Exploring some algorithms essential for self-driving

Disclaimer: All the ideas and algorithms in this post are public knowledge and does not use proprietary information from my current or former employers.

My goal with this post is to give a little insight into the kinds of problems we think about in the autonomous vehicle (AV) industry. I’ll go over the problem of forced merges on the highway and why actor predictions are crucial for them. Then I’ll dive into a recent paper on predictions for AVs, and apply it to the specific case of forced merges. Finally, I’ll give my thoughts on what the limitations are and…

I spent two years in graduate school working toward a Masters in Computer Science, with a focus in theory, while also serving as a teaching assistant for EECS 376, Foundations of Computer Science. I often joke to friends that the material taught in class had little practical value, which has more than a grain of truth; theoretical computer science is usually far-removed from my daily life as a software engineer. In fact, some of my professors advised me against specializing in theory, recommending more lucrative specialties like Artificial Intelligence or Security. …

More than ever, I’ve been mentally preoccupied with the threat of political polarization to American society. The last four years, I’ve seen exactly how much harm a president can do to standards of civility and discourse. I hope we can collectively choose to live in a world that’s less divided and more nuanced. The simple truth, I believe, is there usually is no simple truth. And we desperately need leaders who can hold space in their hearts and minds for the often contradictory experiences of others.

At the same time that the world is becoming more complex than ever, we’ve…

I spent this past Saturday, Sep 21, at the Github office in San Francisco, attending the “Day of Civic Hacking” hosted by Code For America. We started the day by listening to lightning talks from the following speakers, describing different aspects of housing in SF:

  • Donna Hilliard, Code Tenderloin
  • Jay Cheng, SF Chamber of Commerce
  • Fernando Marti, Council of Community Housing Organizations
  • Karen Chapple, Professor and Chair of City and Regional Planning, UC Berkeley
  • Marion Wellington, TechEquity Collaborative

After hearing these talks, we were invited to learn more about DataSF’s Open Data, a project that provides easy access to public…

I awoke from a dream about basketball, of all things.

I was back home and playing a pickup game with childhood friends who had somehow both grown to match my current age while also not changing at all. My grin stretched as I hit difficult shot after shot. Off the backboard, between outstretched arms, behind my back; it didn’t matter. Every shot ended in a satisfying flick of the net. …

It’s been over a year since I read Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson, but last week I finally found the perfect metaphor for it.

There’s a bar down the street from my climbing gym called Magnolia Brewing Co. My brother is usually hungry after we climb together, so we’ll sometimes stop in and eat there. It’s never packed, and usually only moments after entering the host offers us a booth or a pair of seats at one of their large communal tables. The bar has a comfortable, familiar feel, the lighting and noise level are subdued.

Their menu is short but…

If you haven’t heard, Google is shutting down G+. Some are taking this to mean that they have forfeited the social media space to Facebook and Instagram. But most people don’t know that Google already has a killer social media app. In fact, I’ve been using it as my main form of social media for the last few months. Of course, I’m talking about Google Calendar.

How to use Google Calendar as a social app:

  1. Use your Google Calendar to track your life.
  2. Share your calendar with your friends!

That’s it! Let’s look at some of the strengths and weaknesses of Google Calendar as a social media app.

Pro: Creating events and inviting people is easy.


Pro: No ads or click-bait

One of my favorite guilty pleasures is binge-reading about sports on the internet. I rarely watch games themselves, but love how they become the source material for millions of fans to generate their own hilarious content. Of the various sports discussion boards across the internet, the NBA subreddit is my favorite. Boasting over 1.5 million content-creating users, they ask the important questions like “why can’t 4 Warriors starters lock arms and form a ring around Steph Curry, so he can take open shots?”.

In addition to being hilarious, this subreddit is atypical in being a place where fans of different…

I spent last week in Railay Beach, Thailand. I had been there once before and fallen in love, despite staying there for only a few days. It’s the perfect setting for a climbing vacation; the world-class crags sit on picturesque beaches just a short walk from affordable hotels. This was my last week of vacation, and I was looking forward to enjoying this climbers’ paradise before returning to reality. Saying goodbye to friends in Singapore, I arrived at the Krabi airport around noon. …

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of my employer.

What is GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation by the European Parliament intending to strengthen data protections for EU citizens. It was adopted on April 14, 2016, and becomes enforceable on May 25th, 2018. GDPR is the strongest tool for the EU to reign in powerful American tech companies like Facebook and Google, who many believe have overstepped their bounds with respect to user privacy. Under GDPR, companies which collect personal data must do the following by default:

  • Provide strict control…

Mark M Liu

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