Friday, January 22, 2016

Artificial Intelligence Simplified: Understanding Basic Concepts

I am officially a published author!

I co-authored a book called Artificial Intelligence Simplified: Understanding Basic Concepts.  My expertise is not in AI, but I am skilled at bringing technical content to more general audiences.  So my co-author Binto George wrote the text, and I helped transform it into an informal, tutorial-style overview of the basics.

The book grew from what was originally going to be a chapter in a larger volume that touches on many different areas of computer science.  Our philosophy was that learning in context was more effective, so each chapter was going to have its own motivating question.  For example, in my first chapter on data representation (which will likely make it into a book of its own), my question was "How did photography go digital?"  The AI chapter's context was healthcare, which we decided to stick with in the expanded stand-alone book version.  The result is an introductory book that discusses the main ideas of the field in the context of a few problems found in healthcare, such as scheduling surgeries for an operating room.

Here's some info from the back cover of the book.  Go check it out on Amazon (Canada, US).  There's a cheaper student version floating around as well.
Artificial Intelligence concepts explained using real-life examples. No complicated math or jargon.  
Have you ever wondered what Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is all about? Let us guide you through the key concepts of AI with our friendly, tutorial-style explanations. We use everyday language and concrete examples in the context of healthcare to ensure things don’t get too abstract. Whether you’re a complete beginner who’s curious about AI, a student who’s intimidated by the technical nature of traditional textbooks, or even a robotics enthusiast who just wants to get started with AI, this book is for you.

Monday, January 11, 2016

PhD: On Hold

I've sent in the forms.  I've updated my committee.  The deed is done.

My PhD is on hold.

Pause / Rafa Puerta

More officially, I am deregistering from the program in good standing.  I am giving myself max one year to reevaluate, but my intention is to eventually reapply and finish my thesis.  I don't need the degree right now, which is why I feel ok putting it on hold, but I do want it in hand eventually to open some doors in the future.

I have been on leave from the program since September 2015.  It seems that I could get another semester of leave, but I don't think it will be enough.  There's an exciting new education project at work.  I unsurprisingly found my way to it, and even have the opportunity to lead it.  It's on the ambitious side, so I want to make sure I can focus all my attention on its success.  Worrying about my thesis seems like a distraction for now.

All I need to do is finish my project and write my thesis.  ("All.")  I've completed coursework, comprehensive exams, and even the thesis proposal.  I do have a lot of development and experimentation work to do, but once that's done, I shouldn't have that tough of a time writing the dissertation.  I like my project and want to see it through.  It just doesn't have to be right now.