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How to Take the Train

5 minute read


The Amtrak overlooks a lot of cornfields in between Chicago and St. Louis. Of course, there are also creekbeds, interstates, and cul-de-sacs; minor leage baseball stadiums; and a grafittied concrete beam at Union station which reads, “Have a great day.” However, the train’s predominant view consists of corn: row after row of that patchwork Midwest quilt knitted in the Earth. It was strangely captivating. Read more

How to Get Pinned

13 minute read


Eight months out of the year, most people called it the multipurpose room. It had the proportions of a dance studio or a chemistry lab – although it was neither – and inhabited the same basement hallway as the weight room and the lockers, containing neither weights nor changing areas. Two collapsible pitching cages hinted at one function, tucked against the near side wall, but for the most part their rolled-up turf served as a convenient bench for changing out of tennis shoes, not in use. Above these, gray steel beams supported the corrugated ceiling, covered in an insulating foam. The foam was peppered with tiny black dots, which once served as the only entertainment during a mandatory screening of “Your Body,” that the Health teacher showed, using a TV cart as wide as the doorway, well-equipped with both video-casette and DVD players, minus one remote. We sat on the floor, since the makeshift classroom had little in the way of seating. It was not, after all, really a classroom. Read more

How to Have an Opinion

13 minute read


Professor Lyons possessed the sort of casual self-importance which only former consulting attorneys and underpaid professors are capable of. He had elbow patches on his jacket. His favorite movie was The Big Lebowski. Every day, he carried a leather messenger bag stuffed with graded papers, syllabi, that day’s reading, and several cans of green La Croix, which he drank periodically throughout the class while one or another “that kid” spouted their opinion – as if the Wisconsonian sparkling water lent him willpower to listen. Read more

How to Hold Office Hours

5 minute read


Professor O’Leary wore circular spectacles and a wide brimmed wizard’s hat. Actually, it may have been a modest bucket hat, but the man so much resembled a wizard himself that the gray conical cap seems more likely in my mind. Read more

How to go Casting

3 minute read


The lake is fifteen minutes from my parents’ house, which makes up for some of its other qualities. Dense thickets and collapsing mud walls encircle the water, interrupted by abandoned camping chairs and a mossy picnic table, which sinks into the Missouri mud. After a rainstorm, the Meramec surges into the lake, depositing Anheuser Busch cans and Marlboro butts all along the shallow cover, where bass like to hide. A thick, foamy film clings to the surface. Mercury levels make the fish not-quite-edible. A park pavillion overlooks the scenery on one end, a boat ramp on the other. Read more



Equivalent-accuracy Accelerated Neural-network Training Using Analogue Memory

Published in Nature, 2018

Neural-network training can be slow and energy intensive, owing to the need to transfer the weight data for the network between conventional digital memory chips and processor chips. Analogue non-volatile memory can accelerate the neural-network training algorithm known as backpropagation by performing parallelized multiply–accumulate operations in the analogue domain at the location of the weight data. Read more

Recommended citation: Ambrogio, S., Narayanan, P., Tsai, H. et al. Equivalent-accuracy accelerated neural-network training using analogue memory. Nature 558, 60–67 (2018).

A County-level Dataset for Informing the United States Response to COVID-19

Published in arXiv, 2020

As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to be a global pandemic, policy makers have enacted and reversed non-pharmaceutical interventions with various levels of restrictions to limit its spread. Read more

Recommended citation: B. D. Killeen*, J. Y. Wu*, K. Shah, A. Zapaishchykova, P. Nikutta, A. Tamhane, S. Chakraborty, J. Wei, T. Gao, M. Thies, M. Unberath. A County-level Dataset for Informing the United States Response to COVID-19. arXiv preprint, 2020, arXiv:2004.00756.

Efficient Processing of Convolutional Neural Network Layers Using Analog-memory-based Hardware

Published in USPTO, 2020

(Patent.) According to one or more embodiments, a computer implemented method for implementing a convolutional neural network (CNN) using a crosspoint array… Read more

Recommended citation: G. W. Burr and B. D. Killeen. 2020. Efficient Processing of Convolutional Neural Network Layers Using Analog-memory-based Hardware. 20200117986, filed March 25, 2019, and issued April 16, 2020.

“Good Robot!”: Efficient Reinforcement Learning for Multi-Step Visual Tasks with Sim to Real Transfer

Published in IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, 2020

Current Reinforcement Learning (RL) algorithms struggle with long-horizon tasks where time can be wasted exploring dead ends and task progress may be easily reversed. Read more

Recommended citation: A. Hundt, B. Killeen, H. Kwon, C. Paxton, GD Hager. "Good Robot!": Efficient Reinforcement Learning for Multi-Step Visual Tasks with Sim to Real Transfer. IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 6724–6731, Oct. 2020. doi: 10.1109/LRA.2020.3015448.



Machine Learning And Large Scale Data Analysis

Graduate/Undergraduate Stats/CS Course, University of Chicago, Department of Computer Science, 2019

In 2019, I TA’d for Machine Learning and Large Scale Data Analysis, taught by Yali Amit. I wrote supplementary material, available here, and conducted weekly lab sessions. Thank you to all the students who mentioned me in their anonymous reviews. Read more