Week 3: Neural Networks and Punk Rock

Share This:

Sunday, June 19, 2022


Benjamin Johnson

This week, I continued my experiment on the various methods we can implement to train a Reservoir Computer (RC).  On Monday, I moved on from the first training technique (output matrix averaging) to the second technique: passing the mu value from the Van der Pol system directly into the RC as an additional dimension.  Previously, we had modeled the one-dimensional system (only in x) using two dimensions, with x describing the position of the oscillator and y serving as the derivative of x with respect to time.  With this second training method, we now added mu as a constant third dimension.  After spending a great deal of time tweaking the RC parameters, I was able to find an algorithm through which the RC analyzes the mu values passed in during the training period and predicts systematic behavior for a new mu value which it had not previously seen.  I have yet to compare the first two training techniques directly, but once the third and final method is operational, I’ll run experimental analysis on all three to determine the benefits and disadvantages of each.

After the second algorithm was functional, I moved onto the third.  This method is slightly more complicated because it involves employing a different form of machine learning to train the RC.  The idea is to use a simpler framework, called a feed-forward neural network, to determine the output weight matrices that will allow the RC to predict the system accurately.  At this point, I have a fair amount of code written, but have been unsuccessful thus far in effectively training the RC to model the equations.  I will pick back up troubleshooting tomorrow to work out the kinks and find an efficacious implementation. 

Outside of work, I had another very busy week.  Emma’s and Div’s birthdays were Monday and Tuesday respectively (happy birthday, y’all!), so we spent some time celebrating with them.  On Wednesday, I drove down to Norfolk, Virginia to see one of my favorite bands play at the Norva.  The band I saw is called PUP and they’re easily one of the best punk rock bands of recent years.  Definitely worth a listen if you like pop punk, so check them out!  The openers were Oceanator and Angel Du$t, neither of which I was familiar with, but they killed it as well.  I’m going to have to listen to a few of their albums now. 

On Saturday, the folks at AIP were kind enough to take the interns to a symphony at the University of Maryland, which we all thoroughly enjoyed.  I hadn’t attended a symphony since I was in elementary school, so I was thrilled for the opportunity.  I love classical music, and they put on a fantastic show. 

That’s all for this week, so see you next blog post!


(P.S. Don’t ask, Janessa made me do it.)

Benjamin Johnson