The Linear Quadratic Regulator

This is the fourth part of “An Outsider’s Tour of Reinforcement Learning.” Part 5 is here. Part 3 is here. Part 1 is here. What would be a dead simple baseline for understanding optimal control... Continue

The Linearization Principle

This is the third part of “An Outsider’s Tour of Reinforcement Learning.” Part 4 is here. Part 2 is here. Part 1 is here. I have an ethos for tackling problems in machine learning that... Continue

Total Control

This is the second part of “An Outsider’s Tour of Reinforcement Learning.” Part 3 is here. Part 1 is here. In addition to the reasons I’ve discussed so far, I’ve been fascinated with the resurgence... Continue

Make It Happen

This is the first part of “An Outsider’s Tour of Reinforcement Learning.” Part 2 is here. If you read hacker news, you’d think that deep reinforcement learning can be used to solve any problem. Deep... Continue

Lessons from Optics, The Other Deep Learning

Would you say deep learning is mature enough to be taught in high schools? Here’s why I ask. Some time ago, I received an email from a product manager at a very large company. I... Continue

Directions of Ascent

Last November was a dramatic wake-up call to many of us in information technology, and I’ve spent a large part of the last year learning about how I and others in similar positions can help... Continue

An Addendum to Alchemy

This post is an addendum to our “test of time” talk at NIPS 2017. We’d like to expand on a few points about the talk we gave at NIPS last week. The talk highlighted the... Continue

Reflections on Random Kitchen Sinks

Ed. Note: Ali Rahimi and I won the test of time award at NIPS 2017 for our paper “Random Features for Large-scale Kernel Machines”. This post is the text of the acceptance speech we wrote.... Continue

Nesterov's Punctuated Equilibrium

Ed. Note: this post is co-written with Roy Frostig. Following the remarkable success of AlphaGo, there has been a groundswell of interest in reinforcement learning for games, robotics, parameter tuning, and even computer networking. In... Continue

The Fall of BIG DATA

I’m still in total shock from the decision my country made last Tuesday. We elected a hateful, bigoted, misogynistic, incompetent demagogue to lead us into a dark and foreboding future. While the internet has been... Continue