Thought Experiment logo

image-1A quick word on the thought experiment logo. I had this logo designed using Freelancer – a great site for getting all sorts of things done. I’ve seen these guys present at investor meetings in Sydney and Auckland and I previously used the service to get a design for my gates at home: for just $20 I got 18 designs, selected one and my father-in-law built it with me as manual labour. I’m still pretty proud of those gates.


Again for $20, I ran a competition, this time for a logo. My Ph.D supervisor, John Andreae used a stylised cat, to illustrate his PURR-PUSS AI system. I suggested in the competition notes that they use this combined with the thought experiment Schrödinger’s cat to come up with a logo. I received about 20 designs and ended up choosing the one on the top right. It’s a lot better than what I could have come up with myself.img_1246-1.jpg

My PhD thesis

I did my PhD in the 1990s in artificial intelligence. I focused on artificial neural networks, in particular the Sparse Distributed Memory (SDM) and the Cerebellar Model Articulation Controller (CMAC), investigating their capabilities and capacities.  This included their ability to store and recognize sequences. I also looked at how to combine the CMAC with a robot learning system called PURR-PUSS.  In a simple control problem I was able to show how CMAC could learn from PURR-PUSS, providing smother control.

IMG_1585My thesis has sat I my bookshelf for the past ~30 years and I thought even though it’s old, I should make it a little more accessible. I had a back up on floppy disks and although I was able to get the data off the disks, I failed to find a copy of Norton Backup that could read the 30 year old files. So I resorted to scanning the book and using OCR to convert it into text.

You can download a PDF of my thesis titled Investigations into the capabilities of the SDM and combining CMAC with PURR-PUSS. The diagrams are the scans from the dot matrix printout I did all those years ago.

I completed my PhD at the University of Canterbury, supervised by John Andreae who continues to contribute to the field in his 90s. My examiners were Ian Witten and an American academic that I can’t remember.

After creating a digital copy of my thesis I discovered that the university also has a copy here. This goes to show that just because you’ve got a PhD, it doesn’t mean you’re that bright.