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1 mass noun The action of functioning or the fact of being active or in effect.

functioning , working, running, performance, action, behaviour
functioning , working, running, up and running, operative, in use, in action, going
effect , force, potency, power, effectiveness

2 An act of surgery performed on a patient.

surgery , surgical operation, surgical intervention, major surgery, minor surgery

3 An organized activity involving a number of people.

in names
action , activity, exercise, affair, business, undertaking, step, enterprise, task, job, process, procedure, manoeuvre, campaign
business , enterprise, company, firm, organization, concern

4 Mathematics A process in which a number, quantity, expression, etc., is altered or manipulated according to set formal rules, such as those of addition, multiplication, and differentiation.

Phrases

come into (or go out of) operation

Begin (or cease) functioning or having effect.

put something into operation

Cause something to begin functioning or having effect.

Origin

Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin operatio(n-), from the verb operari ‘expend labour on’ (see operate).

Pronunciation

operation

/ɒpəˈreɪʃ(ə)n/
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So this is not a book about Alan Turing being a tortured genius. It’s a book about a guy called Alec Pryor who just happens to share a bunch of biographical details with Turing (Bletchley, Cambridge, ex-Fiance, arrest and chemical castration, Jungian therapist). And it’s not a book about him being sad, wronged, gay genius who kills himself. It’s a story about him living and him processes the changes in his internal life due to his punishment and his interactions with the outside world and his past and his musings on consciousness and computation.

All of which is to say Murmur is a complex, wonderfully written book that over its hundred and seventy something pages sketches out a fully realized world that doesn’t make me want to hide under the sofa in despair. And it does that rare thing for people telling this story: it doesn’t flatten out the story by focusing on the punchline but rather the person and the life behind it.

(As an aside, I’d strongly recommend Preowned Black Leather Handbag Chanel y7WVUywWr
, which talks about the damage we do by truncating our stories to make other people happy. It’s the only cultural document so far of 2018 worth going out of your way to see.)

I would recommend you find yourself a copy. It’s published by a small press, so order it from them or, if you’re in London, pop into Gays The Word and get yourself a copy.

And now that you’ve made your way through the unexpected book review, let’s get to the point

But the point of writing this post wasn’t to do a short review of a wonderful book (it was to annoy Aki who is waiting for me to finish something). But Murmur is a book that spends some time (as you inevitably do when considering an ersatz Turing) considering the philosophical implications of artificial intelligence. (Really selling it there Daniel.) And this parallels some discussion that I’ve been seeing around the traps about what we talk about when we talk about neural networks.

Also because the quote that I ripped from an absolutely wonderful run in the novel to unceremoniously shove at the top of this post made me think of how we use methods that we don’t fully understand.

The first paper I fell into (and incidentally reading papers on neural nets is my aforementioned questionable decision) has the direct title Black small Meliné handbag Serapian 2JhNNBjy
, where Cheng,Khomtchouk, and Matloff argue that we might as well use polynomial regression as it’s easier to interpret than a NN and basically gives the same answer.

The main mathematical argument in the paper is that if you build a NN with a polynomial activation function, each layer gives a higher-order polynomial. They argue that the Stone-Weierstrass approximation theorem suggests that any activation function will lead to a NN that can be well approximated by a high-order polynomial.

Now as a general rule, anytime someone whips out Stone-Weierstrass I feel a little skeptical. Because the bit of me that remembers my approximation theory remembers that the construction in this theorem is very slow to converge. I’m also alarmed by the use of high-degree polynomial regression using the natural basis and no regularization. Both of these things are a very bad idea .

© 2018 American Geophysical Union
© 2017 American Geophysical Union

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