End of 2015 Updates

So, as we approach the end of 2015 I want to post some personal and academic updates.

  • During the whole year I have been revising the literature on a couple of areas that interest me, that includes: hashing algorithms for massive data analysis, computational geometry (coresets, higher order voronoi diagrams, sketches, high dimensional geometry), computational social science, network science, undecibility of theories, random metric models, random matrix theory, deep learning theory, approximate inference algorithms and graphical models for recommender systems. Some of the future blog posts will take a look on some of these subjects.
  • Half of the year I was involved in a very interesting project at Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), planning and implementing the supporting systems for surveys research (using Windows Phone). Even though I was excited to move back to academy, it was nice to be in this kind of project.
  • I was accepted as a PhD Fellow (stipendiat) in the Department of Computer and Information Science at Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) with a project about probabilistic models and algorithms for recommender systems, working with Prof. Helge Langseth and Heri Ramampiaro. This was a big change for me and Juliana, who was pregnant, but readily accepted the challenge of leaving hot Rio and coming to cold Trondheim. We were not sure that we would be able to beat the bureaucracy and get all the documents necessary for the visa and her travel. We arrived in Trondheim in August 28th, and I started working on September 1st.
  • I had the opportunity to attend RecSys 2015 with departmental funding, even though I had literally just arrived at the department. This helped me a lot in gaining momentum in the writing of the initial research proposal, submitted to the faculty and now already accepted. During RecSys, I had the chance to analyze different research challenges and had some ideas that I am looking forward to try some of this ideas.
  • I ran a self-study seminar series titled Approximate and Scalable Inference for Complex Probabilistic Models in Recommender Systems. It consisted on the study of probabilistic models and inference algorithms. It included Probabilistic Matrix Factorization, Poisson Matrix Factorization, Bayesian variants of those models, models with side information (social network, trust network, kernelized models), latent gaussian models, and dynamics models (State-space, tensor-factorization, based on time dependent Dirichlet process). We also studied variational inference and plan to study INLA (Integrated Nested Laplace Approximation) and sampling methods (MCMC, HMC, Gibbs sampling) applied to matrix factorization probabilistic models.
  • Last, but not least, we had our first child, Samir, born in Oct. 23 here in Trondheim.

I am really looking forward to this new year, 2015 was a great year with many changes. I hope to consolidate many open threads of research in 2016, and continue to live a happy live with my family.

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