Archive for April, 2018

AI for All

Thursday, April 19th, 2018

Artificial Intelligence is shaping up to add up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030, according to Bloomberg Technology. The Intel® AI Academy is a university resources site that offers free, online courses for learning about artificial intelligence. If you know nothing about AI or are already an expert, Intel has something for you. The “Learn the Basics” course includes several individual videos if you want to dabble, as well as student courses Machine Learning 501, where you can “get an overview of the fundamentals of machine learning on modern Intel® architecture“ and Deep Learning 501, “ basic techniques and foundations of deep learning on modern Intel® architecture.” Both of the above are self-paced courses that you can download as Zip files that should take you 3-hours to do. One 3-hour class per week lasts a total of 12 weeks, although nothing is timed. It helps to know the programming language Python, but you can learn it as you go.

Intel AI Academy Lecture Notes

An Image from Lecture notes for Week 2 of Machine Learning 501. (Image: Intel)

The coursework is well-organized and each week’s files includes everything from a PDF of lecture notes to a .CSV file of data sets for doing exercises. Caveat: prerequisites for the course are Python programming, Calculus, Linear algebra, and Statistics. Apparently past feedback for the coursework indicated that Machine Language 501 is graduate level, which is why Intel has renumbered the courses from 101 to 501. The third and final course in the AI Academy is TensorFlow 501.

Free access to online education doesn’t end there; you can find the prerequisites online. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are platforms for free online courses from well-respected universities that are available to anyone. (The same exact courses are often offered as college credit to students enrolled at the sponsoring college.) MOOC platforms edx.org, canvas.netcoursera.org, and udacity.org have been around for years. Courses are generally free unless you want to earn a certificate for a fairly low fee (compared to college tuition) to prove that you’ve passed a course. Example: Harvard’s “Data Science: Machine Learning” course on edx.org is introductory and takes 4 weeks to complete ( at 2 – 4 hours per week). Get a nanodegree (certification) or garner so-called “microcredentials” to highlight specific skills on your resume. You can find online courses developed by big names in higher education, with courses by Harvard, Stanford, MIT, and many others. Many new technologies are driving the economy right now. Companies can’t expand without talent that’s knowledgeable, trained, and capable of at least “speaking the language” of these new technologies at some level.