Module 8: Deep Learning


Executive Summary

  • Topics:
    • Overview of neural networks
    • Overview of deep learning methods
    • Note, there is a whole class on this topic at OU so this module is necessarily brief.
  • Length: This module will take two weeks to complete
  • Assigned chapters: Chapter 21
    • Optional reading: There is a fabulous free book online introducing neural networks and deep learning.  If you want to go into much more depth, I highly recommend Neural Networks and Deep Learning

Neural Networks and Deep Learning

Neural networks, and specifically deep learning, seem to have taken over the AI/ML world, at least if you focus only on what you see in the news.  As you have learned in this class, there is a lot to AI!  In this module, we will just scratch the surface of what a neural network is and how neural networks relate to deep learning.  

Neural networks, specifically the fully-connected feed forward networks that we will study first in this module, have been around for multiple decades.  The reason that you hear more about them recently has to do with the success of the deep learning and convolutional networks (CNNs).  In the past 5 years or so, CNNs have shown up in the news given their great success at identifying a wide variety of images.  They have found their way into a wide variety of applications, including your smart phone in ways you probably don’t even notice! 

In the past year, generative AI approaches which use deep learning methods have also become quite popular.  This includes online AI image generation methods, chatGPT, code generation methods such as co-Pilot and more!  We will touch on the generative AI topic enough so that you understand the main concepts for generative AI but I again refer you to the deeper classes that focus entirely on deep learning at OU to learn more.

The ubiquitous application of ML for image recognition as well as generative AI have given rise to a number of ethical issues that we will also cover in this module.

Convolutional Neural Networks

graphic showing a convolutional neural network for a bird

Graphic from “A Beginner’s Guide To Understanding Convolutional Neural Networks