Magic around New Year’s Eve

This magical time of the year, Simon’s craziest, most daring dreams come true! First, his guru from the New York University Daniel Shiffman sends Simon his book and the words he writes there are the most beautiful words anyone has ever told him. Then, on the last day of the awesome year 2017, Simon’s other hero, the glamorous knight of AI Siraj Raval materialises in our living room, directly from YouTube! Happy New Year full of miracles and discoveries everyone!

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Daniel Shiffman’s book “The Nature of Code” that Simon had already largely read online and now also reads before bed. It also comforted him recently when he was in pain, he cuddled up of the sofa with this big friendly tome on his lap.

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Daniel Shiffman signed the book for Simon:

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Siraj Raval stepped out of the YouTube screen straight into our Antwerp apartment on December 31. Simon has been following Siraj’s channel for months, learning about the types of neural networks and the math behind machine learning. It is thanks to Siraj’s explanations that Simon has been able to build his first neural nets :

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Simon builds his own RiveScript Editor

Simon has been working on a RiveScript Editor for creating chat bots. RiveScript is a markup language, that gives chat bots the ability to respond to messages from humans using natural human language. This project will involve server side programming, which means that Simon will have to go through the whole process of hosting it on Heroku once he’s finished. So far, he decided to give himself a break in the middle of programming the syntax highlighting, which he found a little too much boring work, so not sure whether the editor will ever be published. In any case, Simon has got quite far and the interface looks good.

Simon has already built three chat bots using RiveScript online editor and Atom.

 

Analysis and generation of text-based data. What else to do on vacation?

During the vacation, Simon worked on several programming projects playing with language and grammar, from Daniel Shiffman’s Programming from A to Z course at New York University. Those included creating a new context free grammar sentence generator, using a markov chain in a Google form, creating a diastic machine with JQuery and making a regular expressions tester in JavaScript.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another great date

imageimageimageimageWe are growing fond of our new friends who, just like us, have moved from The Netherlands to Belgium to homeschool their kids. It’s for the first time ever that Steven and I don’t feel like we have to explain ourselves or our unconditional respect for our children’s individual choices, the freedom that we raise them in or their giftedness.

 

Japanese Project

imageSimon has this recurring interest in Japanese, although he is not officially learning it. It began with him learning the whole Katakana alfabet at age 4, all by himself and in just a few days. Ever since then he’s got his relapses. Last Friday he all of a sudden came up with a project to make Japanese number posters. He designed them himself, looking up the “spelling” in both Katakana and Hiragana (it was a lot of work looking for the modified characters).