Learning AI/ML: The Hard Way

Learning AI/ML: The Hard Way

Learning AI/ML: The Hard Way. A learning guide on machine learning for beginners.

The Wave and the Curve

Data science, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML), since last five to six years these phrases have made their places in Gartner’s hype cycle curve. Gradually they have crossed the peak and moving toward the plateau. The curve also has few related terms such as Deep Neural Network, Cognitive AutoML etc. This shows that, there is an emerging technology trend around AI/ML which is going to prevail over the software industry during the coming years. Few of their predecessors such as Business Intelligence, Data Mining and Data Warehousing were there even before these years.

Finding the Crystal Ball in the Jungle

Prediction and forecasting being my favorite topics, I started finding a way to get into this world of data and algorithms back in early 2019. Another driving force for me to learn AI/ML was my fascination on neural networks that was haunting me since I started learning about computer science. I collected few books, learned some python skills to dive into the crystal ball.

While I was going through the online articles, videos and books, I discovered lots of readily available tools, libraries and APIs for AI/ML. It was like someone who is trying to learn cycling and given a car to drive. Due to my interest in neural networks, I got attracted to most the most interesting sub-set of AI/ML, Deep Learning, which deals with deep neural networks. I couldn’t stop myself from directly jumping into Google Tensorflow (a free Google ML tool) and got overwhelmed by a huge collection of its APIs. I could follow the documentation, write code and even made it work. But there was a problem, I was unable understand why I am doing what I am doing. I was completely drowning with the terms like bios, variance, parameters, feature selection, feature scaling, drop out etc. That’s when I took a break, rewind and learn about the internals of AI/ML rather than just using the APIs and Libs blindly. So, I took the hard way.

On one side, I was allured by the readily available smart AI/ML tools and on the other side, my fascination on neural networks was attracting me to learn it from scratch. Meanwhile, I have spent around a month or two just looking for a path to enter the subject. A huge pool of internet resources made me thoroughly confused in identifying the doorway to the heart of puzzle. I realized, why it is a hard nut for people to learn. Janakiram MSV pointed out the reasons correctly in his article.

However, some were very useful, such as an Introduction to Machine Learning by Prof. Grimson from MIT OpenCourseWare. Though its little long but helpful.

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