Plan for Q3 (Personal PhD update #3.1)

Two quarters down! Here is the plan for the next quarter (Jan-Feb-Mar 2016).
I have spent last few weeks exploring and honing in on curriculum for the next quarter. Here it is.

Computer Science / Math track

As I was going through the Coursera Machine Learning course and learning about Speech Recognition and reading papers I see that one gap in my knowledge is statistics. For example terms like this: Hidden Markov Models, posterior probabilities, Bayesian statistics, cross entropy, Gaussian, negentropy, doubly stochastic process, Cauchy density. I have heard of simpler things like p-values or confidence intervals, but I wouldn’t know how to produce them if I needed.

Therefore I decided that for the CS track I will focus on statistics and probability for the next quarter. (Beauty of making up my own curriculum and being able to adjust real time to the needs I have at work.)

I looked at few stats courses and I have settled on Udacity’s: Intro to Descriptive Stats ( & Intro to Inferential Stats (

Udacity has a mobile app so I can watch videos or do quizzes while on the bus for example, which does add to the convenience. Also, Udacity recently came out with Machine Learning Engineer Nanodegree which looks very interesting, it includes a very new course on Deep Learning in collaboration with Google. (–ud730)

Another course that I explored as it was very highly recommended from a colleague was MIT’s Introduction to Probability – The Science of Uncertainty. ( From what I can tell from week 1 and the syllabus it goes much deeper than the Udacity’s intro stats courses.


To throw in some fun reading about statistics I plan to

* finish reading The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail — But Some Don’t  by Nate Silver (amazon)

* read Supreforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction by Tetlock and Gardner (amazon)

I commit to finishing Intro to Descriptive stats course for this quarter and will see how far I will get with the rest.

Linguistics track

For linguistics track I will study and refresh my Spanish for a month (30 days). Its kind of cheating as it is not really linguistics 🙂 but two reasons 1) I am planning to go for vacation in Spanish speaking country and 2) it is actually helpful for my job to know foreign languages. The other day for example Russian knowledge came in handy while looking at experiment results.

Paper Reading

Continue reading the draft of Deep Learning book ( I finished last quarter with Chapter 9, there are total 20 chapters, so I plan to finish it. 


Still the same old – strive to write and publish an update every two weeks. Hopefully one extra post on how I finally figure out a system for myself to track the scientific papers that I read and want to read next.

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