Anyone who has read my very first post will know a bit about my background inasmuch as I spent 15 years in the RAF and upon leaving I went straight to university for 4 years to complete an honours degree in Business Computing. In the 4th year of my course it was mandatory that every student undertake an honours project. If you didn’t do a project then regardless of how high your marks were overall you would not get the ‘Hons’ bit appended to your title of BSc. Pretty standard stuff.
We had a choice when it came to the project itself, either we could pick one ‘off the shelf’ which would be a university approved topic for further exploration or if you didn’t fancy a ready made project you could come up with your own. If you chose the latter, which very few people ever did, it meant extra work in that you had to present your idea first to a board of senior staff who would then decide whether or not you could go ahead with it.
One look at the list of projects on the notice board was all it took for me to know that I had to do my own thing. I didn’t even understand some of the topic titles and others were such epic bores that I knew I wouldn’t be doing myself any favours by tackling them. So now I’m faced with coming up with something of my own so I went to see my personal tutor (everyone was assigned a personal tutor to oversee their honours project progress), a man named Victor Bassilious. I wanted to know what kind of things they were looking for in terms of a self devised project and Victor told me they were looking for something that required us to delve into areas that we so far hadn’t covered in any of our classes but was obviously computing related.
In the 4th year we had covered things like knowledge based systems and looked at artificial intelligence but that’s as far as we went and as subjects in their own right I found them interesting. The logical progression would be to move onto Neural Networks and therein lay the embryo of an idea for my own project.
Two weeks following my initial chat with Victor I was sitting nervously outside the room next door to Victor’s armed with cue cards, notes, Powerpoint slides, a Racing Post, and a Daily Express. I was waiting for the heads up that the four man panel inside the room were ready for my presentation entitled ‘Neural Networks For Horse Race Prediction’. They accepted my idea and I would go on to receive the Addison Wesley Longman prize for Computer Science as my project received the highest marks overall in the 4th year. The prize consisted of two very large books about neural networks published, not unexpectedly, by Addison Wesley.
Now, I’m not telling you that to blow my own trumpet, it just happens to be a nice ending to what started as a very real dilemma for me but what’s that got to do with my post title ‘I’m Spewing’ ?
As there’s not much going on today I was going to do a piece about how to go about using neural networks to help you with your punting. It sounds hard but believe me it’s not technically very difficult, it’s just time consuming training the networks. I was going to refer to my bound project that I know was on my bookshelf not two months ago but now is gone. I relocated the bookshelf and it’s contents and I purged it of a load of glossy magazines (no, not those glossy mags) and threw them into the recycling bin. Today I’m looking for my project to help write my post and it’s nowhere to be found. I’m fucking livid if the truth be told as it was irreplaceable. The floppy it was on is long gone and the hard drive that it was on is probably in some landfill somewhere. The only known bound copy is archived at the University of Abertay in Dundee.
I stil have the general ideas in my head as to how to go about doing something similar and if anyone is interested in learning more add a comment and we’ll see where it leads us. On the punting front I’m not really sure that I want to get involved today though if I do it will almost certainly be a dutch of 1-0, 2-0, and 2-1 in the Metz game. That’s all for now as I’m going to return to turning the house upside down looking for my lost project.
UPDATE>>>>>>>>> Well the Metz v Le Havre game finished 2-0 so, while I didn’t bet on the match in the end, at least my prediction was correct. Still no joy finding my missing project so it looks like it’s gone for good. The rest of my day will be taken up by making a start on Mrs Swearbox’s broken pc so I’ll bid you a good afternoon and will be back tomorrow.