Christmas Lights Switch On Time

Hello everyone,

I am back with yet another lengthy article so brace yourselves, this one will be long! Just kidding 🙂

Not that much has happened in the past month. Uni has officially started and so has the work on my final year project, which is going I would say okay, for now 🙂

For those of you who are not considering or currently doing a project in the area of data mining, machine learning or statistics, feel free to skip this paragraph as it can be quite boring!

My passion for Machine learning has inspired me to choose a project in that field. It focuses on the evaluation of Mutual Information versus Gini index for stable feature selection. Since I have an interest in life sciences as well I have decided to use medical data. There are primarily two platforms from which I could choose, Matlab and R. Since I have used Matlab in the past on university projects in several subjects I have decided to choose a language I have not used before so R it was. I have found it to be very intuitive and easy to use. There are a number of great libraries out there which is always a bonus. One that is definitely worth checking out is the “Shiny” library because it provides an easy way to build web applications using R so it can be a very powerful tool when it comes to data visualisation.


( My project so far expressed entirely in graphs! 🙂 )

Apart from spending time in our beloved Kilburn I have been exploring some other buildings like the library and the learning commons. Take it from me if you want a seat make sure you get there early! Nevertheless, it has been quite a nice change of scenery. One of my recent favourites is the Alan Turing building which is simply stunning. However, the PC clusters are usually quite noisy so I am not sure how many times I will go back there.


( The view from the last floor in Alan Turing – simply fantastic 🙂 )

Apart from my third year project I am trying to make sure that I stay on top of labs and lectures. One of the ones I am currently working on is the Graphics Lab “Creating a particle system” which is extremely fun. The moment when you see your first point moving on the screen is priceless. This reminded me of a quote by Professor Tom Kilburn about running the first computer program on “The Baby”:

“Finally when we pressed the start button, it set off on its usual dance of death, and then suddenly it stopped, and there in the expected line was the expected answer. So we built a computing machine!”

In a way we all feel something similar when your program after endless segmentation faults #algorithmsSecondYear finally does what it should do. Of course making a point move on the screen is a lot less significant and life changing in comparison to Professor Kilburn’s contribution but it is still progress!

Since it is my final year the time has come to think even more seriously about the future and for me it comes down to what I would love to do when I graduate. It’s the classic question: “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” and for some people like me it is surprisingly hard to answer. What I am trying to do is find out what I love doing and concentrate on it. I guess it’s okay if I find out later it’s not what I want to do because at least I would have given it a shot, and I would have no regrets. Like the famous quote goes:

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.

Mark Twain

Another thing which I have discovered recently is the careers service in the Uni Place and I plan to make use of it. Might be worth checking out 🙂

Finally, I am really excited for the Christmas Lights Switch on which promises to be spectacular. If you happen to be in Manchester at that time and are not swamped by work make sure to go and see it. It will probably be as cold as it is festive.


( Something from my archives – Christmas Lights Switch On, Manchester, 2012 🙂 )


Veneta Haralampieva

P.S. Thanks to Aisha and Jez for reviewing the post and making it better 🙂