New Readers Start Here!

Welcome to the Muse Garden!

Do you want to learn more about algorithms, programming, mathematics, or self improvement? If you’re interested in any of these areas, you’ve come to the right place. Below you will find several categories with some of my most popular posts that you may be interested in if you’re looking for a specific thing or just want to get a feel for what I write about. I also take requests for new posts, and you can contact me at anytime on twitter by using the screen name @musegarden. After you read this page, drop by and say hi, or leave me a comment here. I look forward to hearing from you!

Kinect Face Tracking — Senior Thesis 2013

I wrote a thesis for my BS Computer Science degree called “Facial Expression Analysis With Microsoft Kinect”. I made several posts on this subject which you can find here:

  1. Facial Expression Analysis with Kinect: Thesis Update #1 – an overview, a little outdated as this was written at the beginning planning stages.
  2. Some Faces: Thesis Update #2 – this describes what the Kinect’s facial mesh looks like when overlaid on several different faces (early testing stages)
  3. Animation Units for Facial Expression Tracking – Thesis Update #3 – describes the statistics that Kinect uses to track movements of the face
  4. Kinect Face Tracking — Results: Thesis Update #4 – wrapping up, some results, future ideas

If you want to know more, you can find my code at: https://github.com/nelsonam/thesis-facetracking and the Microsoft API page for the Kinect Face Tracking Library is here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj130970.aspx

Algorithms and Intractable Problems

Here you can find a series of posts about programming and optimization:

  1. Intractable Problems — Part One: Set Problems – first in a series of posts detailing intractable (read: hard for a computer to solve) problems and giving an overview of some work that has been done on them.
  2. Intractable Problems — Part Two: Data Storage – second in the series, this time branching out to problems regarding data storage
  3. Introduction to Genetic Algorithms – an introduction to an interesting field of computer science called Genetic Algorithms, where multiple candidate solutions are “crossed” with one another to make better and better solutions.
  4. A Genetic Algorithm Approach to Ramsey Theory – an example of how I’ve used genetic algorithms to research a famous problem in graph theory.
  5. Holiday Maths Puzzle #1 – The first in a set of puzzles released around the holidays, this one being a Christmas-styled version of the “knapsack problem”
  6. Holiday Maths Puzzle #2 – The second puzzle I posted, regarding the “traveling Santa” and his quest to deliver presents in the shortest time possible. This is a version of the traveling salesman problem.
  7. Holiday Maths Puzzle #2 — Solution — A discussion and possible approach to the solution to the “traveling Santa problem”

Mathematical Diversions

I am a math(s) hobbyist, and like posting things based on numbers or puzzles I find interesting. I am especially interested in properties of Fibonacci numbers.

  1. Adding Primes to Produce a Prime – is there a way to add primes together and get a prime as the sum every time? I investigate.
  2. Fibonacci Numbers mod n – exploring the periodic behavior that occurs when taking fibonacci numbers “mod” something else. This phenomenon is also known as Pisano Periods.
  3. The License Plate Problem (Combinations/Permutations) – how many combinations of a license plate can there be?
  4. Fibonacci Squares with Arbitrary Starting Numbers – original research regarding laying the Fibonacci numbers out in a certain pattern and predicting their behavior with equations
  5. Fibonacci Square Updates – a continuation of my work on Fibonacci Squares
  6. Visualizing the Unit Circle – helpful trigonometry tip to help you learn the unit circle
  7. An Easy Method for Multiplication By 5 – a helpful tip to speed up mental calculations of multiplying by 5
  8. X² + Y² : increasing by odd numbers – observations of me playing with numbers and noticing patterns
  9. A Two Digit Number and Its Reverse Sums to a Multiple of 11 – another interesting number observation
  10. Numbers, Reverses, and Sums Divisible by 11 (Part 2) – a continuation of the above post

Programming Projects

Here you can see discussions of several programming projects I’ve worked on or talked about.

  1. Twitter FriendCloud – using NLTK and data mining to analyze twitter data
  2. A Genetic Algorithm Approach to Ramsey Theory – approaching a famous graph theory problem in a new way
  3. SEDEX: Self-Directed Projects As A Means of Innovation and Progress – discussion of learning philosophy and me making a binary clock!
  4. Poemgen – learning Python through automated “poetry” generation – another NLP project aimed at creating “poetry” given a set of words and rules

Self Improvement

Looking to better yourself? Try these posts:

  1. Quantifying the Self – tracking your daily doings can have a big impact on your life
  2. Beeminder and Self-Tracking: Five Months In – a further update on my self-tracking initiative and a plug for one of my favorite services, Beeminder
  3. My Productivity Secret Weapon – a short observation about utilizing idle time to get things done

I have more posts of course, but these are some of my favorites. If you have an idea for something you’d like to see here, shoot me a message!

Happy reading!

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