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Me: Please eat all of your apple before you leave the table.

DS: I can’t eat the whole apple.

Me: That’s what we agreed on. You have to eat the whole apple before you can leave and watch the tv.

DS: I don’t eat the seeds of the apple. I don’t like them. So that means I can’t eat the whole apple.

 

Sigh. He’s so literal with everything lately!

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Graphical Models

I am finally at the point where I love the research I am doing, namely Bayesian Networks and Graphical Models.  This particularly stood out to me when I read it.

“Graphical models are a marriage between probability theory and graph theory. They provide a natural tool for dealing with two problems that occur throughout applied mathematics and engineering — uncertainty and complexity — and in particular they are playing an increasingly important role in the design and analysis of machine learning algorithms. Fundamental to the idea of a graphical model is the notion of modularity — a complex system is built by combining simpler parts. Probability theory provides the glue whereby the parts are combined, ensuring that the system as a whole is consistent, and providing ways to interface models to data. The graph theoretic side of graphical models provides both an intuitively appealing interface by which humans can model highly-interacting sets of variables as well as a data structure that lends itself naturally to the design of efficient general-purpose algorithms.

Many of the classical multivariate probabalistic systems studied in fields such as statistics, systems engineering, information theory, pattern recognition and statistical mechanics are special cases of the general graphical model formalism — examples include mixture models, factor analysis, hidden Markov models, Kalman filters and Ising models. The graphical model framework provides a way to view all of these systems as instances of a common underlying formalism. This view has many advantages — in particular, specialised techniques that have been developed in one field can be transferred between research communities and exploited more widely. Moreover, the graphical model formalism provides a natural framework for the design of new systems.”

Michael Jordan, 1998

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Finally

Here I was thinking that blogging would be oh-so-easy. Yeah. Right. Time, it seems, just seems to be flying by. I’m a third of the way through my time here in HK. Before you know it, I’ll be back in Brisbane. Mind you, seeing sunshine would be great. I know that it’ll be cold when we get back to Brisbane, but I MISS THE SUN! It’s been cloudy and miserable and rainy here for so long now. The sun comes out for about 5 minutes every few days. I don’t know how people live without the sun. I hate it. The lack of sun might explain my crankiness and melancholy.  Well, that and also the lack of enthusiasm here at work about my work.

Don’t get me wrong. I love being here. I’m being super productive, but Prof Lam is still not convinced about BNs in general, nor my model. Never mind. We’ve managed to get out a plan. And the plan (while different from the plan I had put down when I applied for this scholarship – which he agreed to!) works out better for me in the end. I’m still working on papers from projects back at home, plus refining my BN. So good all in all.

Man Mo Temple at Tai Po

Life in HK is great. Yesterday we moved into the 2 bedroom apartment next door. Oh my giddy aunt. The extra space is a welcome change! Dann and I have a room all to ourselves – with a closing door and all! (Minds out of the gutter, you lot). I have space to do my Insanity workouts. I’m kickstarting that again on Monday. I’m still doing yoga and trying to be healthy. Though I’ve had 10 days of non-yoga and lots of chocolate eating. I’m feeling this quite badly. Who knew not doing yoga for 10 days would lead to having your hips sieze up?!

Our bigger apartment! Look at all that floor space!

Daily school work.

I love the yoga place here. Bit expensive, but it’s awesome. Over 100 classes a week. Different levels and teachers. Heated and non-heated rooms. Towels and mats provided, as are shampoo, soap and conditioner. All I have to do is rock up with my yoga clothes. It’s awesome. The kicker is that the showers are those rain showers – so freaking awesome after 90 mins of heated yoga! I have noticed though, that that ladies are NOT shy in walking around starkers. Though mind you, if I had some of their figures, I would be walking around starkers for all to see as well! Another thing I’ve noticed is the choice of underwear colour most of them wear. Beige. Yep, beige underwear. I’m more of a black undergarments kind of person. Or white, or bright pink. Goes better with my complexion, or something like that. Not so much beige. I’ve only seen about 3 other people with non-beige underwear. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I found it odd.

Halo halo at Cinta J restaurant in Wan Chai.

 

Another odd thing about HK – the lack of brunch options that I like. I love brunch. So much. It’s the ultimate meal – a combination of breakfast and lunch. You can have sweet or savoury or a combination of both. You can have ice cream and cream and no-one says anything. But here, unless you want to go to a hotel restaurant and pay through the nose (relative to other meal prices), it’s hard to get eggs benedict. I miss the pre-made-full-of-preservatives-and-god-knows-what-else hollandaise they use at The Coffee Club. Shake your head in disgust, but I love that shit.  Perhaps if I’m lucky, Dann will cook me up some hollandaise sauce this weekend. It’s not pre-made-full-of-preservative hollandaise, but it’s pretty damn good. He has made me bacon and eggs on numerous occasions though. He’s a good hubby, that one!

Getting our chocolate and caffeine fix on Easter Sunday.

Getting our chocolate and caffeine fix on Easter Sunday.

 

He even found some salt and vinegar chips that I’d been searching for! I’ll keep him around. 🙂

Alright, so what have we been up to since the last post? Here’s a quick summary:

  • We went to the HK Railway museum in Tai Po. It was small, but good. It’s free and relatively easy to get to. A good outing for the morning.
  • Tai Po Markets – we wandered around here since we were in the neighbourhood. Fruit, veg, seafood, and meat. Very clean (not like the market in the Philippines). Daniel was intrigued by it all, but not impressed by some of the smells. We also went to a set of market that were in a building. The first floor was wet markets, the second floor was fruit and veg and clothes, and the third floor was an eatery. We had lunch here at the Vietnamese eatery. Very good, and very cheap.
  • Dann and Daniel went to Victoria Park. I think we’ll go back together soon as it’s a HUGE park. Dann originally went over to HK Island to go to IKEA. Yep – he willingly went there all by himself. Only to get Daniel a set of train tracks though. Daniel had been spending too much time playing on the iPad and watching telly, so Dann figured that if he had the train tracks like he does at home, he’d play with those. He was right – Daniel plays with them for hours every day.
  • We caught the Star Ferry HK Island on Easter Saturday and went to HK Park. The super long tube slide was winner for Daniel. He must have gone on that thing 20 times!
  • We’ve had to buy some school books for Daniel. He’s powered through the worksheets that Miss Nora from child care had put together. It seems he can’t get enough of numbers, letters, and writing. It’s freaking awesome.
  • Eating, eating, eating. OMG. So many different foods to try and eat. There’s a heap of Korean restaurants near our place. Then there’s the endless choices of dim sum, any number of asian cuisines, and street food. So good. We’ve also found some Filipino restaurants. One near Temple St, near us. Another one at Wan Chai. Both are a bit pricey, compared to other food choices around. But delicious and fills our cravings for Pinoy food!
  • Dann has had some business shirts made. $50 each for a hand made, tailored shirt is pretty freaking good. We also ordered a suit for him. The guys at the shop threw in a free shirt (worth $450HKD) and cuff links (worth $300HKD), so almost $100AUD of free stuff.

Maths + Chocolate. What could be better?!

Anyway, that’s long enough for now. I should do some work. Though it is Friday, and it’s cloudy and raining so motivation is a bit low at the moment.

Getting fitted for new business shirts.

Getting fitted for new business shirts.

Oh, one more thing. Very exciting. Ma’am (Dann’s mum) is coming to visit us in HK next week! So freaking excited! Daniel can’t wait to show her around.