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Neural network applications w/ Ersatz + beer

  • Jun 26, 2013 · 6:30 PM
  • This location is shown only to members

After a bit of a hiatus, SF Neural Network Aficionados is back!

This time, I'm going to be showing everyone how to use neural nets in actual applications.  I will demonstrate this using the Ersatz API (Ersatz is the neural network PaaS product my company has been working on for a while)  These methods will be broadly applicable to any NN architecture/product/package/whatever you might want to use, so feel free to replace Ersatz with your NN solution of choice.

The main things I'll be focusing on are the practical aspects of what kinds of problems you can solve using neural networks, along with how to get your data setup as "inputs" and what to do with the "outputs" you get back from your NN. I'll also show you how to diagnose and remedy training issues, such as exploding gradients or overfitting.

I'm hosting at a new location this time--about a block away at Nextspace instead of Wework.

Also, if anyone would like to speak at a future meetup, or if you have anything in particular you'd like *me* to try to cover, please let me know.

Looking forward to seeing you all again and hearing about the latest work you've been doing with NNs.

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  • Craig R.

    FYI, the ACM San Francisco Bay Area Professional Chapter is hosting a panel discussion on "Machine Learning as a Service" on July 22: Unfortunately their panelists do not include our host Dave Sullivan of Ersatz, but it is an opportunity to see some of the other offerings in this space.

    July 12, 2013

  • Dave S.

    Thanks for coming last night everyone, I had a great time talking to all of you (hopefully it's mutual!)

    I've put a video of the talk up on youtube: Feel free to share/tweet/whatever

    Unfortunately, the video cuts off midway through, so a lot of the great discussion towards the end is missing. But there's still a lot of good stuff there.

    If anyone would like to speak at the next meetup or has any ideas for topics, please feel free to contact me directly.


    June 27, 2013

  • Craig R.

    Thanks to Dave Sullivan for the presentation and organizing the event.

    Dave mentioned Hinton's "knock out" approach to NN training. Papers on this topic are available from Prof. Hinton's U of Toronto group ( but a great place to start is this video of his presentation "Brains, Sex, and Machine Learning" last year at Google (who has since acquired his small company):

    Someone else mentioned the NEAT/HyperNEAT evolutionary optimization approaches advocated by UCF Prof. Ken Stanley ( I was surprised to hear that mentioned at a neural net meetup, but I've met Ken at game AI conferences, and we also share an interest in texture synthesis. Variants of NEAT have been applied to some very cool problems (eg:

    June 27, 2013

  • Allen H.

    Perfect size group, plenty of discussion and demonstration, and really good prospects for more meets in the future.

    June 27, 2013

  • John E.

    Fun. Every interesting discussions went on.

    June 26, 2013

  • mat k.

    sad i couldn't come, but next time for sure.

    June 26, 2013

  • Ross B.

    Thanks for hosting a great meetup. Looking forward to doing it again and getting a sense of what other people are working on.

    June 26, 2013

  • Allen H.

    Great meet up Dave. Definitely interested in trying your service. I fall into the category of user with a deep knowledge of the business application but only modest knowledge of the science. Could be a good mash up there, advertisers have deep pockets.

    June 26, 2013

  • Dave S.

    If anyone has trouble getting in, my # is[masked] 0578. And remember: it's at nextspace (not Wework)

    June 26, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I have a small app where I used open source NN (brain.js).

    I can show what I have.

    I'm not 100% if I can make it to the meetup though...

    June 26, 2013

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