H2O: easy machine learning

I learnt H2O in a meetup group in this post. The demo and presentation were impressive. It’s been a while but I have always wanted to try it.

Ok, so I started with this page: https://github.com/h2oai/h2o-3

I must say it’s not the clearest instruction I’ve seen. I first installed using pip and conda. Import successful! And then use: h2o.init(ip=”localhost”, port=54323)

It’s pretty funny it says the version is too old. I just downloaded it!

(Failures: In between, I tried build which didn’t work. There was an error message about R. Then I tried install R. But the error message is still there. And the attempt to try to install h2o in R didn’t work either. It’s been so long since I used R!)

But actually, the easiest thing is to follow this page: http://h2o-release.s3.amazonaws.com/h2o/rel-ueno/7/index.html

After running the .jar file, use this  http://localhost:54321 (they call it flow http://docs.h2o.ai/h2o/latest-stable/h2o-docs/flow.html).
There is a GUI for deep learning and data, etc. A bit like weka on steroids 😀

Tried using the deep learning example. Start:




The estimation of time is not that accurate.

And it’s pretty hard on the CPUs with default settings:


There are lots of other products on different platform from this company. More explorations to be done.

Meet up groups in the Netherlands

Meet up groups are so vibrant in the Netherlands!

Here’re a few I’ve been to already:

Japanese Speaking in Utrecht: https://www.meetup.com/Japanese-Speaking-Meetup-in-Utrecht/

Data Science in Utrecht: https://www.meetup.com/Data-Science-Utrecht/

Language Cafe in Utrecht: https://www.meetup.com/Language-Cafe-Utrecht/

Artificial Intelligence Deep Learning in Amsterdam: https://www.meetup.com/Amsterdam-Artificial-Intelligence-Deep-Learning/

Amsterdam Data Science: https://www.meetup.com/Amsterdam-Data-Science/

There’s another one. Not really a meet up group but has that kind of feeling to it:

Manga kissa: https://www.mangakissa.nl/

Some pics from the Language Cafe in Utrecht and the Artificial Intelligence Deep Learning in Amsterdam:

Every one of them had 10-200 participants! It’s a good thing that we meet new people in the groups, hear new stories, and learn new things or just become motivated to learn new things. Stay motivated!


Magenta: starter code

This is my second try with magenta now. The first one was last year when it was just released, but I couldn’t figure out anything in the end… Now it seems to have got much better. And maybe I got more familiar with the terms as well 😀

So, basically follow the code given here: https://github.com/tensorflow/magenta

I actually did both the automatic install and the manual install because an error message about a module called six (happened both times). Solved in a simple way:
pip uninstall six
pip install six

After installation, one important thing to notice:
Note that you will need to run source activate magenta to use Magenta every time you open a new terminal window.

And then, success yay!

To see the generated files:

The first melody looks like this (using musescore):3

And then I tried using bazel:

BUNDLE_PATH=/Users/irisren/Downloads/attention_rnn.mag  CONFIG=’attention_rnn’ bazel run //magenta/models/melody_rnn:melody_rnn_generate — –bundle_file=${BUNDLE_PATH}  –config=${CONFIG}

Basically did the same thing as above. More explorations to be done!

Playing with the Youtube 8M dataset – starter code

The code I used can be found here: https://github.com/google/youtube-8m
The following is how I got the start code running and how much it costs 😀

The first issue I ran into was when I was configuring the gcloud account. First you have to enter your credit card info, but since google says they will ask for authorisation before charging, I’m gonna trust them… (Wasn’t a good experience putting my credit card on aws)

But it was werid to be that because I’m in Europe, I have to create a business account, although I was only testing for myself. And then I got denied when creating the billing account and enabling billing for the project. I suspect that was something to do with my geolocation as well, so I used another google account and used my old university vpn to get me the US access. Then, everything went fine…

Finally, I enabled ML API on google cloud for the project and it’s just very satisfying to see the successful message:
So I went on to the console of gcloud and checked the status: it’s running!!

Second day. I came back and check the status again: 51A38E18-B89B-4414-93F7-12448CBD5DEC975231F9-886D-4A84-A45A-8107B301BF22
Since there is a free $300 credit from google, it didn’t really cost anything. But it’s good to know the actual cost 😛

Of course I also tried running it locally:F126DE7E-F29D-47E1-97CD-35674842EA91

It was quite hard on my CPU…

And in the end, because it’s the beginner’s code, it seems that it won’t stop for a while. So I had to stop it manually…
More explorations to be done!


I was very into drawing once when I was in high school. I tried to draw and paint more when I was in the US. But a lack of time is always the issue…

It would simply be a waste to not use my big iPad and apple pencil to draw something though. So, with little time, I learnt a little bit of how to use sketches.app

It’s fun to learn how to control the hand, how to figure out the ratios of things, how the digital tools can mimic reality.

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Colouring is relaxing, too. But sometimes even harder. Maybe more on that in another post.

And unfortunately, I still can’t draw out of nothing (well, I can, but the results are terrible)…

Pattern Recognition Course in Delft

Almost a month ago, I went to this ASCI course to fulfil my “study plan”. It wasn’t very pleasant to get up everyday at 6:30am and take the train to Rotterdam and then bus to Delft, but it was better with my office mates 😛

The course was a good overview of the machine learning and pattern recognition materials I learnt before. Some of them I only learnt on my own and had some loopholes, so it was good to have them solid in this course.  There are new theorems, new concepts and new applications, too, like the impossible theorem for clustering. I now know why some people hate clustering…

One unfortunately thing is that the main package used in the course is in Matlab. I admit it can still be sometimes useful though. I also took the opportunity and learnt Weka. Can be handy, too. The slides and exercises of the course can be found here: http://www.prcourse.net/about/

The campus of TUDelft was quite nice. A little resemblance to Utrecht but seems to be bigger. Had a lunch outside Aula on the grass!

Musicologists’ dreams

Based on the research of a colleague,  dr. F. (Frans) Wiering, I re-drew his diagrams of musicologists’ dreams on an ipad using an apple pencil. I used the app sketches (tayasui), and drew using the transparent layer functionality (more drawings coming using this!).

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It’s very nice to know what tools musicologists would like to have. Personal research cloud + Unified deep access + Collaborative source study + Empirical music research , etc. These are dreams at different stages but there’re definitely some relations among the four dreams. Frans presented in the Lorenz workshop, I should have remembered better. But it just seems to me not modular enough for the system to be efficient.

Some other questions also popped out during a casual discussion with my office mates during lunch.  The main one being that these general purpose tools are probably not of interests to the researchers who developed these tool: they might be already available and just not assembled in a convenient way; while the tools which have more specific purposes are more interesting but have a smaller scope and hard to integrate. Unless there has been already a platform/protocol somewhere which can integrate the modular tools in a nice way? Well, I don’t really know much yet what tools musicologists use…This is a problem in general, too, isn’t it?

Workshop Computational Ethnomusicology: Methodologies for a New Field




This is the first Lorentz workshop I went about a month ago. There were many useful lectures and discussions. It was nice to see many familiar faces again, too.

The time allocation was particularly good: lectures in the morning with plenty coffee time + working group and general discussion in the afternoon (with plenty coffee time of course). Everyone normally got their own office as well. Very nice working environment.

Lectures: There were a mixture of musicologists and computer science lectures. The speakers seemed had made adjustment to the audience – also a mixture of musicologists and computer scientists. There were some wisdom passing around, like: stay healthy from staying away a little from self abstraction, the falling Icarus painting, etc.

Discussions: The coffee time was long enough to meet old friends and new people, discuss about our recent progresses, make new plans about the future, and sometimes just chat away. Gotta love the coffee and juice machine.

Working group: It was a pain to decide which working group we should make and go to. But the ones I went to — language and music, visualisation, open discussion, etc. —  I learnt a lot from them. I hope I contributed to the discussion as well…

Social and Leiden (and Den haag): We stayed in a hotel organised by the Lorentz centre. It’s one of the best hotels I stayed in! Of course we also went explore the city of Leiden (went to a steak place where you can choose your own knife!) and spent a few hours in Den Haag meeting friends.


It’s been so long that I feel like I have forgot a lot about this workshop. We also planned to interview people and update the website… But the trips and the deadline last month successfully kept me away from writing anything about them on the blog. I’ll gradually write them back…

Playing music in Utrecht

It’s been a few month since I got to Utrecht. The main music playing place I’ve been to so far is parnassos.nl. They offer many interesting music, arts, and dance courses which I might give it a try next term. But the sound proof there is terrible!!! The big rooms upstairs are better. But still not great. Missing Eastman practice rooms….

I’ve also been to HKU to play in a band of my office mates, which was a lot of fun! But HKU seems to be exclusive for their enrolled students. Need more infiltration 😛

The first ensemble I joined was the Baroque ensemble, Kunstorkest, at Parnassos. Simple pieces with Baroque playing style: that’s the goal here. But unfortunately the rehearsal time coincide with the only Irish session in town… what should I do..

I also went to a Balfolk session once. Had a fun time there learning tunes by ear. And subsequently I went to a Balfolk dance session, which was even more fun (another post maybe?)

From the Kunstorkest, I got to know another temporary group. We had a concert in Amsterdam in Easter. I met more people in this group, and hopefully can find more chance to play.

Apart from the violin, I joined a women’s choir, Medusa. We sing all kinds of songs, have all kinds of activities: surprise events, rehearsal weekend on a dutch farm, etc. (Kunstorkest weekend rehearsal was in a dutch kindergarden :D)

One thing surprised me though is that people here normally pay for (not getting paid!) joining a choir or an orchestra. I also heard about the cutting of funding for music and arts in the Netherlands. There might be some correlation there…

Ad time: I’m actively looking for chamber music groups and other ensembles 😀 Please let me know if you need a violin player who can fiddle and sing a little too 😛