Machine Learning Course Notes – Bittersweet

Finished this week’s exercises in a 5-hour marathon starting at 4:30am this morning. Today’s meta-lesson: implementation is way harder than reading slides and ‘kinda getting it’. My god is it hard to actually write a program that uses even what appear to be simple concepts.

So there are three tracks for this course: first is the spectator track (my term), where you just do the basic assignments (enough to be dangerous and spew plausible-sounding BS).

There’s the ‘advanced’ track, which I’ve chosen, which asks you to do some actual programming assignments (this morning’s marathon). Within the advanced track there are ‘extra credit’ assignments, which ask you to implement even more of the course material in Octave (a programming language). I haven’t gotten to the extra credit stuff. More on this later.

The final track is the ‘real’ track, where you pay real money, show up to class and all the rest. I read a discussion thread on the course website that speculates that my ‘advanced’ track covers about 40%-50% of the real course material. The real course is about 1.5x as long (3 months instead of 2), so let’s say we’re about 60%-75% of the pace of a real university course.

I’m starting to think it was a mistake to take two of these courses. I just don’t have enough time to learn everything I want to learn. I want to do the extra credit stuff, because what’s the point of reading the slides on stuff if you don’t REALLY get it? And my first crack at the extra credit stuff shows that I don’t REALLY get it.

And there are all these dudes (yes, all dudes) carpet-bombing the discussion boards who obviously REALLY get this stuff, while I only kinda get it. How many times in University did I wish I were smarter?  That I wish I had really learned the background material in high school like I should have and I could have picked this up quicker?

Anyway, I’m done complaining and it’s just too time-costly for me to learn more of this right now, so I won’t. I wish it were different but that’s just too bad for me, isn’t it.

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