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-   General comments on the course (http://book.caltech.edu/bookforum/forumdisplay.php?f=140)
-   -   To the Class of Spring 12 (http://book.caltech.edu/bookforum/showthread.php?t=687)

yaser 06-11-2012 12:11 PM

To the Class of Spring 12
I would like to thank the first alumni of our online course for the amazing job they have done. Everyone who will ever take this course is indebted to you for the quality that you have added, and for the perseverance you have shown. As my friend Professor Hsuan-Tien Lin says: when one teaches, two learn.

The feedback you have given on the homeworks in particular made a world of difference in our ability to polish the course infrastructure. While future students are the ones who will benefit from this, you will always be the first group that took the course and made it what it is.

All the best, and please keep in touch. You are most welcome to visit the forum and talk to new participants, now with authority!

IamMrBB 06-11-2012 12:50 PM

Re: To the Class of Spring 12

They say that a fool can ask more questions than ten wise men can answer...

Somehow you managed to be the single wise man that answered all the questions of the hundred fools (no offence intended ;)) on this forum, including me. Being in a different timezone, I noticed that you even took time in the deep of the night to answer (percieved) unclarities and questions, in particular the last days of the final exam.

Many thanks for that, and more in general, for the very interesting course, your great teaching style and the challenging questions and problems you put to us.

I hope some time, some day, when you and your team have recovered from this 'tour de force', there will be a follow up class. For now I go spend some time with my family, since they have missed me a little the last couple of weeks. Hope you can do the same!


dudefromdayton 06-11-2012 01:52 PM

Re: To the Class of Spring 12
Yaser, I couldn't get to the forum much during the exam, much as I would have liked to. When I returned, I was amazed at your tenacity and thoroughness shepherding all comers through the final. For those who liked you for your keenness and clarity previously, they now have a little insight as to your character.

To anyone reading, you all know where I went to school. Caltech's reputation is that it's great because only the most intelligent grace its campus. Well, I'm a living counterexample to that myth. But I need to refute this notion a little further for some. Caltech is what it is because only the most helpful can be found there. I saw this everywhere (faculty, staff, administration, graduate students, undergraduate students) every day I was there. The people I met would do anything in the world to help me, no matter what other commitments they had.

Finally, this has been a special course for me. Often, one's undergraduate advisor serves mainly in the role of double-checking the next term's course load. But this course let me learn a lot more from Yaser than our original roles established a quarter century ago. Another reason this course is special is its place in my decision to return to school to begin a Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering this fall. I've been accepted right here in the Dayton area, and while Wright State University doesn't have the stature Caltech does, it's my plan that this new school and I will be very good for one another. Schools like Wright State fill a gap for so many which schools like Caltech cannot.

markweitzman 06-11-2012 02:07 PM

Re: To the Class of Spring 12
That sounds great - I have often fantasied returning to Caltech (I think we were at Caltech roughly the same time - I was there 1984-1986 but as a graduate student) to get my Phd. in theoretical physics or even one in computer science. While I have the time and money, I feel I am too old for any school to take me - maybe I am wrong. Anyway I have opted to start a one year teaching credential program in California this fall to try and become a high school physics teacher. Good luck on your future endeavors.

mathprof 06-11-2012 02:14 PM

Re: To the Class of Spring 12
What an amazing learning experience! I'm very grateful for such an opportunity. And within my price range! ;-) I would be embarrassed to say just how many hours I've devoted to this class. But it was all time very well spent. Many of the homework and final exam questions were surprisingly thought provoking, and often resulted in interesting discoveries, both theoretical and practical. This course was an excellent follow-up to the ML course offered by Coursera (an MIT course). Much thanks to Yaser for making all this possible. His insights run deep, and he has a remarkable gift for simple and clear explanations of what could easily be confusing material. Thanks too to all the TAs and other's who have worked so hard on this course (despite no doubt having a few other things to do), and to all who have contributed to this forum. Many of the discussions here were very illuminating and provided diverse perspectives. I hope to delve ever deeper into this fascinating field, despite my turning 60 a week ago. Perhaps I can spend the second half of my life having fun work/playing with ML!

dudefromdayton 06-11-2012 02:32 PM

Re: To the Class of Spring 12
Money, markweitzman? 99% of Caltech's graduate students are fully funded! I don't think you're too old, and by the way I arrived in 1987. I had a lovely friend there who was starting her Ph.D. at age 29. I can't imagine that she would have been turned away if she was another decade older, give or take.

Hillbilly 06-11-2012 02:43 PM

Re: To the Class of Spring 12
Interesting to hear a couple "old dogs" above talk about going back to school. I've had similar thinking, which is one of my motivations behind taking classes like this one. I've now tried the range of "try it, free!" classes online, including last year's from Stanford, plus Coursera, Udacity, MITx, and this. A good way to see if I'm ready for grad school again, without investing money or the risk of losing face. My interest is computational cognitive neuroscience, so I can figure out how to build the kind of robots that engineers don't know how to do. My conclusion: I don't think my wife is up for being ignored for the next several years. :o

Many thanks again to all here. It's been fantastic. I'm not gonna compare apples and oranges and match this class against the others -- they're all different and each has its advantages. I do think this class was very well done. That was a big factor in keeping me interested, in spite of a very high degree of challenge. Definitely looking forward to any follow-on class.

markland 06-11-2012 02:56 PM

Re: To the Class of Spring 12
Just want to second all the positive things people are saying about the course and Professor Abu-Mostafa's teaching style. I took his information theory course ~20 years ago and it still stands out as one of the more enjoyable and enlightening classes I took. When I saw he was offering this I knew it would be good.

markweitzman 06-11-2012 02:56 PM

Re: To the Class of Spring 12
Of course I was fully funded ( too much perhaps I used excess for poker) at Caltech when I was there but I was 28 -30 then now I am 55 - thing is I would gladly pay if they would take me lol. I finally understand what I didn't when I was there in terms of QFT and Strings so I would be a much better student now.

jcatanz 06-11-2012 04:02 PM

To Yaser and all those who made this course possible
I'd like to express my gratitude and appreciation for your wonderful gift.

Through your hard work and astute use of technology, you've provided us the opportunity to experience the full impact of a high-caliber Caltech class, including excellent lectures, interaction with the professor, challenging homework, even more challenging final exam.

Kudos to everyone for a well-organized class that allowed me to make optimal use of time invested.

Yaser -- your evident enthusiasm and clear communication motivated me to persevere and solve the problem sets and the final exam. It was inspiring to notice the care and time you took out of your busy schedule to answer everyone's questions in the forum.

Particularly convenient was the availability of the lectures in H.264 format, which allowed me to view them at leisure on my mobile phone (mounted on my windshield!) on my long commute to and from work.

The forum was a terrific feature of this course -- the level of contributions in the comments from other students was unexpectedly high; the forum provided additional opportunities to assimilate the course material.

I must add that this is the best course I have ever taken, even going back to my days as a Caltech undergrad.

Many thanks, and
all the best to everyone


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