I just registered for the Stanford A.I. course online that Sebastian Thrun is putting together for anyone that wants to learn a little something about A.I. or perhaps those of us who are looking for a challenge. I suppose, for myself, I am in both camps. For a long time, I have been interested in Artificial Intelligence from the view point of software in general, even though it has been used a lot in the context of video games. If you don’t know Sebastian, he was part of team Stanley – a Volkswagen turned robot that they built to compete in the Darpa Grand Challenge, which they won in 2005 by implementing their own machine learning algorithms, which is a topic that this course will cover.
I think that there is great potential for software of all disciplines, that could take advantage of A.I. techniques and as time goes on, “learn” about the data that it reads, correlate that with past data and fuse that with logic built into the software to accomplish whatever its goal is.
The course runs from mid-October to December and there are two tracks. You can register to just watch the videos like this one or you can be ambitious and sign up to do the homework assignments, take the mid-term and a final exam. In the end, you will get a statement of accomplishment which isn’t going to count for a real grade or any Stanford credit, naturally. There is also a stand alone machine learning course offered at the exact same time but with a real job, family stuff, programming on the side and all that I won’t have time for that.
I opted for the more ambitious track so I’ll be busy for the next few months learning about probabilities, machine learning, robotics, game theory/planning and other topics. I don’t know how many people signed up but evidently the top 1% will automatically get an interview with google. Looks like I will have to be at my best 🙂 Wish me luck!