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Colin McMillen
Works at Google
Attended Carnegie Mellon University
Lives in Boston
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Have them in circles
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Work
Occupation
Software Engineer
Employment
  • Google
    Staff Software Engineer, 2009 - present
  • reCAPTCHA
    Co-Founder, 2007 - 2009
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Boston
Previously
Minneapolis - Pittsburgh - Tokyo
Apps with Google+ Sign-in
  • 0h h1
  • Flappy Bird
Story
Bragging rights
I proposed to my wife using obfuscated Perl code. My Erdős number is 4.
Education
  • Carnegie Mellon University
    Ph.D. Computer Science, 2003 - 2009
  • University of Minnesota
    B.S. Computer Science, 1999 - 2003
  • Robbinsdale Cooper High School
    1995 - 1999

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Colin McMillen

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Important announcement for all my NYC-based followers.
 
+Tim Johnson

All February long, the Times Square screens will be playing footage of a cat drinking milk from 11:57 p.m. to midnight.
Büsi (Kitty). February 1, 2016 - February 29, 2016. Peter Fischli and David Weiss · Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. As part of Midnight Moment, a monthly presentation by The Times Square Advertising Coalition (TSAC) and Times Square Arts, Peter Fischli and David Weiss will rescreen their famous ...
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Our cat is most certainly not lactose-intolerant. Little cheese-stealing bastard.
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Colin McMillen

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This whole online dating thing is tough.
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(That's a parody from a Twitter account that makes fun of British ads. But it's hysterical.)
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When you roll into the hold with your luxe playbook, roll +sharp. On a 10+, the gang's all here and you have a blast. On a 7-9, convince them to free up their fucking calendars. On a miss: well, at least you've got the recipe for Apopalypse Corn. Better get some friends, though -- you won't want to be alone next time Kreider's gang comes rolling by.

More seriously: Apoc World is probably my favorite RPG rulebook, and it's been out of print for a ~year, so this was an instant "back this on Kickstarter" for me. Most RPG books start with some trite section about "hey, you're all playing epic characters in an epic world and blah blah blah" before launching into a fairly dry description of the world and the game mechanics, whereas the Apoc World book oozes the flavor of the world throughout. For example, here's a Gunlugger move:

Fuck this shit: name your escape route and roll +hard. On a 10+: sweet, you're gone. On a 7-9: you can go or stay, but if you go it costs you: leave something behind, or take something with you, the MC will tell you what. On a miss: you're caught vulnerable, half in and half out.

The game is super easy to get into, because all the players need is 2d6 and two sheets of paper (one with the basic moves, one with their character-specific moves). As a GM, the move template makes it super easy to come up with custom moves, whether for the players' characters, your NPCs, or facets of the world ("On [condition], roll 2d6 + stat. On a 10+ [success], on a 7-9 [partial success, or success at a cost], lower than that [arbitrary bad stuff]")

If you're a GM, you want this book because (even if you never run Apoc World) it'll probably change how you think about GMing. My favorite principles from the MC chapter: look through crosshairs; make your move but never speak its name; respond with fuckery and intermittent rewards; barf forth apocalyptica.

Needless to say, the game has plenty of profanity and adult themes, so my only caveat is "probably don't plan on playing with your young kids." (But get the book now and save it till they're older.)
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Oh drat, totally didn't realize he had one. Or like, had vaguely seen this but not at a time when I was on a device that could access Patreon.
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Sounds like this will be fun :)
 
An interview with Se-Dol Lee on the upcoming match with AlphaGo!

Recently, there was an interview of Sedol Lee with a Korean journal on the upcoming big match with AlphaGo. I quickly translated it for fun (Google translate was too bad for Korean > English, because +KyungHyun Cho hasn't worked on it seriously yet ; )). Enjoy!

Original source: http://baduk.hangame.com/news.nhn?gseq=35472&m=view&page=&searchfield=&leagueseq=&searchtext=

-------------------------------------------------------

When did you get the match offer?
- Late last year. Just before the final of the Mongbaekhap Cup. I accepted it without too much worry because it's a significant honor to me.

The prize is big.
- I'm focusing more on the meaning rather than the money. It's not the money which made me accept the match.

Then, what's the meaning of the match to you.
- Anyway, it's the first official match between a human and a computer. That itself has a significant meaning to me. Also, I'm proud of the fact that I'm chosen for the match among many other players in Korea, China, and Japan.

Why do you think, you got the offer?
- I think I have a good record for the past 10 years, though not sure about the past 5 years. Anyway, it's a great honor to me.

Did you see the play of 'AlphaGo'?
- Not at all. I didn't even know that it won 5-0 to the European champion. I've heard that the match was over the Internet, and AlphaGo did very well, ... Other than that, I haven't heard anything about it. I knew little bit more about it from the news reports.

How did you decide to accept the match offer?
- Of course because I'm confident that I can beat it. I think, Google considers AlphaGo as a preliminary level algorithm on the way of making it more complete one. So, it's too helpless for human, me, to lose at this early stage. I might lose one or two games. But, I think I'll eventually win even if the score might be 3-2. I expect, 4-1 or 5-0 would be the final score.

The match style?
- We will have 5 games. What's interesting is, we will have all the 5 games even if one already wins the first three games. I think, what Google wants is the data of my plays, because they want to make the algorithm better based on my plays. In that sense, I think, for them, this is an early stage of the challenge.

What do you expect if you lose?
- It will be less shocking if the algorithm beats a (best) human (player), perhaps 2, 3, 5, or 10 years later from now, because people would already have known about the existence of this kind of algorithm. Then, people will think that we have eventually reached a time where an algorithm can win over a human player. But, I think we are not ready to accept the loss yet at the moment. There will be a huge impact.

Do you think the whole community or industry of the Go game can be threatened if you lose?
- Not sure, whether it will result in a crisis or a boom. Anyway, there will be some influence. And, personally, I will be shocked much stronger than that I had recently after losing at the final of the Mongbaekhap Cup.

This year, there is another big match, the Eungsee Cup. Then, your prize money this year could be more than 2 million dollars?
- (laugh)

Lastly, do you have anything to say more?
- I'm not sure if I represent the whole humanity, but I think I am, because they picked me for it and I accepted it. I believe that the fans of Go game will cheer for me and support me.
바둑 Plus 회원제에 가입되어 있지 않습니다. Plus 회원이 되시면 머니, 게임, 서비스의 다양한 혜택을 받으실 수 있습니다. 언제나 넉넉하게 머니혜택: 무료충전, 출금통장 UP! 연속 사용시 혜택 UP! 엄선된 아이템제공 게임혜택: 플러스회원만을 위한 특별 전용아이템 제공. 더욱 큰 즐거움을 선사하는, ...
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What's the prize money? $1 million? AlphaGo may yet become the richest program in the world! 
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Colin McMillen

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Nice.
 
Sometimes I need to take a Hangouts conversation and put the content of it in a doc, maybe to write up a post-mortem or create a transcript. Now on Hangouts on the web, if you select multiple Hangouts messages and copy you'll get a simple plain-text transcript of the conversation:


[1/28/16, 11:33 AM] Sage LaTorra (s*@gmail.com): Hey, quick question
[1/28/16, 11:33 AM] Sage LaTorra (s*@gmail.com): Did you get that thing I sent you?

(I've redacted my email address here, but if you have an email associated with your contact you'll see the whole thing.)
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There should be an en_NERD locale, where you get English messages, metric units, number formatting with scientific notation, and ISO 8601 dates.
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The next match, in March, will be more akin to Deep Blue vs. Kasparov. Go doesn't get nearly as much press coverage in the West as chess does, but this is pretty exciting. From a CS research standpoint, a lot of people thought professional-level Go play was completely intractable.

And for those who care, the approach is probably more like "how human brains work" than Deep Blue was. (I personally am system-agnostic; a computer that performs impressive tasks is equally impressive to me whether some of its structures mimic the human brain or not. The "but the computer doesn't think like a human" crowd has been moving the goalposts for decades, so that'll still probably happen here ;))

The Nature article is of course behind a paywall, but there is a "supplementary information" section that includes records of the 5 games played against the European champion.
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v529/n7587/full/nature16961.html
 
Can a computer master the ancient game of Go? With more possible board configurations than the number of atoms in the universe, experts have long thought it to be impossible. But a system developed by researchers at Google DeepMind, called AlphaGo, has done it.

Combining a state-of-the-art Monte-Carlo tree search with two deep neural networks, AlphaGo not only has defeated the top existing Go programs at the forefront of A.I. research, but also has defeated reigning 3-time European Go champion Fan Hui. 

The next challenge will be to play the top Go player in the world over the last decade, Lee Sedol, this March in Seoul, South Korea. To learn more, visit the Google Research blog, linked below.
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Hm, I can't find it now, but I thought I read somewhere that AlphaGo (non-distributed) beat Fan Hui (human) 5-0 in a formal match up, but 2-3 or 3-2 or something in another more informal matchup, implying very similar rankings (as displayed on the chart). Also, if you trust Go's handicapping system, which is quite old and well-worn, you can approximately compute your own rating even far above that of your best competitor, based on how large of a handicap they need in order to tie you. The maximum traditional handicap is 9 stones, which looks like about 1500 points on their scale. (Elo ratings for Go are less traditional / well-defined than stone ratings, I think.)
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Have them in circles
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Colin McMillen

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#TodayILearned  that eating uncooked kidney beans will likely make you violently-but-probably-not-life-threateningly ill. (And cooking them in a slow-cooker without cooking them properly first makes it 5x worse.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phytohaemagglutinin
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Huh, good to know. (:
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Great article. Strongly agreed on nearly all counts.
 
Via +Jimmy Kaplowitz, Heidi Waterhouse doing a great job of explaining why I simply will not move to California (even though that would give me a significantly better set of career options with my current employer).

Governmental dysfunction,  tax fails (HSA earnings are taxed at the state level, making them a huge pain to have), the all too likely water crisis...things add up.
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For what's worth the new Mountain View council is very functional, with a sweep of "pro-housing" candidates in the last election. They are incredibly open and transparent, with several of them engaged in a mailing list about balanced development in the area, workshops open to the public to help make decisions, etc.

Unfortunately as a whole the "Bay Area local government" is still very dysfunctional, and they in general optimize locally, much to the detriment of the area as a whole :/
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See also "Spacecraft crash injuring occupant, subsequent encounter"
 
How many ways can you be injured by a turtle?
The Wall Street Journal has an item today noting that a new federal law is about to expand the number of medical-insurance codes dramatically. The codes are used by hospitals and doctors to describ…
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"Spacecraft crash injuring observer, close encounter, third kind".
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Really simple & important framework for understanding what really matters to people at work. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/14/business/dealbook/the-secret-to-sustaining-high-job-performance.html … Embedded image. 7:19 AM - 27 Jan 2016. 76 Retweets114 Likes. Reply to @heyitsnoah ...
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+Glenn Willen - maybe give it a drop shadow?
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