Friday, October 19, 2012

Neural Networks, Coursera, and Common Lisp

There is a course offered on machine learning using artificial neural networks offered at Coursera this "semester".  I am taking it and it is my first class I have taken with Coursera.  I have forgotten how nice it is to learn a new subject.

Besides the fact that artificial neural networks have always interested me, one of the reasons I decided to take this class is to become somewhat fluent in Python, which for some reason I thought would be one of the supported languages.  Turns out it isn't, but no matter.  Python is popular enough that someone will always port to Python.

I figure I might as well do the same for Common Lisp.  This is very late for the first assignment, and I make no promises that it will be more timely in the future.  I decided not to do a line by line porting of the Octave or Python code to Lisp because, well that's just not how we Lispers do things.  It is cleaner in its current form, but harder to prove correct at a glance.  Also, I will be using some packages that I have been working on but are not officially released, such as my zgnuplot library.  I have been using this plotting library with in-house code for a long time, but it is still pretty rough around the edges and the interface is still in flux (hopefully headed towards something a bit better).  But whatever, it's out there, feel free to do what you will with it.

Note to people that might fork this, the rules on Coursera (well, at least this course) is that you shouldn't post solutions.  So don't work off this repo, plug your solution into it, and publish it online.  You should probably work in a private branch that you don't publish to Github.

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