2 minute read

New beginnings. That’s what this is about. I’m learning new things now, and have enrolled in some courses to teach me machine learning from scratch. The things I’ve done so far to teach myself machine learning from the basics:

  1. CS231n course on Youtube -This is a great introduction to the basics of Machine Learning. However, it seemed like most of the people taking the course were really strong on the underlying mathematical background or were familiar with the topic. Most of these lectures were light on background and contained dense information, requiring a lot of independent research to brush up on fundamentals.
  2. Kaggle Starter Competition: Titanic – I really liked this setup since it gave me a practical look at all the steps required to perform effective machine learning, including all the optimization. Kaggle makes it easy to start digesting all the provided information since it provides a pre-built starter jupyter notebook. However, it did feel like there was a steep hill to climb halfway through the competition when they ask you to optimize with little to no background information about what you’re looking for during this optimization pass. That said, some quick google searches and the Youtube series above gave me enough of that background anyway, so it wasn’t a deal breaker.
  3. Coursera : Machine Learning – I honestly enjoyed this course. It gave me a solid fundamental understanding of the mathematics behind the complex actions performed in each unit of a neural network. From linear algebra to the underlying matrix and vector math, there’s exercises in here that will make you work through the rigor of what the computer will be doing during training and inference. However, that’s the extent of the information I learned from this course. I wish there was some transition to the practical side of things, about how this math translates to python, to a neural network training and finally, during inference on a trained network, but it didn’t. That’s my only gripe.
  4. Udacity Deep Learning Nanodegree – This is the latest course I’m working on. So far I’m enjoying the project focus on the course, and interactions on the course forums leads me to believe they are genuinely helpful people who wish to help teach everyone. However, the course is not inexpensive, and with that comes the expectation of personalized support, similar to attending any school. This course is currently work in progress, so we’ll see more updates here as it progresses…