So for the past 10 weeks I have been in Paris working on artificial intelligence research at Universitie Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC). As I wrap up my work for the trip and prepare to come back to the States, I wanted to write about the research part of the trip as opposed to the previous posts I have done that have focused on spending time in the city.
When I was taking French classes in middle school the go-to video for when we had a substitute teacher was a documentary on the Chateau at Versailles. Seeing the same documentary five times a year did not make me want to go to Versailles anymore then I already did. Fortunately it did not dull my interest so six weeks into my stay in Paris I decided to check it out myself. Versailles (Vear-Sie) is about as close to Paris as Versailles (Ver-Sales) is to Lexington. I was accompanied on my excursion by a group of students from Chicago who were visiting Paris.
After four weeks in Paris, I left the city for the first time to spend the weekend just outside of Geneva, Switzerland. I was going to be visiting my girlfriend's father who works for Lexmark there. As I took the train away from Paris I began to see what had become an unfamiliar sight - nature that had not been completely shaped by human hands. It's not that Paris has no grass or trees but when you see green it is usually in a park that has been manicured to perfection. The three hour train ride gave me my view of France outside of Paris.
The day that is Memorial day in the United States is also a holiday in France. So instead of going to work today I once again set out to see more of Paris. The goal for today: L'Arc de Triomphe, Les Champs-Elysees, and Place de la Concorde. L'Arc de Triomphe was my number one must-see for my time in Paris.
Since Paris is my home for the next two months I am trying hard to be more Parisien than tourist. However, I am in Paris. It would be foolish to not go see the sights. So with that in mind I set out this weekend to be a tourist. First thing on Saturday I took the metro to a crepe café near the Eiffel tower. The previous weekend I had met up with friends in the UK honors program on the honors trip to Europe and we went there. Since I planned on starting my day at the Eiffel Tower I decided to return. The owner and his wife are very friendly.
I've been working on a system for recommending courses to students based on the past performance of similar students. Hopefully the system will be a useful tool for students wishing to gain some idea of what courses they might do well in. However another purpose of designing this system is to compare it with an artificial intelligence advising system that is being worked on in the computer science department. The comparison would be to see how artifical intelligence does with planning for students versus a netflix style advising system (technical term is collaborative filtering).
Many of us are familiar with the movie rental service Netflix. One of the features of Netflix is a recommendation system that recommends movies to the user based on their past selections and the data from similar users. While the system can't always predict perfectly what you will enjoy it is fairly accurate in gauging your tastes and using them to find movies or tv shows that you would enjoy. This system uses a technique called collaborative filtering for filtering through the company's vast collection of user data.