Thursday, December 29, 2016

Top 10 new GitHub features of 2016

As 2016 comes to a close, let's have a look at the best features that the GitHub developer team has introduced this year, ranging from improved code review tools to fixing merge conflicts directly in your browser.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

OpenCV with Python Blueprints: Holiday Sale

Packt Publishing is holding an epic holiday sale where every eBook or video is only $5! If you have been toying with the idea of brushing up on your computer vision skills, why don't you give OpenCV with Python Blueprints a chance? The book has been getting some fantastic reviews, and people seem to continue to like it on both Amazon and GitHub. No promo code required, simply visit their website.

OpenCV with Python Blueprints launched in October 2015 as #1 New Release in Computer Vision & Pattern Recognition on Amazon. The book demonstrates how to develop a series of intermediate to advanced projects using OpenCV and Python, rather than teaching the core concepts of OpenCV in theoretical lessons. Instead, the working projects developed in this book teach the reader how to apply their theoretical knowledge to topics such as image manipulation, augmented reality, object tracking, 3D scene reconstruction, statistical learning, and object categorization. Simply download the code from GitHub and follow along!

Friday, December 9, 2016

How to de-noise images in Python

So you tried to take a beautiful picture of a snow storm last night, but because it was so dark your picture turned out all noisy... What to do now? Don't worry—ask a Swiss! Image de-noising is the process of removing noise from an image, while at the same time preserving details and structures. In the following tutorial, we will implement a simple noise reduction algorithm in Python.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Top 10 science breakthroughs of 2016

This year brought us ripples in spacetime, human embryos in a dish, and speedy Zika vaccines. As 2016 comes to a close, here is a look back at some of the most amazing scientific breakthroughs, discoveries, and announcements of 2016.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Highlights and new discoveries in Computer Vision, Machine Learning, and AI (October 2016)

In the latest issue of this monthly digest series you can learn about Google's breakthrough with DeepMind, why you might soon see robocops on the streets of Dubai, how many quadcopters it takes to screw in a lightbulb, and much more.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving Sale

Some virtual turkey for all the nerds out there: Enjoy 50% off the eBook version of OpenCV with Python Blueprints on the official Packt Publishing website. No promo code required. Only today!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Highlights and new discoveries in Neuroscience (October 2016)

In the latest issue of this monthly series digest you can learn how to transplant neurons, how dance and music training affect the brain, how dominance and aggressiveness are regulated in the female and male brain, and much more.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Is there really evidence for a limit to human lifespan?

Driven by technological progress, human life expectancy has increased greatly since the nineteenth century. A study recently published in Nature used demographic data to reveal a lifespan of ~115 years that human beings cannot exceed, simply by virtue of being human. However, when data scientists re-analyzed the data published in the Nature paper using model comparison, a different picture emerged: If anything, their data supports the idea that our lifespan is nowhere close to reaching a limit.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Highlights from the Moore/Sloan Data Science Environments Summit (MSDSE 2016)

The Moore/Sloan Data Science Environments (MSDSE) program is an ongoing effort to enhance data-driven discovery by supporting cross-disciplinary academic data scientists at research institutions across the nation. Halfway through the program, researchers from the University of Washington (UW), New York University (NYU), and University of California, Berkeley (UCB) came together to present their latest research and discuss the potential future of data science at a three-day summit.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

OpenCV with Python Blueprints' first anniversary: Giveaway

A year ago today, Packt Publishing Ltd. released OpenCV with Python Blueprints, my first technical book on computer vision and machine learning using the OpenCV library. To celebrate this 1-year anniversary, I'm giving away 3 print copies of the book via Amazon Giveaways! Read on to find out how you can participate.


Michael Beyeler
OpenCV with Python Blueprints
Design and develop advanced computer vision projects using OpenCV with Python


Packt Publishing Ltd., London, England
Paperback: 230 pages
ISBN 978-178528269-0
[GitHub] [Discussion Group] [Free Sample]

Monday, October 17, 2016

Highlights and new discoveries in Computer Vision, Machine Learning, and AI (September 2016)

In the latest issue of this monthly digest series, you can learn how computer vision and AI is expediting brain tumor detection, how deep learning is used to teach autonomous vehicles how to drive, what Amazon is up to in the Cambridgeshire, and much more.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Highlights and new discoveries in Neuroscience (September 2016)

In the latest issue of this monthly digest series you can find out what our eyes and coloring books have in common, why you shouldn't Pokémon Go and drive, where the brain stores social memories, and much more.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Highlights and new discoveries in Computer Vision, Machine Learning, and AI (August 2016)

In the latest issue of this monthly digest you can learn how AI is expediting breast cancer risk prediction, what facial analysis tells us about the demographics of Trump/Clinton followers, and how deep learning can help you sort your cucumbers.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Highlights and new discoveries in Neuroscience (August 2016)

In the latest issue of this monthly digest series you can learn why we're so good at reading, how the minds of psychopaths differ, why it might be time to get your kid off the iPad, and much more.

Monday, August 29, 2016

UW Data Science for Social Good: Training students to use data-driven research for societal benefit

Data Science for Social Good (DSSG), a summer program at UW's eScience Institute, partners up interdisciplinary student teams with professional data scientists and subject-matter experts to tackle social issues that really matter. This year the theme was "Urban Science"—so for ten weeks, four teams with students from around the country combined data, tools, and programming to tackle social issues such as transit system planning, disease control and prevention, tracking of socioeconomic status in developing countries, and sidewalk mapping for accessible route planning. The results are quite impressive.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Our brains help us navigate by using a compressed code for what we see when we move

Neurons in a brain area known as the medial superior temporal (MST) area play a major role in visually guided navigation, as they are experts at analyzing the moving patterns of light we see when moving through the environment (called "optic flow"). Some neurons respond to a specific direction of travel ("heading"), so that we always know where we're going. However, more often than not, MST responses are complex and non-intuitive, making it hard to understand how these neurons operate.

A new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience now challenges the way we think about MST. Rather than serving specific behavioral functions, such as encoding heading, neurons in MST might simply be trying to find a compressed representation of all possible, naturally occurring optic flow patterns—such that self-motion analysis is always both accurate and efficient. Let me explain what that means, and why you should care.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Highlights and new discoveries in Neuroscience (June/July 2016)

In the latest issue of this monthly digest series you can learn what marijuana has to do with Alzheimer's, what old monkeys and old humans have in common, why it's ok to forget stuff, and much more.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Highlights and new discoveries in Computer Vision, Machine Learning, and AI (June/July 2016)

In this digest you can hear Donald Trump sing about Obama, learn how machine learning can help autism screening, get the latest updates from the ICML and CVPR conferences, and much more.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Highlights and new discoveries in Neuroscience (May 2016)

In the fifth issue of this monthly digest series you can learn about the neurobiology of love, how long-term marijuana use alters the brain's reward circuit, what nightmares say about your personality, and much more.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Highlights and new discoveries in computer vision, machine learning, and AI (May 2016)

In the fifth issue of this monthly digest series you can learn about who or what is Parsey McParseface, highlights from ICRA and ACM CHI, the next generation of Siri, and much more.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

ImageXD: New trends in image processing and computer vision

Incredible advances are being made in image processing techniques and tools, but the scientists who use them typically don't have the opportunity to communicate with scientists who work on similar problems in different domains.

To address this issue, the Berkeley Institute for Data Science (BIDS) invited researchers from a variety of disciplines to ImageXD, a three-day workshop designed to discuss common problems in image processing across domains, ranging from academic disciplines such as deep learning, astronomy, and systems biology to the computer animation film industry. Among the highlights was a talk by Susan Fong, Technical Director Supervisor at Pixar, who shared her expertise on what it takes to bring a high-production movie like The Good Dinosaur to life.

Friday, May 27, 2016

10 bizarre neurological diseases you wouldn't believe exist

Brains are weird. They use billions of complex, interconnected nerve cells to make sense of the vast amount of sensory information we are bombarded with every second of every day, and let us become self-aware and conscious. Yet it doesn't take much to confuse them—and when things go wrong, they can go really wrong. Ever felt worms crawling through your skin or found yourself sexually aroused 24/7? Ever woken up and all you could speak is Polish (and, you're not from Poland)? Read on to find out what other weird neurological diseases seem too crazy to exist, but actually do.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Highlights and new discoveries in Neuroscience (April 2016)

In the fourth issue of this monthly digest series you can learn what causes deja vu, whether consciousness comes in time slices, how the brain recognizes emotions in faces, why you should (not?) eat more fruit, and much more.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Open science gone awry: How 70,000 OKCupid users just had their private data exposed

Earlier today, a pair of individuals allegedly affiliated with Danish universities publicly released a scraped dataset of nearly 70,000 users of the dating website OKCupid (OKC), including their sexual turn-ons, orientation, plain usernames—and called the whole thing research. You can imagine why plenty of academics (and OKC users) are unhappy with the publication of this data, and an open letter is now being prepared so that the parent institutions can adequately deal with this issue.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Highlights and new discoveries in Computer Vision, Machine Learning, and AI (April 2016)

In the fourth issue of this monthly digest series you can find out how Qualcomm is bringing deep learning and AI to smart devices, why Daimler sent self-driving trucks all across Europe, how to imitate Rembrandt's best work with the help of deep learning, and much more.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Highlights and new discoveries in Neuroscience (March 2016)

I

n the third issue of this monthly digest series you can find out where the root of all evil lies in the brain, how researchers plan to prevent Alzheimer's disease, why you should eat blueberries, and much more.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Highlights and new discoveries in Computer Vision, Machine Learning, and AI (March 2016)

In the third issue of this monthly digest series you can find out how Microsoft is bringing AI to the visually impaired, how to colorize your grayscale images, why a Google car caused a crash for the first time, and much more.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Neuromorphic computing: Moving beyond the von Neumann architecture

For decades, computer scientists have striven to build machines as complex and efficient as the human brain. China's Tianhe-2, the world's most powerful supercomputer (consisting of 200 refrigerator-sized units in an area the size of a basketball court), may compute four times faster and hold 10 times more data than the human brain, but it also sucks up enough electricity to power 10,000 homes. On the other hand, the human brain consumes less juice than a dim light bulb and fits nicely within our skull. So what if we could build computers that were more like brains? Turns out we're almost there.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Save 20% 50% now on OpenCV with Python Blueprints!

Packt Publishing is currently holding a sale that will save you 20% 50% on all technical books eBooks site-wide! If you have been toying with the idea of brushing up your OpenCV skills, why don't you give OpenCV with Python Blueprints a chance? Simply enter promo code PACKT20 BW50 upon check-out and you're good to go! Offer ends Sunday.

OpenCV with Python Blueprints launched in October 2015 as #1 New Release in Computer Vision & Pattern Recognition on Amazon. The book demonstrates how to develop a series of intermediate to advanced projects using OpenCV and Python, rather than teaching the core concepts of OpenCV in theoretical lessons. Instead, the working projects developed in this book teach the reader how to apply their theoretical knowledge to topics such as image manipulation, augmented reality, object tracking, 3D scene reconstruction, statistical learning, and object categorization. Simply download the code from GitHub and follow along!

What readers on Amazon have to say:

The author does a great job explaining the concepts needed to understand what’s happening in the application without the need of going into too many details.

Sebastian Montabone

Usually I'm not a big fan of technical books because they are too dull, but this one is written in an engaging manner with a few dry jokes here and there. Can only recommend!

– lakesouth

Solid and useful book on getting ramped up with OpenCV in Python. I have found it useful several times in the recent weeks as I am exploring OpenCV.

– bigbirdtommy

Thursday, March 17, 2016

7 essential new GitHub features of Early 2016

GitHub's developer team has been very active in the last few weeks, introducing a number of features that could save you a lot of time during your day-to-day GitHub activities. Let's take a look at the most essential new features, which make it easier for you to perform code reviews, upload files to your repositories, and interact with other users.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Highlights and new discoveries in Neuroscience (February 2016)

In the second issue of this monthly digest series you can find out what happened at COSYNE 2016, how to cryonically freeze and recover a brain, why brains fold up the way they do, how to restore memory function in Alzheimer's, and much more.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Highlights and new discoveries in Computer Vision, Machine Learning, and AI (February 2016)

In the second issue of this monthly digest series you can find out how DeepMind beat the reigning human champion at the game of Go, why a robot is playing art critic in a museum in Paris, why your phone might soon have a brain of its own, and much more.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

COSYNE 2016: What's new in computational and systems neuroscience

This year's COSYNE meeting (Feb25–28) brought together leading theoretical and computational scientists to study fundamental problems in systems neuroscience, including keynote speakers such as Xiao-Jing Wang (NYU), Paul Smolensky (Johns Hopkins), Mala Murthy (Princeton), Leslie Vosshall (Rockefeller), Greg DeAngelis (Rochester), Richard Mooney (Duke), Marisa Carrasco (NYU), and Blaise Agüera y Arcas (Google).

Friday, February 12, 2016

How to manipulate the perceived color temperature of an image with OpenCV and Python

When we look at images, our brain picks up on a number of subtle clues to infer important details about the scene, such as faint color tints that are due to lighting. Warmer colors tend to be perceived as more pleasant, whereas cool colors are associated with night and drabness. This effect is no mystery to photographers, who sometimes purposely manipulate the white balance of an image to convey a certain mood. How can we achieve such an effect using OpenCV?

Monday, February 1, 2016

Highlights and new discoveries in Neuroscience (January 2016)

In the first issue of this monthly digest series you can find out how researchers can read your mind to predict what you're seeing in real time, what the brain has in common with the World Wide Web, why the brain might require the same amount of energy when at rest as compared to when it is doing something massively complicated, and much more.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Highlights and new discoveries in Computer Vision, Machine Learning, and AI (January 2016)

In the first issue of this monthly digest series you can find out what important people think about the imminent (killer) robot revolution, which deep learning toolkit might be the fastest on Yahoo's 13.5TB of open-source social media data, how fire-proof drones will soon scour burning buildings for survivors, and much more.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Beginners' 10 most common Java programming mistakes revealed by Big Data

What's the most common programming mistake beginners make? Perhaps that they always confuse equality (==) with assignment (=), or & with &&? Or perhaps that they always use the wrong separators in for-loops (for (int i = 0, i < 5, i++))...?

To answer this question, data scientists recently looked at the mistakes from over 250,000 Java programming novices from all over the world. Using a massive amount of data (source code from 37 million compilations, to be exact), they revealed the most common errors that students make when they first learn Java, and how long it typically takes them to learn from their mistakes. The results are surprising.

Friday, January 22, 2016

How to install OpenCV 3.1 for Python on Ubuntu 14.04

OpenCV 3.1 was just released a few weeks ago and features a wealth of new features, aggregated from GitHub community members, students and mentors, as well as the Google Summer of Code. Time to upgrade your installation!

Installing OpenCV can quickly turn into a nightmare, especially if you want to use either the latest code base or some non-standard options (such as features from the opencv_contrib repository or OpenNI support for depth sensors such as Microsoft Kinect). The following guide will show you how to install OpenCV 3.1 for Python with all its fancy options on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (either via conda or from source) in ten easy steps!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

How to create a beautiful pencil sketch effect with OpenCV and Python

Interesting image filter effects, such as a pencil sketch or a cartoonizer effect, do not have to be very computationally involved to look good. In fact, in order to create a beautiful black-and-white pencil sketch effect, all you essentially need is some blurring and two image blending techniques called dodging and burning.

Monday, January 11, 2016

7 tips & tricks to get you started on the Unix command line

In a world where people are used to interact with technology by sliding their thumbs over shiny buttons, the command line often seems like an archaic way of interacting with an OS. Surely the Unix shell is supposed to help you quickly interact with the file system or automate mundane tasks–but don't you need a neckbeard to understand all this stuff anyway?

You'd be surprised to find that even for clean-shaven people the learning curve is not that steep. Ever found yourself stabbing the Up key hundreds of times because you can't find that command you typed in a couple of minutes ago? Can't remember the syntax to unarchive that darn .tar file? No clue why Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V won't work? Don't worry, ask a Swiss! All you need is a short list of tips and tricks and you'll find yourself saving lots of time on the command line. No uncontrolled hair growth required.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Last chance to save big on OpenCV with Python Blueprints!

Time is running out to purchase the eBook version of OpenCV with Python Blueprints for $5 as part of Packt's "Skill up" sale!

The book demonstrates how to develop a series of intermediate to advanced projects using OpenCV and Python, rather than teaching the core concepts of OpenCV in theoretical lessons. Instead, the working projects developed in this book teach the reader how to apply their theoretical knowledge to topics such as image manipulation, augmented reality, object tracking, 3D scene reconstruction, statistical learning, and object categorization.

What readers on Amazon have to say:

The author does a great job explaining the concepts needed to understand what’s happening in the application without the need of going into too many details.

– Sebastian Montabone, 5 stars

12 advanced Git commands I wish my co-workers would know

© xkcd

Once you have internalized the basic work flow, Git is a powerful tool for distributed version control that offers a lot of advantages over more clunky alternatives like SVN. You clone, you pull, you commit, you push; nothing simpler than that. Right.

But then you find yourself stuck with a merge conflict, and git sends you down the rabbit hole. Or you accidentally added a commit to the wrong branch and already pushed it to the remote repo. Or you need to switch to a different branch (just for a second!) but git won't let you because you have unsaved changes. And what if you need to patch your code with that one commit from a completely different branch (but nothing else)?

The following guide compiles a list of useful advanced Git commands that will make your everyday coding life easier. Oh, and make sure your co-workers know them, too...

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

How to create a cool cartoon effect with OpenCV and Python

Over the last few years professional cartoonizer software has popped up all over the place but is only rarely freeware. In order to achieve the basic cartoon effect, you don't need powerful rendering software or even years of experience. All you need is essentially a bilateral filter and some edge detection. The bilateral filter will reduce the color palette, which is essential for the cartoon look, and edge detection will allow you to produce bold silhouettes.