Wednesday, August 06, 2008

To Happy Grounds, Prof. Michalski
I just discovered that the professor who most amazed me, Ryszard Michalski, died of cancer last fall. If you look on my profile for favorite books, Machine Learning: An Artificial Intelligence Approach, is at the top. As a technologist who is better than average with words and long fascinated with logic and the future, no other class quite caught my interest as much as his Machine Learning lectures. I was supposed to be on campus to study business--yet here was this genius teaching the very incarnation of science fiction itself! Artificial machines which could not just deduce, but invent!! How remarkable!

And the underlying math and mechanics! Who knew that there were so many types of logics? That logic might preserve truth--or might not!? That learning itself could be classified and taxonomified?

Alas, I didn't have the CS background to excel in this class, everyone else was in the dept., and I a lone transplant. A certain vocabulary and programming sophistication were assumed. Yet Ryszard was kind enough to respect the desire to learn--his lectures were far more human than most--and still honor the necessities of grading. Most members of the class produced a working ML program of some sort; he left open the option of a final, which probably I alone took. I doubt he needed the extra work of writing and grading it.

Via con Dios, Ryschard Michalski. I wager many, many past students celebrate your excellence.

University Mourns Death of Prof. Michalski - The Mason Gazette - George Mason University

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