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Ruslan Bes

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  • 9 reviews
  • 8 completed
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If you ever heard about "P vs NP" problem and didn't understood what is all about this is the course to take. After the first 4 units I finally grasped the idea behind these sets. Prerequisites: Abstract thinking. Graphs. Algorithms. Python. Although Python is required only if you are interesting in implementing algorithms. Videos: quite good. First units tell about three practical problems on graphs: clique, independent set and vertex cover and how they transform into each other. After that the units go to a more general problems and how solving general case may help solve those three tasks. What I've currently learned from the course: -Understood what is P, NP and NP- Complete sets and I'm even able to explain it to someone.
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I'm writing this brief review in the middle of the course (2nd week). Video Lectures: half of the time you learn CUDA C specific commands and programming constructs. The other half — intro to parallel architecture and its difference from Von Neumann's. Quizzes: Good. Usually they are testing your understanding of the architecture. Just five questions, but some of them require a lot of thinking. Programming Assignments: First three are a little bit boring. 4-th and 5-th are quite interesting. Now why had I rated it so low. The reason is that this course is not very well organized. 1) Currently it has technical issues with programming assignments and grading. 2) The Video Lectures's quality. Here is what I mean: recall your first time doing public presentations or something important on public. Recall how nervous you were and kept forgetting what are you gonna say next. This is exactly the impression I'm getting from Video Lectures. Speed 1.5x helps a little bit. 3) Slides could be made much more interactive. There is no in-lecture quizzes now, which was the most engaging force for me in "Machine Learning" and other courses. It's a shame that technical problems have made so much trouble. The topic is very interesting, it has a lot of applications in real life and the lecturer is surely a pro. I hope the staff will re-record videos and make the next session of this course more stable.
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I guess this course could greatly accompany the Model Thinking class. In the way that Game Theory takes some of those conceptions and gives you lots and lots of practice. Prerequisites: logical thinking, basic probability theory. Quizzes: most of them require careful thinking. Chances are on first try you'll get some of them wrong and then you'd be slapping your forehead when you see the correct answer :-). Note: in the new session (Jan 2013) you'll have ONLY ONE attempt per quiz. So it's much harder now. Video Lectures: quite good, very well explained and very engaging. Speed: 1.25 is probably the best. You'll learn about the "Tragedy of the Commons" and the "Prisoner's dilemma" and that may even help you in your everyday life. What I've learned from the course: \- Better understand motivations of the people. \- Better ways to negotiate and bargain (sort of microeconomics things) \- Now I know more types of auctions and the best ways to bid
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I subscribed to this course immediately when it was first announced, about 10 months in advance. A short summary right from the start: stop reading now and subscribe to the next session. Trust me, you would remember this course for a very long time! And here is why. It didn't felt like a course, but rather like a funny and interactive documentary show about psychology and sociology and about us. Every week on Friday I came home, took a cup of tea, sat back and simply enjoyed new episodes relaxed and smiling and taking mental notes. And wondering what will go next. I tried to go for a certificate and started solving the homework quizzes. That was a mistake. The homework quizzes... they are mostly boring sort of "Remember the definition of the word" tests and unfortunately they destroy the impression from the course. So I abandoned them. Ironically, the in-lecture quizzes and social polls are much more engaging and require much more thinking. Check out the quiz from lecture 4.7 about contrafreeloading :) So if I just relaxed and watched videos, what did I learned from this course, you might ask. Well a lot of everyday tricks. • the trick that a free item is almost always seen as a good deal but when you ask even 5 cents for it, it suddenly stops being so ("free chocolate piece vs cheap muffin" experiment) • the marshmallow test (btw I did that recently on a daughter of my friend, and the test was failed — the child have chosen one marshmallow now) • and most importantly I FINALLY got the paradox that kept swirling in my head for the last ten years. And it is — why nice girls often go to the parties in pairs with the ugly girls. Thanks, Dan! Sorry, girls. Naturally for a sociological course the discussion fora and hangouts and "Ask Dan" office hours are just brilliant and definitely worth watching. A good idea with special guests which gave insights in other areas of our stupid, sorry, irrational, behavior. A great team worked on the course and did the animation and drawings and all the technical stuff. Hoping for a Season II and for even more Irrationality. P. S. If you want something a little more serious and more formal, check the "Model Thinking" class on Coursera
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I signed for this course in July 2012 out of curiosity but just a few weeks later I got a task on my day-job to implement cryptographical security for our XML-RPC webservices. So this course comes just in time! And I would say that without it I would have spent much more time solving my problem. So what I really liked in this course: \- It has very logical structure. I mean, it's more theoretical and deeper than Udacity's "Applied Cryptography: Science of Secrets (CS387)". Every chapter flows as Overview → Formal part: Theorems and Lemmas → Proofs → Practice and attacks → Quizzes. This helps to understand why some crypto-schemes works good and some other don't. \- Explanations are very extensive and mostly formal. \- Visual presentation helps very much. Especially flowcharts in the "Block ciphers" chapters \- Quizzes are hard! \- Optional programming assignments are very interesting and "hackish". \- "So the poor attacker..." thing :) I definitely want to take the Cryptography II.
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I took this course after the Dan Boneh's "Cryptography" class so I want to compare them a little bit. This class is much more practical than "Cryptography". What I mean by that is that this one has less proofs but a lot more application examples how Cryptography may be used in the filesystems, internet, in digital cash etc. This class has also harder but fun challenges. Just to give you an example — one of them is to hack at least 6 RSA ciphers from the 15 given and it took me couple of days to solve it. Experience with Python is almost a must. The final exam is maybe the best exam I ever had — it was as exciting as playing an adventure game and getting the final answer was like fighting the final boss :) So I highly recommend this course for anyone who deals with passwords and keys and security in his life but I also recommend it for anyone else just because it's a lot of fun.
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Wikipedia has a very short and humble article about the instructor: "He designed the Scala programming language and Generic Java". It was enough for me to sign up the day the course was announced. Prerequisites: any programming language and some basic knowledge of Java. I'm not a professional Java programmer myself but I don't feel I miss something. Video Lectures: part of it are static slides, the other part is live stream from Eclipse. Programming assignments: not so hard but they usually have several different solutions so sometimes it's a good idea to go to the forums and check for hints What I've learned currently from the course: \- Tail recursion - brilliant idea \- Thinking in functions - now I think of a normal variable as a function who's body is return statement. \- Many things that I'm usually do by foreaching can be solved in functional style in one or two lines. \- Definitely blows the mind if you haven't had experience with functional languages earlier. \- Very interesting how you can solve Bloxorz game in FP style.
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Prerequisites: none. Videos: they contain a lot of interesting facts and are easy to understand. I personally liked Lecture 5.3 on Behavioral Models. Quizzes: could be heavily improved. They are far too easy, and with five attempts you can get a maximum score without even watching videos. This is -1. What I've currently learned from the course: \- Sometimes we don't choose but we rather have illusion of choice ("Status Quo Bias"). \- Recognize the situations when a small change can make huge leaps in result (Tipping points).
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Prerequisites: some programming background would be good Programming Exercises: maybe even too easy, almost everything is explained in detail. Video Lectures: there are three main chapters — Linear/Logistic Regression, Neural Networks and several extensions and applications of these concepts in learning algorithms. The lectures usually have too extensive explanations so I watched most of the videos on speed 1.25. What I've learned from the course: \- Algorithms of how to transform a lot of raw data into the meaningful statistics that allows to make a decision. \- Writing software that recognizes hand-written symbols isn't that hard. Same thing about recommender systems and spam-filtering. \- Side-effect: When one have to deal with arrays of data sometimes there is a better solution than writing a loop (vectorization). \- Side-effect: How to use Octave for simple mathematical tasks.