artificial intelligence nano degree

I started the Udacity Artificial Intelligence Nano Degree last month.

Project 1, Sudoku Solver

The Sudoku Solver was a fun project. I enjoy learning by writing code to make tests pass, like Ruby Katas.

Project 2, Isolation Game

Creating an algo to play an Isolation Game is much more complicated than the first project and was very frustrating to build. Unlike the first project, there is barely a test framework to follow. You push your methods to a remote Udacity server which gives feedback about test failures. This development cycle is difficult to debug because you can neither use a debugger nor get print output. After the minimax and alphabeta functions pass the remote tests, things get interesting. You are asked to write custom heuristics in order to decide the best move for your player. I wish Udacity gave more hints as to game heuristics.

Writing a synopsis for a research paper is also required for the project. I chose to write about AlphaGo. Due to my lack of knowledge reading math proofs, it took several attempts to understand the paper.

Using planning problems—states, actions, and goals for planning algorithms. I enjoyed this unit of the course and it was interesting to study the development of Graph Plan algorithms since the 1970’s.

Project 4, Hidden Markov Models

The objective of this unit is to create an algo that can correctly guess sign language words. Hidden Markov models are interesting and remind me of deep learning algos. They both seem to solve a similar problem set.

Overall Thoughts

I am not sure this course is worth the $800 price. The class was interesting, but very time consuming. The benefits to taking the Udacity course over self learning on the internet is the Slack channel, forum and project feedback. I used the forum when I was stuck on a problem. I did not take advantage of the Slack channel. The project feedback was helpful. I will not be taking the next unit in the Artifical Intelligence Nano Degree. Instead, I am progressing through the Fast AI classes. I plan on writing a post after I finish the course.

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