OpenCV3 + Python + Mac

OpenCV is an open-source library for computer vision that we have found useful in bringing many applications to production settings.  It is written in C++, but now also supports Python bindings, which can make rapid prototyping easier. Below we summarize our procedure for installing OpenCV3 on Mac OS X, with Python bindings and virtual environment support. The information …


[wu::riddles] Geometric In Arithmetic

Today we share our analysis of the following problem, which kindly comes to us from Colombian engineer Ariel Nunez, a former Iberoamericano Math Olympiad Bronze medalist! Problem: Given a real arithmetic progression , some terms are deleted to produce a geometric sequence with ratio . Find all possible values of . Our Solution: Define for and . …


The Git Version Control System

Today we are happy to present our own introductory tutorial materials about the git version control system! (Link to slides: click here or on the image above.) Learning git was a life-changing experience for us in many ways, dramatically expanding our flexibility as developers, and enabling efficient concurrent collaboration on large projects that can involve …


POW: Dice Running Total

At QED there are a number of weekly exercises we participate in, to help keep our minds sharp and also just have some fun. One of them is Purdue University’s Math Problem of the Week (POW), a fun event has been going strong since the year 2000. During the spring and fall semesters of each academic year, a new problem is released, similar to those seen in …


Kaggle: Africa Soil Prediction Challenge

Calling all data scientists! We’ve just launched a new competition on Kaggle: The Africa Soil Property Prediction Challenge. The problem is to predict the concentrations of Calcium, Phosphorus, pH level, Carbon, and Sand in the soils of Africa, given mid-infrared spectroscopy measurements. Winners will not only be awarded with cash prizes, but also have real …


Laser Communications from the ISS

Today we’re very happy to report on the completion of a long-term project that Dr. Wu worked on during his previous gig at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory: the Optical PAyload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) mission, on which Dr. Wu served as chief telecommunications engineer. In this mission, we modulated a 1550 nm laser with on-off keying to downlink video from the International Space Station to the …


UAVs for Precision Agriculture

Currently we are in East Africa working on one of our larger jobs — a Gates Foundation project called AfSIS, which stands for Africa Soil Information Service. The project aims to build accurate GIS maps of Africa’s soil resources through precision agriculture techniques, and in so doing, we hope to ultimately increase the prosperity of rural …


Water Conservation

In the Berkeley Cleanweb 2.0 Hackathon, we took on the challenge of building a hack that brings attention to the worldwide water crisis. After hearing about the various datasets available to the public, we became particularly interested in the water costs of food, which actually accounts for 40% of the world’s water consumption. Data sources such …



In this hackathon, we were asked to program a chatbot that can engage in conversations with the user, using the Chatscript language by Bruce Wilcox. The theme was Valentine’s Day. Our chatbot was designed to take on the personality of Samantha, from the 2013 movie “Her”. Below is an example interactive transcript from the contest. [chatbot/code]$ …