Taarifa Hackathons: Boston, London, Dar Es Salaam

taarifa_logoA lot has changed since I last blogged about Taarifa. We have been the recipient of a World Bank Innovation Fund grant and are going through the Geeks Without Bounds Humanitarian Accelerator. Work is really kicking off in earnest now and if you follow the project you will see much happening over the next two months.

In order to improve the platform and grow the community we are running a number hackathons around the world. You are hereby cordially invited to come hack on data, software (front and back end), hardware, and all the bits between in

The Challenge

There’s not much in the way of access to clean water in Tanzania. In the informal settlements, there are a bunch of water points, but many of them are broken. Rather than a continual process of putting in new ones, the local water engineers want to fix the existing ones – but they don’t know where the broken points are. This also prevents large-scale response organizations from accurately deploying resources (and seeing what initiatives are already working).

Continue reading

Announcing Deep Learning London Meetup

dllIt has been almost half a year since I announced I would take over the London Big-O Algorithms meetup and bring it back to life. 5 Months later I am very happy to say all has gone extremely well, interest and attendance far exceeding my expectations. We have had a great set of meetups so far and all speaker slots are booked until June with talks from Google, The founder of ZeroMQ, Microsoft Bing, and many others. Really nice to see there is strong interest in good, solid, technical content.

However, enough about Big-O. This post is to announce a new meetup group that I have been convinced into setting up. The Deep Learning London meetup. The aim of this group is to bring together people interested in the family of machine learning methods that are concerned with learning distributed, hierarchical (“deep”) representations. Neural Networks being the most popular implementation. Its an area I have been looking at for a while and will be getting into quite deeply over the next couple of months (no pun intended). The format will be based around guest speakers sharing new research ideas and applications covering a wide range of fields from computer vision and natural language processing to autonomous systems and prognostics.

Note we are not assuming deep learning is the be-all end-all silver bullet of machine learning and welcome critical thoughts and benchmarks.

Sound interesting? Get in touch!

Twitter: @deeplearningldn
Hashtag: #deeplearningldn

–Dirk

RHoK 4

rhoksoton211I’m happy to announce that Random Hacks of Kindness will be coming to Southampton for the 4th time! Again with help from Alejandro Saucedo and HackaSoton.

During the weekend of 6-7 December 2013, The University of Southampton will be one of the satellite cities as part of the global Random Hacks of Kindness Event!

See below for the problem statements. This time around Im particularly interested in any UAV related problems.

Twitter hashtag: #rhoksoton

Eventbrite - Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) Southampton

We are proud and very grateful to be supported by Enterprise and Digital Economy at the University of SouthamptonMicrosoft Gadgeteer, Business Analyst Mentor,  ScanToSecure, and ATASS.

Continue reading

UAVs meet Node.js – NodeCopter comes to Southampton on 10 Aug

nodecopterlogoI have always been a fan of autonomous flying machines, particular their civilian applications, and through my past work at the University I have been fortunate to be able to work on the design and building of UAVs. I have also been a keen attender of various meetups and hackathons .

I was therefore immediately sold when I heard about the Node Copter concept: getting together and see what you can make a Parrot AR Drone do by the end of the day using node.js. Best explained by video:

I got in touch with Benjie (from So Make It) and Andy Nesbitt (who has run a number of these) asking them if they were interested in helping organize one in Southampton.

Both responded with a “hell yeah!” and after some prep Im happy to announce that you can should sign up on the Eventbrite page:

Eventbrite - Nodecopter Southampton

The event will be held at the makerspace itself. There is a small attendance charge to avoid people signing up but not turning up.

Some prior coding experience (in whatever language) is required.

See you there!

Dirk

3rd RHoK from the South

rhoksoton211First we RHoKed it, then we RHoKed it again and now I’m happy to announce I will running the 3rd global RHoK in Southampton as well. Again with help from Alejandro Saucedo and HackaSoton.

During the weekend of 1-2 June 2013, The University of Southampton will be one of the satellite cities as part of the global Random Hacks of Kindness Event!

Click here for the detailed programme

Twitter hashtag: #rhoksoton

Eventbrite - Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) Southampton


* Updates:


Continue reading

Raspberry Pi GPIO Workshop

Update: a writeup of the event by Lorraine is here.

A shot post to say that I am co-organizing a Raspberry Pi workshop with The IET Solent Branch at the University of Southampton on 25 April. For personal reasons I cannot make it myself that day but do go along if you want to learn about how to use the GPIO pins on your Pi board!

Raspberry Pi - 25 April Poster

Btw, if you can’t make it but live in the area, do checkout somakeit.org.uk. Recently launched and we now have a space!

–Dirk

Enlightened Geek Listening

geeklisteningFor some reason I never did any podcast listening until about 10 months ago. At that point I decided to give it a go and quickly assembled an initial list of subscriptions by googling around to see what similar minded peers were listening to. Its amazing (and frustrating) how much interesting stuff is out there.

My current list has evolved considerably since then and the purpose of this post is to give an overview of the shows I’m currently subscribed to and why. Hopefully it may inspire others to listen to some of them and share their own.

The different subscriptions cover my interests in technology & software, programming, (aerospace) engineering, and socio-economic/political topics. As well as a broader interest in science related topics and the scientific method.

Continue reading