Happy to say that earlier this month I have graduated from the Udacity’s AI nano degree! It was the hardest course I have taken since college, which was some 15 years ago. At the same time, it was a fun challenge that I am happy to see reach a successful end.
I want to quickly summarize the parts of the course I enjoyed the most. I really had two subjects that were awesome: game playing AI and deep learning.
We learned game agent AI topics such as minimax, alpha-beta pruning, and various other tree/graph traversal techniques. It was awesome, enjoyable, just immersed myself during that part of the course. Search algorithms kept me busy and tinkering for weeks. A*, DFS/BFS, the basics that I had to re-learn and happy that I did. The game playing agent project was cool to go through and actually see your agent in action was rewarding.
The second term introduced neural networks. I could not recommend enough the neural network (NN) lectures. I went from zero knowledge of NN to somewhat being able to grasp the basics in a very short time and was able to build several models that could return decent predictions in their domain.
Would I recommend this course overall? It depends on your learning goals. If you want to get an introduction to a wide variety of topics that AI encompasses, this course is great. The field itself is HUGE. I took it to find out what the field is all about and equally important challenge myself to see if I could finish an intense course like that. I will say I am happy that I did.
But if you want to learn about ML/NN, this course contains too many topics outside of the ML field. Planning, HMM, and a few other topics were quite out dated and more important from the historical perspective. They took up a lot of time that I wish I would have spent doing ML projects instead.
What’s next? I have enrolled in Udacity’s Machine Learning Nano Degree! It will allow me to close up some of the knowledge gaps I have around machine learning, also give me an opportunity to continue practice machine learning on more projects that come with the degree. In addition to that, I am looking for ways to apply ML at work and have a few areas that I am trying it out already. Just keep on doing work and gathering the practical experience.