Some readers might wonder why I’m writing this blog. Here’s an (incomplete) list:
- It’s fun.
- There are lots of fantastic blogs discussing the philosophy and big questions of machine learning (e.g. John Langford’s hunch.net) but I couldn’t find many covering simple tricks of the trade.
- Scientific papers sometimes obscure simple ideas. In the most extreme case, a paper will get rejected if the idea is presented in too simple terms (it happened to me more than once and the paper was praised once the simple parts had been obfuscated). Also, they need to come with ample evidence for why an idea works, strong theoretical guarantees and lots of experiments. This is all needed as a safeguard and it’s really really important. But it often hides the basic idea.
- Some ideas are really cute and useful but not big enough to write a paper about. It’s pointless to write 10 pages if the idea can be fully covered in 1 page. We’d need a journal of 1 page ideas to deal with this.
- Many practitioners are scared to pick up a paper with many equations but they might be willing to spend 10 minutes reading a blog post.