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Man, software engineering at the cutting edge is getting harder and harder by the day. Not only are you expected to master coding but also math heavy ML and economics. I guess a consequence of software eating the world is that more and more fields of human knowledge is folded into the engineering world. The consequence being that engineers really aught to be very broad in their reading if they want to take advantage of all the low hanging fruit the octopus arms stumbles into.



Math heavy ML is simple: ∀ problems: solution is Convnets (CNN in the article).

But yes, you should learn to apply multilayer convnets to image problems.

And don't worry about architecture. There's 2 variables : number of parameters and number of layers. There's an optimum, which will be bigger than "advanced" architectures, but it will match the advanced architectures' performance very closely (1-2% worse perhaps).

Slight issue is that it takes 2-3 hours to test a (number of free parameters, number of layers) combination, and so "hyperparameter tuning" (pick random and test, repeat) takes a long time. But if you make it a nice pipeline you can do it on cloud in parallel on a regular basis (as new data gets added) and have extremely good results.


   Math heavy ML is simple: ∀ problems: solution is Convnets
Oh, if only that were true.

The articles application, however, is a good example of where they are very applicable.


I think software engineering is easier now than back in the day. I have heard from people who used to have to write the code by hand change it to assembly and then program their chip. Debugging was a pain. Everything was a pain. We have also these crazy tools now. We don't need to know mnemonics.


While the very early pre-assembly, "enter the boot code sizeof(WORD) bit toggle switches at ta time on the front panel[1]" days were very difficult, working with bare metal hardware could be tedious, but usually no more difficult than today's similarly-sized projects. Debugging was sometimes easier with a logic analyzer watching values move across the CPU's data pins; it became a lot harder when you also have to worry about cache coherency,

> We don't need to know mnemonics.

Every specialized discipline has jargon and technical terms. Today everyone memorizes Javascript frameworks instead.

> We have also these crazy tools now.

Yes, but we also have crazy tools that rapidly create complexity. The popularity of using tools we don't understand, didn't (directly) write, that we cannot meaningfully inspect/audit (e.g. modern machine learning) is rapidly adding unknown, interdependent complexity. This complexity is already[2] spinning out of control. The only reason it seems easier today due to most of the problem being ignored.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Front_panel#Booting

[2] http://geer.tinho.net/geer.source.27iv17.txt


I agree with you. I suppose what I should have said is that software engineering is becoming much more lateral than ever before. Though it seems like the verticalness is decreasing. Hmm, I wonder if the total "area" of "verticalness" times "lateralness" has stayed constant over time :) Perhaps it is a reflection of how much time an engineer can spend on learning things, and I would expect the "area" is different across the distribution of programmers. But maybe the average area has remained invariant.


It's definitely easier. No longer do you have to wait for a book about your turbo C plus plus compiler to arrive from far away to solve a problem. Now you just Google and have an answer so fast.

It probably depends on your industry though, working on new experimental projects has a lot of benefits now because the experiments are talked about in the open on forums like Reddit and Github




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