George E. Dahl

About me

I am a PhD candidate in the Machine Learning Group, supervised by Geoffrey Hinton.

I am a recipient of the Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship (2012). I led the team that won the Merck molecular activity challenge on kaggle. I answer some questions about our solution in this blog post and describe some experiments on public data in the tech report below.

I am now starting to formulate post-graduation career plans so please send me an email if we are not already in contact. However, I am also very busy preparing for my defenses and attending to other responsibilities so it may take a few days for me to respond to emails.

Research interests

Selected Publications

Google scholar profile


I have implemented a version of the Hessian Free (truncated Newton) optimization approach that is based on James Martens's exposition of it in his paper that explored using HF for deep learning (please see James Martens's research page). My particular implementation was made possible with Ilya Sutskever's guidance and some of the implementation choices have been made to make it easier to compare my code to various optimizers he has written. Despite Ilya's generous assistance, any bugs or defects that might exist in the code I post here are my own. Please see Ilya's publication page for code he has released for HF and recurrent neural nets. It isn't too difficult to wrap his recurrent neural net model code in a way that let's my optimizer code optimize it. Without further ado, here is the code. The file is large because it also contains a copy of the curves dataset. The code requires gnumpy to run and I recommend using cudamat, written by Volodymyr Mnih, and running the code on a GPU and not in the slower simulation mode of gnumpy.

I have some python code (once again using gnumpy) I am tentatively dubbing gdbn. In it, I have implemented (RBM) pre-trained deep neural nets (sometimes called DBNs). A gzipped copy of the data needed to run the example can be downloaded here. This is just an initial release for now, hopefully later there will be more features and even some documentation.