Learning Artificial Intelligence @ Stanford

21 Mar 2012

One of my favorite things about being a PhD student is the freedom and resources to pursue whatever I find interesting. Provided you’re willing to take a break on your thesis, you can audit any course you want and develop skills that could help you out for years to come.

I’ve been excitedly auditing nearly every computer science class available at Northwestern, brushing up on everything from algorithms and data structures to game development. I’ve found these classes have helped connect conceptual dots that were missing from my learn-on-the-job background.

When news started circulating of Peter Norvig and Sebastian Thrun offering an online class on AI, I was the first to sign up. What an amazing opportunity to learn from the greats!

In registering for the class, I took part in an experiment to train tens of thousands of people through asynchronous online education. Sebastian in particular was a phenomenal teacher able to break down complex topics to their core concepts.

The course was easy but interesting. I’d recommend it to anyone of any level looking to get their feet wet with an AI primer.

With my gratuitous grad school free time, I ended up building on these lessons to create an autonomous robot using home-built computer vision algorithms to recognize and greet to my lab mates (except Gary). It got me in contact with EECS professors at Northwestern and really helped solidify the lessons learned.

Thank you Sebastian and Peter!