Recent posts

A Times Higher Education piece making the rounds last week found that most published philosophy papers are never cited. More exactly, of the studied philosophy papers published in 2012, more than half had no citations indexed in Web of Science five years later. At Daily Nous, the discussion of that finding turned up some interesting follow-up questions and findings. In particular, Brian Weatherson found quite different figures for papers published in prestigious philosophy journals.... Read more

In this post we’ll improve our training algorithm from the previous post. When we’re done we’ll be able to achieve 98% precision on the MNIST data set, after just 9 epochs of training—which only takes about 30 seconds to run on my laptop. For comparison, last time we only achieved 92% precision after 2,000 epochs of training, which took over an hour! The main driver in this improvement is just switching from batch gradient descent to mini-batch gradient descent.... Read more

In this post we’re going to build a neural network from scratch. We’ll train it to recognize hand-written digits, using the famous MNIST data set. We’ll use just basic Python with NumPy to build our network (no high-level stuff like Keras or TensorFlow). We will dip into scikit-learn, but only to get the MNIST data and to assess our model once its built. We’ll start with the simplest possible “network”: a single node that recognizes just the digit 0.... Read more

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I'm an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto. I research uncertainty in human reasoning. I also indulge in some programming and related nerdery.