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March 24, 2005

Michael Nielsen

by Michael Nielsen

I’m a writer, scientist, and programmer. I’m currently taking a sabbatical to write a technical book about artificial neural networks and deep learning. The book explains how neural networks can learn to solve complex pattern recognition problems. Early beta chapters from the book are available here. Sign up here if you’d like to receive announcements […]

April 9, 2017

Is there a tension between creativity and accuracy?

by Michael Nielsen

On Twitter, I’ve been chatting with my friend Julia Galef about tensions between thinking creatively and thinking in a way that reduces error. Of course, all other things being equal, I’m in favour of reducing error in our thinking! However, all other things are not always equal. In particular, I believe “there’s a tension, too, […]

January 31, 2014

Reinventing Explanation

by Michael Nielsen

My new essay on the use of digital media to explain scientific ideas is here.

February 6, 2013

The artist and the machine

by Michael Nielsen

In September of 2012, a team of scientists released a photograph showing the most distant parts of the Universe ever seen by any human being. They obtained the photograph by pointing the Hubble Space Telescope at a single tiny patch of sky, gradually building up an image over a total of 23 days of observation. […]

July 24, 2012


by Michael Nielsen

OSS-bot is a crawler I (Michael Nielsen) built for educational purposes — I run occasional informal meetups where programmers in Toronto get together to talk about machine learning, information retrieval, and similar topics. The crawler: (1) Is designed to be polite — it obeys robots.txt, as well as various other best practices. If you wish […]

April 29, 2012


by Michael Nielsen

The loose theme underlying my writing is the use of science and technology to improve the way we think. The essays I’m proudest of are The future of science, Is scientific publishing about to be disrupted?, and Lisp as the Maxwell’s equations of software. I’ve collected links to my writing below, organized into four categories: […]

January 25, 2012

On Elsevier

by Michael Nielsen

Elsevier is the world’s largest and most profitable scientific publisher, making a profit of 1.1 billion dollars on revenue of 3.2 billion dollars in 2009. Elsevier have also been involved in many dubious practices, including the publishing of fake medical journals sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, and the publication of what are most kindly described as […]

January 23, 2012

If correlation doesn’t imply causation, then what does?

by Michael Nielsen

That’s the question I address (very partially) in a new post on my data-driven intelligence blog. The post reviews some of the recent work on causal inference done by people such as Judea Pearl. In particular the post describes the elements of a causal calculus developed by Pearl, and explains how the calculus can be […]

October 31, 2011

Book tour

by Michael Nielsen

Click through for event details. I’ve included a few private events at organizations where it’s possible some readers work. The Tech Museum (Bay Area) November 1 Harvard Book Store / Cambridge Forum (Boston) November 9 Authors@Google (Bay Area) November 15. San Francisco Public Library (San Francisco) November 15 Microsoft Colloquium (Seattle) November 16 Town Hall […]

October 31, 2011

(Some) garbage in, gold out

by Michael Nielsen

During a recent talk David Weinberger asked me (paraphrasing) whether and how the nature of scientific knowledge will change when it’s produced by large networked collaborations? It’s a great question. Suppose it’s announced in the next few years that the LHC has discovered the Higgs boson. There will, no doubt, be a peer-reviewed scientific paper […]