NotePad: A NickName Recognition Idea

So this is just an idea. Nicknames can apparently be attached to multiple names. That means that we could have a graph of nicknames and also that a direct list may be tricky. A quick thought on how to approach a solution to this.


A. Graph the Names and their known connections to formal names.

B. Attach probability data to each Node specifying which characteristics trigger that solution (Markovian sort of)

C. Start a Server accepting requests

D. When a request comes in first look for all potential connections from a nickname to a name, if none save this as a new node. Search can be performed as depth first or breadth first and even split into random points on the graph in a more stochastic mannersuch as a random walk (will need to study these more). This could also be done by just choosing multiple random search points.

E. If there is one node, return the formal name

F. If there are multiple names take one of several approaches:

1. Approach is to calculate Bayesian probabilities given specified characteristics and return the strongest match (this is the weakest solution).

2. Approach is to train a neural net with the appropriate kernel (RBF, linear; etc.) and return the result from this net. (This is slow as having a million neural nets in storage seems like a bad idea)

When generating stand alone nodes, it may be possible to use a Levenshtein distance and other characteristics to attach nickname nodes to formal nodes based on a threshold. A clustering algorithm could use the formal name averages as cluster centers and a hard cutoff could specify (e.g. Levenshtein of 1 or 2) could solidify the connection and throw out Type I and Type II error.

Stay tuned while I flesh this post out in this post with actual code. It may just be a proposal for a while.

A Cosine Cutoff Value

I recently discovered this but cannot remember where. The article was relating to ultra-sounds and mapping them although I was surprised that fuzzy c-means was not mentioned. I have deployed it with some decent effect in text mining algorithms I am writing.

threshold = sqrt((1/matrix.shape[0])*Sum(xij – column_meanj))


Please comment if you have found something better or know where this came from. Cheers!


Mixing Java XML and Scala XML for Maximum Speed

Lets face it. ETL and data tasks are expected to be finished quickly. However, the amount of crud pushed through XML can be overwhelming. XML manipulation itself in java can take a while despite being relatively easy due to the need to loop through every attribute that one wished to create or read from. On the other hand, Scala, despite being a terrifically complete language based on the JVM suffers from some of the issues of a functional language. Only Scales XML offers a way to actually perform in place changes on XML. It is not, however, necessary to download an entirely new dependency on top of the existing Java and Scala libraries already available when using Scala.

Scala XML

There are definitive advantages to Scala XML. Imported under scala.xml._ and an other relevant subpackages, creation of XML is much faster and easier than with Java. All nodes and attributes are created as strings, making picking up Scala XML a breeze.

   val txtVal="myVal"
   val otherTxtVal="Hello World"
   val node = <tag attr={txtVal} attr2="other"> {otherTxtVal} </tag>

In order to generate child nodes, simply create an iterable with the nodes.

   val attrs:List[String] = List("1","2","3") //because we rarely know what the actual values are, these will be mapped
   val node = <property name="list"><list>{<value> li </value>)}</list></property> // a Spring list

Another extremely decent addition that brings speed to Scala XML parsing is the Pretty Printer under scala.xml.PrettyPrinter(width:int,spacer:int)

     val printer = new PrettyPrinter(250,5) //will create lines of width 250 and a tab space of 5 chars at each depth level
     val output = printer.format(xml)

There is one serious issue with Scala XML. Scala XML uses immutable lists. This means that nodes are difficult to append to. Rewrite
Rules and transformations
are available and particularly useful for filtering and deleting
but not necessarily good at appending.

   class Filter extends RewriteRule{
         override def transform(n:Node):Seq[Node] = n match{
            case (n \\ "bean[@id='myId']).length > 0 => NodeSeq.Empty //please bear with me as I am still learning Scala
            case n.Elem(prefix, label, attribs, scope, child @ _*) => NodeSeq.Empty
            case e:Elem => n
            case _ =>{
               throw new RuntimeExceptione

   val newXML = new RuleTransformer(new Filter()).transform(xml) //returns filtered xml

Such code can become cumbersome when writing a ton of appendage rules each with a special case. Looking at the example from the github page makes this abundantly clear. Another drawback is the speed impact a large number of cases can generate since XML is re-written with every iteration. >a href=””>Scales XML overcomes this burden but has a much less Scala-esque API and requires an additional download. Memory will be impacted as well as copies of the original information are stored.

Java Document

Unlike Scala XML, Java already has a built in in-place XML editor available after the release of Java 4. Importing this library is not outside the standard uses of Scala. Perhaps the Scala developers intended for their library to mainly be used in parsing. Hence, there is a mkString within the native library but a developer or programmer must download sbt with sbt.IO for a scala File System API that itself uses Java’s File class. There is also the lack of networking tools leading to third party tools and a Json library not quite excelling at re-writing Json in older Scala versions (non-existant in 2.11.0+). While it would be nice to see this change, there is no guarantee that it will. Instead, java fills in the gaps.

Here the javax.xml libraries come particularly in handy. The parsers and transformers can read and generate strings, making interoperability a breeze. Xpath expressions may not be as simple as in Scala where xml // “xpath” or xml / “xpath” will return the nodes but it is painless.

   import javax.xml.parsers._ //quick and dirty
   import org.w4c.dom._
   import javax.xml._    
   val xmlstr = <tag>My Text Value</tag>
   val doc:Document = DocumentBuilderFactory.newInstance.newDocumentBuilder.parse(new ByteArrayInputStream(xmlstr.getBytes))
   val nodes:NodeSet = xpath.compile("//tag").evaluate(doc,NodeConstants.NodeSet)

With a nodelist, one can getAttributes(), setAttribute(key,value), appendChild(node), insertBefore(nodea,nodeb) and call other useful methods, such as getNextSibling() or getPreviousSibling(), from the API. Just be careful to use the document element when making calls on the nodes where necessary.


Inter-operability between scala and java is quite simple. Use a builder with an input stream obtained from the string to read an XML document to Java and a transformer to read that XML back to something Scala enjoys.

//an example getting a string with Pretty Printer from an existing document
   val xmlstr = <tag>My Text Value</tag>
   val doc: Document = DocumentBuilderFactory.newInstance.newDocumentBuilder.parse(new ByteArrayInputStream(xmlstr.getBytes))
   val printer = new scala.xml.PrettyPrinter(250,5)
   val sw = new
   val xmlString = javax.xml.transform.TransformerFactory.newInstance().newTransformer().transform(new javax.xml.transform.dom.DOMSource(doc),new
   val xml = printer.format()