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A Complete Guide on Getting Started with Deep Learning in Python

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Deep Learning, a prominent topic in Artificial Intelligence domain, has been in the spotlight for quite some time now. It is especially known for its breakthroughs in fields like Computer Vision and Game playing (Alpha GO), surpassing human ability. Since the last survey, there has been a drastic increase in the trends. (click here to check out the survey)


Here is what Google trends shows us:


If you are interested in the topic here’s an excellent non-technical introduction. If you are interested to know the recent trends, here’s a great compilation.

Here our aim is to provide a learning path to all those who are new to deep learning and also the ones who want to explore it further. So are you ready to step onto the journey of conquering Deep Learning? Let’s GO!


Step 0 : Pre-requisites

It is recommended that before jumping on to Deep Learning, you should know the basics of Machine Learning. The Learning Path on Machine Learning is a complete resource to get you started in the field.

If you want a shorter version, here it is:


Timeline : Suggested: 2-6 months


Step 1 : Setup your Machine

Before going on to the next step, make sure you have the supported hardware. It is generally recommended that you should have atleast

  • A good enough GPU (4+ GB), preferably Nvidia
  • An OK CPU (eg. Intel Core i3 is ok, Intel Pentium may not be)
  • 4 GB RAM or depending upon the dataset.

If you are still unsure, go through this hardware guide.

PS: If you are a hardcore gamer (not just candy crushers obviously!), you may already have the required hardware.

If you don’t have the required specifications, you could either buy it or lease an Amazon Web Service instance. Here’s a good guide for using AWS for deep learning.

Note: Do not install any deep learning libraries at this stage, do it on step 3.


Step 2 : A Shallow Dive

Now that you have a good enough knowledge of pre-requisites, you should go on further into understanding Deep Learning.

As per your preference you could follow:

Along with the pre-requisites, you should get to know the popular deep learning libraries and the languages for running them. Here’s a (non-comprehensive) list (Check the wiki page for a more comprehensive list):

Some other notable libraries include Mocha, neon, H2O, MXNet, Keras, Lasagne, Nolearn. Here’s a list of Deep Learning libraries by Language.

Check out Lecture 12 of Stanford’s CS231n course for a brief overview of some of the popular libraries.


Timeline : Suggested 1-3 weeks


Step 3 : Choose your own Adventure!

Now comes the interesting part! Deep Learning has been applied in various fields with state-of-the-art results. To get a taste of this side of the moon, you, the reader, gets to choose which path to take. This should be a hands-on experience, so that you get a proper foundation on what you have understood until now.

Note: Each path contains a primer blog, a practical project, the required deep learning library for the project and an assisting course. First go through the primer, then install the required libraries and get on with the project. If you face any difficulties along the way, use the associated course to back you up.


Timeline : Suggested 1-2 months


Step 4 : Deep Dive into Deep Learning

Now you are (almost) ready to make a dent in Deep Learning Hall of Fame! The path ahead is long and deep (pun intended) and mostly unexplored. Now it is upto you to make use of this newly acquired skill as efficiently as you can. Here are some tips you should do to hone your skill.


Timeline : Suggested – Infinity!


Noteworthy Resources


End Notes

I hope this learning path was helpful to you. I have tried to make it as comprehensive as possible. Now, it’s time for you to practice and read as much as you can. To gain expertise in working in neural network try out our deep learning practice problem – Identify the Digits.

Good luck! Did you like reading this article ? Do you follow a different approach / package / library to get started with Deep Learning. I’d love to interact with you in comments.

You can test your skills and knowledge. Check out Live Competitions and compete with best Data Scientists from all over the world.


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