Photo of David J. Finton

David J. Finton

Email: my last name, at cs dot wisc dot edu

Current Projects:

I'm a machine learning technologist for Boeing Phantom Works. My current projects include applied research in data mining and the validation of machine learning algorithms, as well as ongoing research in reinforcement learning. I continue to look for better ways of representing the values of actions in control tasks, and better ways of learning good features as the task itself is being learned.

Previous lives

I was a postdoc in the Laboratory for Molecular and Computational Genomics, as part of the Genomic Sciences Training Program. My work there included a hidden Markov algorithm that separated yeast haplotypes on the basis of the likelihood of observing their alignment features. I'm thinking of ways of generalizing this technique for pattern classification problems. I also proposed a state-space analysis of genomic change; I never had the opportunity to begin this work, but hope one day to revisit these ideas.

Other Research Interests

I want to understand the nature of intelligent behavior, how it arises in brains, and how it can be implemented in machines. In a nutshell, I'm interested in feature extraction, classification, and control, not only for static collections of data, but data-sets that change with time. The tricky part is recognizing which features are relevant to our task, and which may be ignored; we want to represent the world "as simply as possible--but no simpler." Here are some examples of my past work touching on cognitive economy (how we can make learning easier by adopting simpler and more effective representations) and reinforcement learning.
Last modified: March 12, 2006