Alok Govil

Simplifier in Science, Technology, and Life

Computer Vision Basics in Microsoft Excel

Hello everyone!

In this very unique and fun work, we’ll learn Computer Vision from very basics using sample algorithms implemented within Microsoft Excel, using plain-old Excel formulas! We use a surprise trick that helps us demonstrate and visualize algorithms like Face Detection, Convolutional Neuron, etc., within Excel. No external libraries, no scripts, no plugins are used.

After having delivered lectures based on these Excel files seven times so far, including at two colleges, we are open sourcing these under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0), courtesy of Amazon.

That was a very unique talk, great that you are sharing it to a wider audience!

István Fehérvári, PhD, Sr. Machine Learning Scientist

Detailed instructions, along with the Excel files, are available here: https://github.com/amzn/computer-vision-basics-in-microsoft-excel

Hacker News discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22357374

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The Future is Behind Us!

In English, future is ahead of us. In Aymara, it is behind us!

That is a better system actually, since we can see the past ahead of us, but not the future behind. We use the past to take limited guesses on what the future may hold.

It ain’t much different from walking backwards. We thereby sometimes miss seeing obstacles, topple over, …

If we deviate from the norms, we have higher chances of failures as we would know less of what’s behind. And we may also reach places not discovered before.

Cover Photo: Pixabay

{Originally posted on LinkedIn.}

At Shaheed Rajguru College of Applied Sciences for Women

Pleasure to have delivered a lecture at Shaheed Rajguru College of Applied Sciences For Women. This is a government-funded college to prepare women for professional and STEM fields. Some 150 students attended, plus around 6-7 professors. 🙂

The professors said I taught an entire syllabus in a few hours. Students too were usually nodding their heads and seemed to follow it well. 🙂

“Hi Alok, Thank you so much for the lecture in my sister’s college…she was telling me that the students didn’t believe that there are still geniuses like you in India… Keep inspiring the younger generation!!”

{With Minor edits}

I didn’t expect such a feedback! Glad to have been able to inspire the students. 🙂

I’ll be opening up the details of the session along with the slides soon. 🙂

{Originally posted on LinkedIn.}

To learn to write well, read a lot too!

“Toddlers learn to speak not only by practicing speaking but also by listening. It isn’t very different for others: To learn to write well, read a lot too!”

“I recommend taking your reading beyond your professional areas of interest to capture writing styles from across the board.”

[A thought I shared in Advanced Writing Course I delivered at Amazon. Thanks to Dipika Mukim for organizing.]

It’s in the power of the human mind that is still not understood by scientists:

  • A language is not taught. It is magically picked up by toddlers and others. The teachers just guide and supply the needed corrections.
  • The same thing applies to grammar. Grammar books are barely complete in their coverage of the rules. Yet, we subconsciously know a much larger number of them.
  • Likewise, someone taking a writing session can only be a guide. Reading is the true teacher. Plus, writing practice (with a good feedback mechanism) helps move towards perfection.

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Gender Equality in Communication and Language

Men surely often do. Even women often use “him” when the gender of subject is not known. Through the ages women seem to have accepted these norms whether they like it or not. A customer or an engineer becomes a “him” by default. A receptionist, an assistant, a teacher becomes “her”. “Air Host” is barely even a word [1-5].

I used to regret this as a flaw in the English language [6] (albeit there are efforts for solving [7-8]). Now I feel that this weakness of the language is a constant reminder of a much bigger problem in the society! We have a long way to go before gender neutrality is achieved [9].

Let’s start using the pronouns right. An easy way is to use gender-neutral plural pronouns (they, them …) instead of singular ones (her, him, …).

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