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Book: Programming Collective Intelligence

posted on 02 Dec 2009 Programming books are seldom page turners, even for geeks like us. And programming books often fail to go beyond the technology. Programming books are rarely as good as this one. Allow me to digress for a moment. Online there is a lot of data about you. And me. Our reactions have been logged, our desires noted. You know where I am now. I know your status. Ok, I'm being dramatic, but bear with me. I have a point. All this data tells one story and million stories in their gritty details. And since past behaviour is a good predictor of future behaviour, I can read your vekernel_triclry future in those million stories. Not so easy, of course. All those records are generated by humans and computers. It's cybernetic data, its scale and complexity are beyond belief. We can only make sense of that data using computers. Back to the topic. This very thick yet enjoyable book is a programmer's journey in the world of machine learning and statistics. The author, Toby Segaran, is brilliant. He will hold your hand while describing many algorithms an techniques. He'll tell you just enough theory to make sense of what's going on. And then, plain simple python, down with the implementation. Interested in building and thinking about a recommendation engine? What about picking a good music generessolution to a proble, amongst millions? Curious about genetic programming? Wanna have your own spam filter? The last great thing about this book are the example. Real world, not your usual fictional pet shop. You'll fetch data from your delicious account, correlate live stock market data from yahoo, analyze your favorite blogs and more stuff. Tony writing is unpretentious and the book is easy to read, but beware there is a lot of meat to digest. Don't rush.


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