Some of you know that I’ve been taking the on line Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning courses offered by Stanford this semester. I decided to enroll in both out of curiosity, and to enjoy the privilege of being taught by World renowned researchers. Also, I wanted to take part of an experiment in teaching to a massive amount of people (tens of thousands actively involved students, and then some). To be frank, I didn’t enjoy AI much at my university, and I never had a formal introduction to ML (not at this level, at least). AI-class has been taught by Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig, and ML-class by Andrew Ng.
Today both courses will be officially over. In fact, both the final exam of AI and final review questions of ML are due tonight. It’s been 10 weeks of thrill, and I’ve enjoyed both courses tremendously. The dedication, generosity, and enthusiasm displayed by all the three professors has been inspiring, and from here I want to give my most heartfelt thanks to everyone involved in making the courses a reality.
Concretely (-grin-), I want to express the utmost respect for the professors involved. I tip my hat to you, Sirs. To anyone interested in knowing about the subject, I strongly recommend taking a look at the links provided for the courses. In fact, the Machine Learning course is scheduled to be repeated in January, and I have no doubt that the Artificial Intelligence one will also have some form of continuation eventually. In my opinion, this Stanford School of Engineering Initiative makes the world a better place. In particular, the final session of Office Hours has made me realize that I’ve come to feel fully involved with the courses and instructors. Really, quite moving. I did have some good professors back in the old days, both in Med School and Computer Science, but rarely have I grown so fond of an instructor. I’d really love the chance to meet them face to face simply to thank them in person.
I’ve learnt a lot of stuff, I’ve had a lot of fun, and I’m already enrolled in several of the new courses that will start in 2012. There’s a lot to choose from: Natural Language Processing, Probabilistic Graphical Models, and a long list of endless instructional joy. Additionally, a bunch of earlier (and equally interesting) courses are available through Stanford Engineering Everywhere and MIT Open Courseware. If you feel like learning new stuff, I wholeheartedly recommend them. If the experience is anywhere similar to the one I’ve had, you’ll be amazed!
UPDATE: I sent an appreciation mail to each of the professors involved, and it turns out professor Norvig actually took the time to reply. Nothing short of astonishing given the huge amount of such emails they must have received. As I said, amazing experience, amazing courses, and amazing professors. Totally recommended.