John Langford

Vowpal Wabbit now Open Source Project

I was writing a longer post about VW a few weeks ago but ran out of time, so I’ll just post the initial few paragraphs for now

There’s probably a limit to how many times one is allowed to use the word “awesome” in a day — I feel like I’ve hit my quota, but I need to use it just once more before I hit the sack:

I think it’s awesome that Yahoo! Research lets researchers open source their projects.

I'm pretty sure John did not make this image

A few days ago, the amazing John Langford released his fast online learning tool, Vowpal Wabbit to the world as an open source project. Note the word project. That means all further development will happen out in the wild; . A bunch of people have question the origin of the name “Vowpal Wabbit” — “What is this undecipherable mess of vowels and consonants!?,” you ask. “That’s how Elmer Fudd would pronounce Vorpal Rabbit,” John answers. “Vorpal? Whatdoesthatmean?!,” you ask again. Which is where I cite the singular font of human knowledge and quote a few lines from Lewis Carrol’s Jabberwocky:

He took his vorpal sword in hand (, and later,)
One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

If the back story hasn’t made it clear to you yet, let me paraphrase it for you: This stuff is fast. Wicked fast. Like, voodoo fast. How? That’s best left for another post.