Would you like to be taught AI by world-renowned experts? Professors Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig are putting the introductory course they teach at Stanford University online and, with the aim of running the largest online AI course, are offering it for free.
Course CS221, Introduction to Artificial Intelligence is a popular option at Stanford where it attracts around 200 students. The idea for the course being taught this fall is that it will also be offered online to expand the numbers by a factor of 1,000 as explained by Sebastian Thrun in this video:
Prerequisites for the course are a solid understanding of probability and linear algebra and it demands serious commitment of around 100 hours in total. The online class is expected to have 20 lectures, each around 50 minutes in length, and related reading.
There will be eight assignments to submit at regular intervals plus two online exams that have the format of extended quizzes. Students taking the online version will be graded according to the same criteria are Stanford students.
The following video gives you an outline of how it will all work:
Only students enrolled at Stanford will be able to count the course credits but other participants who successfully complete the course will be awarded a certificate in the name of the two instructors.
And indeed it is the names of the two instructors that is one of the great attractions of this online course. Sebastian Thrun, a research professor at Stanford and a Google Fellow is well known for his work on robotics and self driving cars. Peter Norvig is Director of Research at Google and co-author of the textbook Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, which is a central component of the course. The only downside is that you are strongly encouraged to have a copy of the textbook and this currently retails at at around $115 - but it is 1152 pages.
In addition to hearing them lecture there will also be the opportunity to join in online discussions with them.
The free online course runs from September 26 through December 16, 2011. Enrollment opens shortly and will end on September 10.