Today I attended my first lecture in IITB. Me and my room mate reached the class thinking it was about Communication Networks. Well, it turned out to be on Machine Learning.
The class was extremely crowded. The professor was in his 30s or 40s and was quite eloquent with his subject. The first lectures most often talk about the philosophy of the subject. I am really good at understanding philosophy, and the worst part is I never go beyond that.
I really liked the introduction where he spoke about things like hypothesis, Occaam’s Razor which I was very much familiar with and others weren’t. Occam’s Razor reduces to the statements that “things should not be multiplied unnecessarily” or when you have multiple theories/choices go for the simpler ones.
I have always felt that I am good at philosophy but the real case also might be that I misunderstand my ability to express a concept in 9 sentences where one sentence would suffice as abundance of knowledge.
The prof. move swiftly from introduction to Curve Fitting where he started with Bayesian Probability, then went to some sort of summations then integrated come denominator, converted the whole thing into Matrix algebra, took several transposes, differentiated something with respect to “w”. Coined terms like hyperparameter and hyper hyper parameter. The final answer was in terms of y cap. I was completely clueless about what the curve fitting has to do with that y cap and how it reduces the difference between prior curve and our interpolated curve.
Not understanding a lecture has been a very common things with me. What scared me the most throughout the lecture was several students nodded while he spoke in terms of hyperparameters , instances of random variables etc. etc. A guy in corner even pointed out a few mistakes in the derivation to the prof. and some asked their doubts which were beyond my comprehension.
At the end we had to sign a sheet that would help him to judge the prof. about exactly how many students would really take up this elective. I decided that I would use Occam’s Razor principle here and wrote “Undecided” because that was the simplest choice. 🙂
I will take some time to develop my survival strategies here.