I just received this e-mail:
Congratulations on hanging on through
the first week of class! Starting a
new class is always difficult - there
are brand new terms to learn, new
concepts to get your head around, and
for our programming assignment, new
software and code bases to grapple
with. This will only get better, as we
spend the rest of the class fleshing
out Bayesian networks and Markov
networks; already, some of you have
asked on the forums about how to
perform inference and learning on
PGMs, which we'll spend a good bit of
time on in the rest of the class. If
you've been busy learning the ropes of
Octave and our submission system,
you'd also be happy to know that we'll
be using the functions you wrote for
this assignment in the rest of the
class, so the time you took to
understand the code and get everything
to work was time well spent.
That said, we've heard your feedback
that the programming assignments can
be a challenge, and have decided to
follow the model of ml-class and offer
two separate tracks for the class: a
basic track, and an advanced track.
The advanced track follows our
original scoring plan, and the basic
track requires only the quizzes and
the finals, but not the programming
assignments. More details are below.
We hope that this will help those of
you who don't have the time to
complete the programming assignments,
but who still want to do the rest of
the class. Of course, if you can spare
the time, we believe that doing the
programming assignments will help you
to internalize the material.
Conversely, if you don't have the time
to do any assessments, you're still
more than welcome to just stay and
watch the videos.
Now for some news for this week: the
problem sets and programming
assignment for week 1 are due on
Tuesday (27 March), though there's
still a week-long grace period for
them. Week 2's lectures and exercises
are out, and for those of you who'd
like a head start, the lectures for
week 3 have also been released.
We also have two exciting new
features to announce:
1) Our own PGM-class wiki at
If you have the time, please
contribute to it; you'll not only help
out your fellow students, but enhance
your own understanding of the
material. In the past week, you have
been amazingly responsive and helpful
on the class forums, and we're very
appreciative of that!
2) Editable subtitles at
Please help us to improve our English
subtitles, and add subtitles in other
languages that you're fluent in.
Subtitles are very helpful to
non-native speakers of English, and
will go a long way towards helping
your fellow classmates learn.
Thanks, and have fun with this week's
Looks like I'm not the only one have problems keeping up.