Open Thoughts

September 2009 archive

Open-source Software for Scientific Computation

September 18, 2009

The First International Workshop on Open-source Software for Scientific Computation starts today in Guiyang, China. It is strongly supported by Scilab and the OW2 consortium, and in fact there is a competition for creating toolboxes in Scilab. From the conference website:

"The aim of OSSC 09 is to provide an international forum of exchanging the knowledge of using open-source software for scientific computation within the communities from education, academics, to industries. We expect contribution papers focusing on the development and applications of open-source software for scientific computation."

As announced earlier in a forum post (the original is here), the paper submission and revision actually happens after the conference. When I first heard about this, I was totally confused, since I'm so used to the machine learning conferences which have submission deadlines a long way before the conference. Then I realised that the projects presented at the conference are based on abstracts only. On one hand, I think this is quite nice, as the full papers submitted after the conference would benefit from the feedback obtained during the conference. On the other hand, this means that for large communities, the conference itself would be extremely huge. Since open source in scientific computing is still a fledgling field, the increase in exposure for young researchers is invaluable and I think this is the right mode of operation. There has been some discussion in machine learning about how to reduce reviewer load, and perhaps one way to do so is to convert to this mode of operation. I'm not sure what this would mean for conference attendance though. More people attending because they only need to submit abstracts? Or less people coming because they do not have an "accepted paper"?

microsoft codeplex

September 15, 2009

Are there machine learning open source software at codeplex? Typing machine learning into the search interface results in 16 hits, mostly results related to learning. Three projects seemed promising. The first two do not have any releases yet, but the source repository is available.

Machine Learning Framework

The project description on the site says:

Machine Learning Framework (MLF) is a library based on .NET Framework for machine learning implementation. This library consists of collection of machine learning algorithms such as Bayesian, Neural Network, SOM, Genetic Algorithm, SVM, and etc.

Objective This library can help researchers, students, and programmers to build application based on Machine Learning using .NET platform easily.

Fire Ants

The project description says:

FireAnts is an action game similar to Bomberman. It's designed to be a platform for different AI and machine learning techniques.

Microsoft Computational Biology Tools

This is the most mature of the projects. There is a link to a web interface which seemed very sluggish to me, but as is the trend in many projects for computational biology, computation is hidden behind the browser. See for example the annual Nucleic Acids Research web server issue which has 112 projects listed, or the compiled list to all projects published in NAR.

The source is available under the Microsoft Reciprocal License (Ms-RL).


Unfortunately, it seems that is not open source.