Continued Progress

As is always the case, I have a lot going on, here is the latest. I was able to get the trackNotes app into enough shape to do a quick pitch and demo, which resulted in some early interest. I am ready to get some more feedback, and will be opening it up for a couple Early Adopters, if you are interested, drop me a note in the comments, and will send you the details.

One of my other projects is based heavily on computer vision, I decided to have some fun with it, and test my skills. I now have all the bits to build a Donkey Car it should be a pretty fun little project where I can learn, set myself up for the next steps of doing more suspension analysis work. I am now doing an extensive amount of model training using distributed inception approach, leveraging multiple GPU’s with a pre-emptible Kubernetes node pool. Good cost/performance, and translates to all of the cloud providers: AWS, Google, and IBM.

I have been working really hard with Phil, and continue to work my way toward my health goals. I have achieved 125Lbs of weight lost since October of 2017. I decided to add OPTIFAST back into my diet as a post workout drink, the high protein works to increase muscle growth, and helps with the recovery from a hard workout.

On the funding front, I am exploring a couple equity free options, there is currently a contest open with Google Cloud, and SAP called Circular Economy which is focused on United Nations sustainable production, and consumption goals. I am working out the broader implications of my current research, and plan to apply. Another equity free option is the SBIR route, which I have discussed briefly before. I have received feedback on my application, and have decided to pursue one of the current open solicitations with the DOT.

After Action Report – Sebring

Overview: Sebring was incredible, the track is amazing, Gradient Racing is super professional, and David Murry went above, and beyond!

Goals and objectives: My goal for the weekend was to learn, progress, test my fitness, and prove to myself that I am capable of running in the top 5.

Analysis of outcomes: I was so happy to have worked with David Murry during the Test, and Tune day. He helped me work through the track, strategy, and confidence. He checked in over the course of the weekend, to see how things were going, debriefed with me on Saturday, and sent me a nice note on Sunday evening, what a professional, above, and beyond. I look forward to working with him again at Road Atlanta.

Analysis of the performance shown on critical tasks: I decided to run scrubbed tires for the practice sessions, which were about 2 seconds off the pace of the top 5, and around 4 seconds behind the top 2. The third practice session of the day served as qualifying, and my times set me up mid-pack, starting around P20. We decided to replace brake pads for the warm-up session, the replacement pads that I had in my spares kit, were a different manufacturer/compound (StopTech, rather than Pagid). We had a conversation about running stickers, or scrubs during the warm-up, and decided on just changing one thing at a time, going with just the new pads, and keeping the scrubs.

The car ran great during the warm-up session so we threw on the stickers for the first sprint race. At that point the car became erratic after the tires came in, I was not able to brake, or accelerate and the gearbox was not shifting correctly. I was able to finish but, lost 14 positions. Before the second sprint I checked with the experts Philip Surprenant and Andy Rivard (thank you both!) looked for Pagid pads that we replaced (sizes for the Trophy Kit were not available at the track), we cleaned off the wheel speed sensors, and torqued the center nuts. I ended up running the second race on scrubs, starting in P37. I was able to work my way up the field to P18, which put me into the top 10 in class.

We had a warmup before the Enduro on Sunday, and ran the new pads, with the new tires, and had no issues. I was able to put down the fastest lap overall during the warm-up session. For the Enduro the officials take the best lap time. between the two sprint races to set your position, I was able to start P18 overall. I immediately started working up the field, and ultimately ended up running P5, and 3rd in class. I was shunted in the right rear, which bent my outer, and broke 3 wheel studs.

Summary: I was able to accomplish my goals, of learning the track, my fitness level was excellent (thank you Phil Gephart) worked with a professional driver David Murry, and after some trouble in the sprint races, was able to achieve my goal of running in the top 5, during the Enduro.

Recommendations: Getting the right spares kit is crucial, changing pad manufacturer, and compound prior to the first sprint was a costly mistake, I need to stick with the same components throughout the weekend, and need to stock extra wheel studs with my spares. Post session work needs to include cleaning wheel speed sensors, and torque center nuts. Running stickers for the practice session will set me up to run in the front of the field.

Excited for Sebring

Crazy week coming up, have a work event in Las Vegas for two days, will then make my way from there to Sebring. I am really looking forward to working with David Murry, I’ve spent a bunch of time working through his webinar. iRacing, and Virtual Racing School have been invaluable for preparation. My experience with this approach for Road America, was that it helped me get comfortable more quickly, and focus on the detail of getting to consistence lap times. Thus far I have been able to get into the 2:09’s at Sebring, need to get a couple more seconds off aiming for 2:07’s which in the real world will probably be about 10 seconds slower. I hope all the travel goes smoothly, wish me luck!

Practice, Product, and Progress

I’ve been spending time in iRacing learning the line, got both of David Murry’s excellent Sebring, and Car Suspension webinars, as well as reviewing playbacks from the VRS datapacks. I really look forward to working with David directly on the Test/Tune day before the weekend at Sebring. I was also able to spend some very productive time this week out at Harris Hill with Andris of Gradient Racing. More seat time, and getting everybody familiar with the car is always a good thing

David Murry in the BGB #38

Over the holiday, I got a lot of work done on the trackNotes app, it is nearly ready for an alpha release. I am using creator, for the front-end, and firebase for the backend. I put together some wireframes for another app I am developing called setupBoard, that will work either standalone or together with trackNotes. Regarding my work with Kubeflow, it has gone very well, I was able to train against my dataset with multiple models, distributed across three cloud providers: GCP, AWS, and IBM. Inception v3 is the current leader with predictions of 85% accuracy against the ground truth in testing. I am going to test a couple more models: Random Forest, a TF Boosted Tree, and a DNN Classifier. Once I have another round of training, and testing I will start working through AI assisted hyper-parameter tuning to see if I can get the error rate any better. At that point I will switch gears and start working on the front-end.

setupBoard wireframe in

On the health front, I was having a hard time finding someone who could help me with both my nutrition, and training. I was referred to Phil Gephart who immediately exceeded my expectations for his knowledge, and professionalism. Phil is awesome! He worked with me to switch around my macros, added some supplements, changed up my training program, I am already seeing some incredible results with a 3% drop in body fat within the first week!

Over the Holidays

I have always loved this time of year, it has given me a chance to focus on the things that I really want to do, interesting projects, time to catch up with friends, and family, play games (or get in some iRacing time, got to get Sebring down), watch movies, and just relax. I am off from work for the next couple weeks, and will be focused on a quite a few things, as usual.

I have built, and deployed three kubernetes clusters on the three different cloud providers that came with my having joined FFL (GCP, AWS, and IBM), I have tested all of my training jobs, and am now ready to do a big run on distributed training using kubeflow, I will be working on a couple different models, Inception v3 to start, and will be working through all the hyperparameter tuning involved with trying to get the best RMSE for what I am doing, hint (it’s motorsports related).

Also, I have a prototype of the trackNotes app, that I released to the Play Store for a closed Alpha, to get some feedback on the UI, I am putting it together with creator.  I am working on the backend data-model in Firebase, which is pretty straightforward, there are some really good materials out there, I really like the codelab, it is ridiculously comprehensive. I am also going to start a wireframe for another app called setupBoard.

On the racing front, I am doing outreach for sponsors, and will need to get all of that loaded into Hubspot so I can keep track of it all. I am also loading in a bunch of leads which, I will see if I can turn into opportunities for everything that I am doing (vaguely described above). Also, I have been talking to Andris over at Gradient Racing to see what support would look like for 2019, we are planning a test day in January.

Preparations for 2019

Continuing my work on track notes, I have a working prototype, just need to clean up the UI, and then start working on the iPhone cross-compile, I hope cordova works well for that.

I started a new 6-week workout block with two HIIT days, it is pretty rough from a recovery perspective, I do 45-minutes of HIIT cycling on Monday/Wednesday with 30-minutes of weight training, on Tuesday/Thursday I run, and do weights for 30-minutes each, on Friday I swim, and then do endurance focused weight training. Talking to my nutritionist about a Ketogenic plan to go with my training platform.

I keep adding to the backlog of reading materials, going through the bibliography of Michael Krumm’s excellent:  Driving On The Edge: The Art and Science of Race Driving

I have made some significant breakthroughs on my upmarket product, currently building out the underlying development platform, and pipeline using the cloud credits from FFL.

I am dying to get out in my car for a test day, looking at the next edge addicts event, or maybe just a session out at Harris Hill (which would be my preference). Hopefully, I can get that setup over the next couple weeks.