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Machine Learning: 5 examples of what it is and why you should care

Machine learning examples to make you think

Johnny #5 loves machine learning

Hello folks, and welcome to another awe inspiring article from refactorthis.net .  This article is one that I'm very excited to present.  I'm sure you've guessed by now that the topic of this post is Machine learning.   If you don't know what machine learning is or don't care, I ask you to take a look at the fascinating examples that I've presented in this article.  You just may get inspired.  

Background

I'm a .NET developer and I have experience working in a myriad of different business domains.  My love affair with machine learning was brought about while I was working for an e-commerce website.  My boss had asked me to look into a new API that Google had released in beta at the time that would allow you to provide data about your customers and it would suggest products based on their shopping data.  That API is called Google prediction and you can read about the Google prediction API here. 

It's been a couple of years since I was introduced to this technology and since that time I've contemplated how machine learning algorithms work and what possibilities they could unlock with the right amount of data and creativity.

Since then I've done a lot of reading, and planning on ways that I can collect data to use in my journey to learn as much as I can about this new frontier that we as software developers are facing.  I was fortunate enough become the first accepted team member of the open source project called NND, or Neural Network Designer by Bragisoft.  Check back soon for an article dedicated to this wonderful open source project on machine learning and neural networks.

Proceed with caution

Let it be known, however, that machine learning algorithms are not for the faint of heart.  This is a very complex array of concepts and I don't plan to  try to explain them in this article.  What I will do is give a brief, simple introduction to a few of the prevalent topics that one would need to research in order to implement machine learning algorithms.  The main purpose of this article is to provide some wonderful youtube videos that provide insight into the possibilities of machine learning and it's practical applications.  Some of the videos just may blow your mind!

So without further ado, let's bring forth the videos!

A glimpse at the future to whet your appetite 

This first video is full of commentary and stunning examples of robots that lack brains but are capable of learning by way of a design that mimics a central nervous system.  Although the video depicts the future as something to be worried about, it's still a great, non technical introduction to whet your appetite and make way for the other more specific videos that are focused on simulations and applications of machine learning.

Watch a simulation of robots that learn to drive

In this video, we see a software demonstration of animated robots that start with no knowledge of a driving course.  Watch what happens as the simulation is processed repeatedly, allowing the robots to learn the course with each generation.  Buckle up!

Hey Darwin, what do you think of this?

This next video is progressively more complex, however, the simulation clearly shows how a collection of bots act as they evolve.  The bots  can attack each other with the intent of killing and eating each other to sustain life.  They also reproduce to make baby bots.  Take a look at this awesome example of machine learning..

Virtual Darwinism take two

This next video is another representation of virtual evolution by machine learning techniques.  Watch block like organisms learn to fight each other over a virtual cube that represents a block of food.  

Machine learning for pattern matching and recognition

This video shows an application that will render CAPTCHA verification methods obsolete.  I have a decent amount of experience working with OCR engines however, this is the most accurate recognition I've ever seen.

Show and tell

This concludes my article on machine learning examples.  I hope you enjoyed the article and that it has peaked your interest in machine learning.  Do you have a favorite video or application that demonstrates machine learning, neural networks, prediction algorithms, pattern matching or some other related technology?  If so, we'd love to hear about it so please leave a comment with a link.

Thanks for reading,

Buddy James

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Comments (2) -

karz
karz
2/20/2013 9:30:21 AM #

Thanks for sharing the great article James.
Hope we can get more articles about this topic.
Cheers...

Buddy James
Buddy James
2/25/2013 7:16:53 PM #

I am glad you found it interesting.  I plan to write a lot more on the subject.

Thanks for reading!

Buddy

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About the author

My name is Buddy James.  I'm a Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer from the Nashville, TN area.  I'm a Software Engineer, an author, a blogger (http://www.refactorthis.net), a mentor, a thought leader, a technologist, a data scientist, and a husband.  I enjoy working with design patterns, data mining, c#, WPF, Silverlight, WinRT, XAML, ASP.NET, python, CouchDB, RavenDB, Hadoop, Android(MonoDroid), iOS (MonoTouch), and Machine Learning. I love technology and I love to develop software, collect data, analyze the data, and learn from the data.  When I'm not coding,  I'm determined to make a difference in the world by using data and machine learning techniques. (follow me at @budbjames).  

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