Robotics: AI Techniques

Robotics: AI Techniques marked the beginning of my foray into Georgia Tech’s OMSCS machine learning and artificial intelligence offerings. As I mentioned in my review of High Performance Computer Architecture (HPCA), my other Georgia Tech courses have focused on computing systems. This was mostly a function of the popularity of the ML/AI courses making them difficult to register for, and the computing system courses being among the most well-regarded classes in the program. However, my chosen specialization for this degree is machine learning, and so this semester it was time to get going.

I chose this as my first AI-centric course as it’s relatively “easy” (I put this in quotes because easy is in the eye of the beholder) and was entirely project-based allowing me to level up on my Python while also giving me time to explore mathematical concepts that were completely new territory. As I’m taking CS6601 – Aritifical Intelligence in the fall, I wanted a course to provide exposure to the field of study without being overwhelming. I can say pretty definitively that this course did all of those things while being pretty fun at the same time.


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One of my favorite (personal) sayings about computers is that they are highly advanced guessing machines. You can see this play out practically with things like branch prediction, where a processor must guess the path of a logical branch based on the history of that branch. This heuristic is analogous to how many humans guess; we use history as a predictor for future events. While HPCA has many similar techniques, this scenario is even more common in the other Georgia Tech course that I’m taking this semester, Robotics: AI Techniques.

Artificial intelligence is the pinnacle of guessing as it employs practical techniques (like search algorithms) and combines them with statistical tricks based primarily on probability density (usually Gaussian) distributions. The mathematics behind these distributions, in my opinion, can often seek to confuse and distract from what is actually a delightfully simple concept.


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