Also the concept of gravity is learned during it’s development. When an object is dropped it falls in a certain direction. And it does that EACH time you drop it. So the child learns much through trial and error. How to model the same process to a computer? It’s like teaching a paraplegic child which is raised in a lightless and sound isolated room, with only the voice of a teacher (or a team of teachers) trying to explain the world to it. What would the child experience when it is grown up and released to the real world (and not paraplegic anymore 😉 ). Would it be able to handle it? Would it come out and say: “Yes, that’s exactly how I have imagined it!”? I guess the answer is very obvious, because if we where able to do that, we would be able to tell blind people what colors are and how the effect us. And we would be able to tell the deaf what a piece of music is like.
How to compensate for the missing senses, since text-information is not enough to understand something naturally.

Finally I have been working on a bigger project which I will be able to announce here in a few days. So stay tuned!

P.S. We had some heavy rain in the weekend. This is normally a place where you can cross the little stream on stones. You can tell where the stones are 🙂

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