Free Machine Learning at Stanford

One of the cornerstones of the technology revolution, Stanford now offers some courses for free via distance learning. One of the more exciting courses is of course- machine learning

About The Course

This course provides a broad introduction to machine learning, datamining, and statistical pattern recognition. Topics include: (i) Supervised learning (parametric/non-parametric algorithms, support vector machines, kernels, neural networks). (ii) Unsupervised learning (clustering, dimensionality reduction, recommender systems, deep learning). (iii) Best practices in machine learning (bias/variance theory; innovation process in machine learning and AI). The course will also draw from numerous case studies and applications, so that you’ll also learn how to apply learning algorithms to building smart robots (perception, control), text understanding (web search, anti-spam), computer vision, medical informatics, audio, database mining, and other areas.

The Instructor

Professor Andrew Ng is Director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab, the main AI research organization at Stanford, with 20 professors and about 150 students/post docs. At Stanford, he teaches Machine Learning, which with a typical enrollment of 350 Stanford students, is among the most popular classes on campus. His research is primarily on machine learning, artificial intelligence, and robotics, and most universities doing robotics research now do so using a software platform (ROS) from his group.


  1. When does the class start?The class will start in January 2012 and will last approximately ten weeks.
  2. What is the format of the class?The class will consist of lecture videos, which are broken into small chunks, usually between eight and twelve minutes each. Some of these may contain integrated quiz questions. There will also be standalone quizzes that are not part of video lectures, and programming assignments.
  3. Will the text of the lectures be available?We hope to transcribe the lectures into text to make them more accessible for those not fluent in English. Stay tuned.
  4. Do I need to watch the lectures live?No. You can watch the lectures at your leisure.
  5. Can online students ask questions and/or contact the professor?Yes, but not directly There is a Q&A forum in which students rank questions and answers, so that the most important questions and the best answers bubble to the top. Teaching staff will monitor these forums, so that important questions not answered by other students can be addressed.
  6. Will other Stanford resources be available to online students?No.
  7. How much programming background is needed for the course?The course includes programming assignments and some programming background will be helpful.
  8. Do I need to buy a textbook for the course?No.
  9. How much does it cost to take the course?Nothing: it’s free!
  10. Will I get university credit for taking this course?No.Interested in learning machine learning-

    Well here is the website to enroll

Heritage Health Prize- Data Mining Contest for 3mill USD

An animation of the quicksort algorithm sortin...
Image via Wikipedia

If Netflix was about 1 mill USD to better online video choices, here is a chance to earn serious money, write great code, and save lives!


Heritage Health Prize
Launching April 4


More than 71 Million individuals in the United States are admitted to
hospitals each year, according to the latest survey from the American
Hospital Association. Studies have concluded that in 2006 well over
$30 billion was spent on unnecessary hospital admissions. Each of
these unnecessary admissions took away one hospital bed from someone
else who needed it more.

Prize Goal & Participation

The goal of the prize is to develop a predictive algorithm that can identify patients who will be admitted to the hospital within the next year, using historical claims data.

Official registration will open in 2011, after the launch of the prize. At that time, pre-registered teams will be notified to officially register for the competition. Teams must consent to be bound by final competition rules.

Registered teams will develop and test their algorithms. The winning algorithm will be able to predict patients at risk for an unplanned hospital admission with a high rate of accuracy. The first team to reach the accuracy threshold will have their algorithms confirmed by a judging panel. If confirmed, a winner will be declared.

The competition is expected to run for approximately two years. Registration will be open throughout the competition.

Data Sets

Registered teams will be granted access to two separate datasets of de-identified patient claims data for developing and testing algorithms: a training dataset and a quiz/test dataset. The datasets will be comprised of de-identified patient data. The datasets will include:

  • Outpatient encounter data
  • Hospitalization encounter data
  • Medication dispensing claims data, including medications
  • Outpatient laboratory data, including test outcome values

The data for each de-identified patient will be organized into two sections: “Historical Data” and “Admission Data.” Historical Data will represent three years of past claims data. This section of the dataset will be used to predict if that patient is going to be admitted during the Admission Data period. Admission Data represents previous claims data and will contain whether or not a hospital admission occurred for that patient; it will be a binary flag.

DataThe training dataset includes several thousand anonymized patients and will be made available, securely and in full, to any registered team for the purpose of developing effective screening algorithms.

The quiz/test dataset is a smaller set of anonymized patients. Teams will only receive the Historical Data section of these datasets and the two datasets will be mixed together so that teams will not be aware of which de-identified patients are in which set. Teams will make predictions based on these data sets and submit their predictions to HPN through the official Heritage Health Prize web site. HPN will use the Quiz Dataset for the initial assessment of the Team’s algorithms. HPN will evaluate and report back scores to the teams through the prize website’s leader board.

Scores from the final Test Dataset will not be made available to teams until the accuracy thresholds are passed. The test dataset will be used in the final judging and results will be kept hidden. These scores are used to preserve the integrity of scoring and to help validate the predictive algorithms.

Teams can begin developing and testing their algorithms as soon as they are registered and ready. Teams will log onto the official Heritage Health Prize website and submit their predictions online. Comparisons will be run automatically and team accuracy scores will be posted on the leader board. This score will be only on a portion of the predictions submitted (the Quiz Dataset), the additional results will be kept back (the Test Dataset).


Once a team successfully scores above the accuracy thresholds on the online testing (quiz dataset), final judging will occur. There will be three parts to this judging. First, the judges will confirm that the potential winning team’s algorithm accurately predicts patient admissions in the Test Dataset (again, above the thresholds for accuracy).

Next, the judging panel will confirm that the algorithm does not identify patients and use external data sources to derive its predictions. Lastly, the panel will confirm that the team’s algorithm is authentic and derives its predictive power from the datasets, not from hand-coding results to improve scores. If the algorithm meets these three criteria, it will be declared the winner.

Failure to meet any one of these three parts will disqualify the team and the contest will continue. The judges reserve the right to award second and third place prizes if deemed applicable.


The Unlucky President Quiz

Please answer the following questions about US Presidents.

1) On which President’s watch, did America suffer the worst mainland continental attack in terms of casualties in over a hundred years ?

2) Who is the only President who was elected President after intervention from the Supreme Court, despite losing the popular vote ?

3) Under which Presidential regime did the United States of America become known more as a Christian nation rather than a nation which treats all faiths equally ?

4) Which President supported funding for challenging Darwin’s theory of evolution ?

Also US Presidents
Also US Presidents

5) In more than 75 years , under which President did Wall Street have the biggest crisis ?

6) Which President was censured by the UN security general as launching an “invasion” which eventually killed more troops than any War since Vietnam.

7) On whose watch did the US suffer the worst rescue efforts on Hurricanes.

Who is more unlucky ?

The Unluckiest President or the people under him.

Think before answering the quiz.