Updates from the last 20 months

The last 18 months have been eventful even if my updates have been sparse. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the things that I’ve been up to:

Happy New Year, and hoping that 2018 is a good year!

Tamil Internet Conference 2017 – Prefix Trees for Language Processing – slides and paper

The Tamil Internet Conference for 2017 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada just concluded. I presented a more in-depth explanation of my previous post on prefix trees along with specific examples of how I have used them.

Here is the full paper that I submitted for the conference proceedings, entitled “Prefix Trees (Tries) for Tamil Language Processing”. Here is the slide deck for the presentation I gave in the conference.

The following is the full text of the paper from the link above:
Continue reading Tamil Internet Conference 2017 – Prefix Trees for Language Processing – slides and paper

Using Clojure to Create Multi-Threaded Spark Jobs

I recently was tasked with performing an ETL task that should be done as efficiently and quickly as possible. The work led me to learn more about parallel and distributed processing in Clojure. In addition to having a greater appreciation for what Clojure enables (once again), I also pushed the boundaries of what I thought is possible using the available tools. I ultimately ended up writing a Spark job whose executors are each running N threads (currently, N=3). But the path to that solution taught as much by what didn’t work as much as what did work.
Continue reading Using Clojure to Create Multi-Threaded Spark Jobs

Compiling a Leiningen Project from Maven

For those of you with experience with Maven, you might be wondering why anyone who is using Leiningen to build a project would then want to run that build tool from Maven, which is itself another build tool. There is a reason why I even ventured down this path. I would like to share what I have found so far, in case it benefits anyone else, but I would also like to get feedback from people who know of a better way of accomplishing the same goals.
Continue reading Compiling a Leiningen Project from Maven

Using Prefix Trees for Thamil Language Processing

Thamil computing has made a lot of progress in the past 10-20 years. Much of the work that has reached the public has been in the areas of fonts/rendering and input methods. Thanks to the continuing efforts in these areas, most of those issues have been solved, Thamil text has standardized on a single character set (Unicode), and we have nice fonts and input methods for major operating systems and mobile devices. The new environment has enabled the widespread creation and consumption of digital content in Thamil.

Now, the next set of problems to solve are handling Thamil text that is written using the Unicode character set. Unicode is designed for all languages’ fonts to standardize, but the slight cost to Thamil language processing has been its complexity. But the challenges can be handled easily by representing the data in a suitable data structure, which in this case is a prefix tree (or “trie”).

Continue reading Using Prefix Trees for Thamil Language Processing

Speaking at Clojure/West 2015!

I’m excited to be selected as a speaker at the upcoming Clojure/West 2015 conference next month in Portland! I’ll be talking on how Clojure can be used to program in other human languages (other than English). There are interesting opportunities related to diversity and access. I will be drawing on my experiences with programming in/for Thamil in the clj-thamil library. And I’ll see what other interesting, related ideas I can slip in (turtles that draw?)… and put a bird on them.

Exploring programming in Thamil (not English) through Clojure

Or: A clear example of what macros can do

Introduction

I started working on a library called clj-thamil that I envision as a general-purpose library for Thamil language computing (ex: mobile & web input method), but a slight excursion in that work has led me to some very deep, intriguing ideas — some of which are technical, and some of which are socio-cultural. But they all fit together in my mind — Clojure, macros, opportunity and diversity (in computing), and the non English-speaking world.

I think that the implications are things that we should all think about. But if nothing else, hopefully you can read this account and understand something about macros — the kind of power they uniquely provide and at least good one use case where they are necessary.
Continue reading Exploring programming in Thamil (not English) through Clojure