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    Ben Vigoda – The Power of Probabilistic Programming

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    My guest for this third episode in the O’Reilly AI series is Ben Vigoda. Ben is the founder and CEO of Gamalon, a DARPA-funded startup working on Bayesian Program Synthesis. We dive into what exactly this means and how it enables what Ben calls idea learning in the show. Gamalon’s first application structures unstructured data — input a paragraph or phrase of unstructured text and output a structured spreadsheet/database row or API call. This can be applicable to a wide range of data challenges, including enterprise product and customer information, AI or digital assistant, and many others.

    Before Gamalon, Ben was co-founder and CEO of Lyric Semiconductor, Inc., which created the first microprocessor architectures dedicated for statistical machine learning. The company was based on his PhD thesis at MIT and acquired by Analog Devices. In today’s talk we are discussing probabilistic programming, his new approach to deep learning, posterior distribution, and the difference between sampling methods and variational methods and how solvers work in the system. Nerd alert: We go pretty deep in this discussion.

    One of the things announced at the conference is that Intel and O’Reilly will be partnering on the AI Conference going forward, starting with the San Francisco event in September. To celebrate this, we’re going to start our O’Reilly AI Conference ticket giveaway early, and run it through August 2nd. To enter, just let us know what you think about any of the podcasts in this series, or post your favorite quote from any of them, on the show notes page, on Twitter, or via any of our other social media channels, mentioning @twimlai and@intelnervana using the hashtag #twimlaiSF , so that we know you want to enter. Max 5 entries per person.

    Thanks to Our Sponsor

    Intel Nervana LogoA big thank you to Intel Nervana, who is supporting this podcast series. I’m very grateful to them for helping make this series possible, and I’m excited about the cool stuff they launched at the O’Reilly AI conference, including the Neon framework and Nervana Graph announcements. Be sure to check them out at, and let them know via Twitter @IntelNervana how much you appreciate their support of the podcast.


    About Ben

    Mentioned in the Interview

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