Google Is Teaching a Free Online Class on 'Deep Learning'

DeepDreams, like the picture above, is just one of the programs Google has been developing to give its machines better judgment and human-like intelligence. Michael Tyka/Courtesy

Beginning on Friday, Google is making its deep learning technology free and open to the public as part of a three month-long course with the for-profit online academy Udacity. But beware interested beginners: This class won't be easy.

According to the syllabus, Vincent Vanhoucke, a principal scientist at Google, along with course developer Arpan Chakraborty, will teach students how to build the neural networks for machines to start thinking more like human brains, according to the syllabus.

That's the essence of Google's deep learning technology: It allows machines to pick up patterns in pools of data without the need of human engineers. When it comes to recognizing voice commands or image searches, the program tries to narrow down exactly what the user is looking for.

"It is surprisingly easy to get started on it, with many examples to draw from on the web, open datasets, and a thriving community of enthusiasts," Vanhoucke writes in an Udacity blog post introducing the class. "Deep learning is just now getting out of the lab and proving itself as a fantastic tool for a wide variety of users."

But "surprisingly easy" comes with a few caveats once you look at the syllabus. Vanhoucke calls the class an "intermediate to advanced level course," which requires a minimum of two years of computer programming experience, preferably in the coding language Python.

Since launching Google Brain in 2011, the tech company has increasingly relied on deep learning for many of its algorithms, including Google Translate, the Inbox email app and Google Photos. It also has made its programs open-source, such as TensorFlow, its newest machine learning system .

In recent months, Google's deep learning technology has gotten considerable media attention due to its psychedelic-looking "DeepDream" images, which grew out of a program that looked for patterns to recognize the contents of images. a deep learning program.

Google's deep learning course isn't the first time the tech giant has collaborated with Udacity. For three years, the company has hosted Google Developer Training courses, and Google recently published a blog post celebrating the 1 millionth Udacity student enrolling into one of its classes .