Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Machine learning endeavour: At the finish line

So I'm finally at a point where I can say I'm done with my Machine Learning endeavour that I started about 19 months ago. Of course, learning is a lifelong process, but getting to the finish line of what seemed to be a far-fetched goal sometime back, feels incredibly sweet.

Some quick statistics:
  • Number of courses completed: 6
  • Number of courses partially completed: 3
  • Number of programming assignments: 32
    • Natural Language Processing: 3
    • Machine Learning: 8
    • Probabilistic Graphical models :9
    • Neural Networks for Machine Learning: 4
    • Computing for Data Analysis: 2
    • Data Analysis: 2
    • Design and Analysis of Algorithms: 4
  • Number of Kaggle competitions entered: 4
    • Notable rankings:
      • 72/1158 in the Digit Recognition competition. 
      • 125/557 in the KDD Cup 2013-Author Paper Identification Challenge
      • Ranked among the top 2% of all Kagglers. 

This is the list of courses that I completed:

Course name
Probabilistic Graphical Models: Advanced track with distinction
June 2012
Dec 2012
Dec 2012
Dec 2012
Mar 2013
Natural Language Processing with distinction
May 2013

Thoughts on getting here? In no particular order:

  • Learning is incredibly fun. And self-motivated learning is much more fun than college. Motivation in college education is usually built around too much stick and too little carrot. 
  • Although online learning might seem very disconnected, the online student community is tight-knit and extremely helpful. I would not have completed certain assignments in PGM and NLP if not for other students who posted helpful tips. 
  • Support from family and friends matter a lot. 
  • Finishing a course is just one part of the story. Applying the learning in a real-world context is a very different challenge.
Blogs/books that I found helpful:
Other self-learners: