Tomorrow at 4PM Pacific, we’re holding an Office Hour for anyone interested to join in and talk about the Cortical Learning Algorithms, as implemented by Numenta within NuPIC. Jeff Hawkins and Numenta VP of Engineering Subutai Ahmad will be at this event to go through the CLA Quiz, a serious of challenging questions about how NuPIC algorithms work. These questions were originally created for new employees and interns to research in order to better understand the CLA. Tomorrow, we’re going to be asking you!
If you’re interested in taking part, or just joining in to listen, please use your Google account and request an RSVP to our Office Hour. We’ll be happy to invite you. If you can’t make it, the video will be posted on YouTube.
These questions a bit over your head? Looking for a primer on these technologies before you attend? Here are some resources:
Open Source Community Flag-Bearer
Last weekend’s hackathon was a lot of fun. Thanks to everyone for coming out. We gave several educational presentations and held some working sessions. The participation from the attendees was outstanding.
Thanks again to Tagged, who generously donated some of their workspace to us for the event. The Tagged offices are very cool, and in a great part of San Francisco.
We had over 50 people attend the hackathon from across the United States and Europe, most of whom stuck around for the demos after the 30-hour hack period. In all, we had 7 impressive demos! Only a couple were natural language processing hacks, but that’s okay. It was great to see NuPIC users making their ideas a reality in whichever direction they chose to apply it.
Hackathon attendees watching Subutai Ahmad's CLA Deep Dive presentation.
"It was easily the best hackathon I have attended this year."
"There was fantastic energy in the room, something that only reinforced my sense that Numenta is on to something really big."
"Very informative and spiked my interest in machine learning and NuPIC."
"Great event, convinced to jump in and start experimenting. Numenta seems to be going in the right direction."
"Great experience. Intelligent people, insightful talks. I was totally new to NuPIC and although I didn't complete a project, I feel like I've learned a lot about the technology and the whole approach."
"I think we had a nice mix of people at the event, e.g. from those focused on neuroscience biological aspects, to those just getting their feet wet, a few hackers applying NuPIC to some applications, and the great staff. Great new introductions, good conversations and informational sessions. Definitely an event worth attending!"
We tried to record everything we could, which included all the sessions (minus one because of a technical glitch). My apologies for the poor audio and video in some of these. We had a wireless microphone failure because of unanticipated RF interference. We attempted to live-stream everything on YouTube via Google Hangout, which meant we sacrificed quality. For future hackathons, I plan to have better tools in place.
Jeff and I got the event rolling. This includes protocol information, thank-yous, and guidance for hackers.
I’d done some NLP work before the hackathon in order to help others get started doing some work with NuPIC, NLP, and especially the CEPT API for word SDRs. In this presentation, I present some of the initial progress I made.
Subutai Ahmad, Grok/Numenta VP of Engineering, detailed some aspects of the CLA. He discussed an interesting property of SDR’s affecting temporal pooling and hierarchies. The interactive session included a lot of Q&A
Most of the changes on our senses are due, wholly or in part, to our own actions. Therefore, the neocortex learns a sensory-motor model of the world. In this talk, Jeff discussed some of what we know about how the neocortex generates behavior and how we might construct a simple sensory-motor system based on the Cortical Learning Algorithm. It is a good starting point for anyone wanting to add motor output to the CLA.
This was an informal question and answer session between some hackathon attendees and Jeff and Subutai.
Francisco Webber talked about his service that provides text comparison and association services, as well as SDRs for English words. He described in great detail how these SDRs are created, and talked about how they are being used by Phase 6 in their effort to apply this technology to better English education opportunities.
In addition to the full video of all our hackathon demonstrations, I’ve broken out each hack below with further information about the participants and source code.
Matt compiled and ran NuPIC on a Raspberry Pi, and wired up some wheels, a controller, and light-sensitive sensors to help drive it. While he programmed it to continuously steer towards the brightest light source, he used NuPIC's anomaly scores of the light input from right and left to stop the vehicle when it wandered into unexpected territory.
Ari compiled NuPIC into ARM 7, ran it on a Chromebook, and talked about using NuPIC to predict the signal strength of public wifi access points.
This hack intends to give the CLA an ability to evaluate hypothetical input. Imagine that you want to assess (predict) what the consequences of some action (input) would be. You may have a set of possible inputs (as alternatives), and want to evaluate which would lead to the best (predicted) outcome. The demonstration will include mice, a maze, and some cheese.
Continuing with the NLP project I introduced in the Kickoff presentation, I created bitmap images of the word SDRs predicted by the NuPIC temporal pooler and compared them to the words the CEPT API associated them with.
This team taught the CLA to learn to control a quadcopter. Their objective was to pilot the quadcopter by controlling its vertical speed to fly to a desired altitude and hover there. The supervised learning approach involved having the CLA watch an expert flyer and learn those sequences, and use its prediction of those sequences to directly control the copter in the face of noise.
Ian showed a very enlightening visualization of a live spatial pooler being fed parts of an image, one piece at a time. His hack displayed the cellular activation given different SP settings, as well as visualization of the column permanences.
Subutai used the word SDR association framework defined in nupic_nlp to associate three word phrases, teaching it sentences like "elephants eat leaves", "dogs like sleep", and "cows eat grass". After some training, Subutai asks NuPIC, "What does the fox eat?" Find out the answer by watching the video!
Lastly, our CEO and Chairman of the Grok/Numenta Board, Donna Dubinsky, said a few inspirational words at the end of the hackathon. Thanks, Donna!
This was a really fun event to plan, and it emphasizes what a great community we have with NuPIC. Thank you everyone, for helping make this open source project what it is today. I am looking forward to planning our next hackathon this Spring!
YouTube channel and Flickr page.
Open Source Community Flag-Bearer
At OSCON 2013 this past July, the Numenta team had the opportunity to give two presentations about cortical learning algorithms and NuPIC. Jeff Hawkins gave a short keynote talk entitled On Open Intelligence, which created a decent amount of conversation. OSCON has provided a great video of Jeff's keynote. Here are some twitter reactions to Jeff’s talk:
Just listened to Jeff Hawkins talk about neuroscience. Keynotes at @oscon are always so awesome.— Rich Bowen (@rbowen) July 24, 2013
First speaker Jeff Hawkins is one of my heroes! Author of “On Intelligence” #OSCON (also Palm Pilot pioneer)— Morris Mojo Jones (@mojo_la) July 24, 2013
Very rarely have I seen a room of geeks as captivated as they are by this talk from Jeff Hawkins #oscon— paris b-a (@parisba) July 24, 2013
Jeff Hawkins/NuPIC and Dancing Robots are tops for #OSCON keynotes this year. All were good, those were fascinating— Dave Mcallister (@dwmcallister) July 24, 2013
There was a lot of interest in the brain-inspired technology behind NuPIC, as depicted in this blog post:
The most interesting keynote, though, was from Numenta. … The science is beyond me, but the demo and keynote was great, and you can (should) watch it on YouTube. I went to their panel later, and they recommended Jeff’s book On Intelligence as a primer for those interested. There are code samples (in Python!) with the NuPIC library up on their github account.
After the session, the Q/A was running long, so we stayed around and answered questions in the hallway for another 30 minutes. As portrayed in an attendee’s blog post, “the line to talk to Jeff and his engineers afterward was 7 people deep at least.”
We also had the opportunity to hold a Birds of a Feather (BOF) session, which drew around 30 people and lasted for over 90 minutes. Although I hadn’t thought of recording this session, a persistent community member (you know who you are) prodded me into an ad-hoc A/V session, and I managed to get a somewhat-digestible video online. Sorry for the awful audio, but this was my first ad-hoc live-streaming experience. I promise, it will be better next time!
All-in-all, OSCON was great fun and a wonderful way to spread the word about NuPIC and our open source community. We even got a chance to meet a few friends from our mailing list who lived in the Portland area. Thanks to everyone who made it to the BOF sessions and showed interested in our technology.
Open Source Community Flag-Bearer