Ch-ch-changes

A lot can happen in 8 months. Shortly after my last post on the day I left HitPoint I was presented with an opportunity to join a new startup in San Francisco working on deep reinforcement learning. Seeing as how I had just left HitPoint to finish up my PhD in reinforcement learning, and was a bit anxious to get out of western MA after so many years there, it wasn’t something I could easily pass up, despite the fact that it would mean having a full time job again while trying to find time to finish my dissertation. And so, after receiving a job offer, I packed up and moved out to SF in June.

I’ve liked living in San Francisco a lot so far. The weather is probably the biggest plus for me, with the metropolitan culture a close second. It’s great to be able to walk to most of the places I need to go in under 20 minutes year round without needing a winter coat or profusely sweating. The cost of living is definitely the worst aspect. My rent more than quadrupled moving out here, but I did manage to find a nice one-bedroom in a high rise just a five minute walk from my new office.

My new position is Research Engineer at Osaro, Inc. We’re developing deep reinforcement learning tech that we plan to apply to difficult real-world problems (e.g., robotics), so that our clients can reap the benefits of recent breakthroughs in machine learning. Our solutions are in the same spirit as some of the work being done at Google’s DeepMind, with notable differences that I’m not currently at liberty to divulge. 🙂 I’m very excited to be a part of this team, and I think we’ll be making big waves in the machine learning and robotics community in the next couple of years. It’s great to be back in the machine learning game and making use of all the knowledge I gained during my doctoral research.

Speaking of which, as expected, having a full time job immediately after leaving my previous one didn’t do much to help with finishing up my dissertation. Although I didn’t finish up this summer as I had hoped, I’m happy to say that just last week I successfully defended my thesis and can now legitimately ask to be called Dr. Vigorito. It’s a great feeling to have that accomplishment under my belt, and even greater to be able to move on to new and exciting things. It was a long time coming, especially given my five year hiatus, but it’s finally done.

So yea. 2015. New job. New city. New degree. Lots of changes. I’m looking forward to all of the exciting changes in 2016.

Onwards and Upwards

It is with numerous mixed emotions that I end today, my last day of work at HitPoint Studios. It’s been a pretty wild ride for the last five years, and I truly appreciate everything I’ve learned and accomplished during my tenure there. Being a member and leader of such a great team has given me so many skills and experiences that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life. I wholeheartedly appreciate all of the insanely hard work and assistance every member of the HitPoint team has put in over the years, and I hope to stay in touch with all of them.

I am leaving HitPoint to spend the next few months finishing up my PhD at UMass Amherst, which has long been languishing in the background of my psyche, and then moving on to new and exciting things yet to be determined. It’s a bit of an uncertain time for me, but I look forward to the challenges that uncertainty presents.

To all the HitPointers on the kick-ass team I’m leaving behind, I have no doubt you will continue to kick ass and turn out great games for tons of eager fans. Best of luck to you all!

Stay healthy. Stay hungry. Stay in touch. Ciao!

Fun with GarageBand

I had U2’s “Running to Stand Still” stuck in my head for a couple of days. Last night I did this to try to get it out, courtesy of an instrumental version from karaoke-version.com and some messing around in GarageBand. Apparently adding a little reverb to your voice can make you sound halfway decent, even using a laptop mic. Now I just need to learn how to mix tracks properly.

Anyway the experiment was a failure. It’s still stuck in my head.

 

New Site!

Since I splurged and got my own domain and some personal web space I decided it was time to move all my crap over from my UMass site. Welcome to my new one! I’m still learning this WordPress thing, but I think I’ve got the basics down. Still experimenting with this theme, but so far I like it. Check out my other pages (Academics and Game Dev) if you like. More to come!