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After highschool

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At about this time next year ill be in university. Ive decided that im going to persue a career in AI - probably take a masters in ANNs or something. As far as i can tell this career will be in demand in the future and gives me the best shot at a high salary. So what do you guys think - is it worth it or should i change my mind and persue another career? "Free advice is seldom cheap." -- Rule of Acquisition #59

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Persue another career, one that you can''t be talked into or out of over an Internet message board.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
No, my point was you should choose your career based on something you love to do, not based on the random ramblings of APs.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Oh and definately don''t just do it because you think you will make a lot of money.

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But i do love programming, especially natural systems (ie water - check out members.rogers.com/ramrajb/Downloads/IslandDemo.zip - need a fast cpu). When i saw my first ANN (artificial neural net) i went nuts. They are amazing

Idealy i want to go into a career that will maximize my money - pleasure experience. I think this (AI) is it. I just want to know what you guys are going through, that is if you work in the AI industry. How are trends looking, is the future promissing for AI?

I guess what im getting at is which type of AI is worth persuing? There are many specific masters i can get, as from my current perspective ANNs look the best. Further, is AI programming as fun as it sounds? What are your experiences in this fairly young speciality?

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I''m doing my master''s degree right now (I''m unofficially focusing on graphics and AI, in case it matters). The first thing I want to say is that you don''t even need to worry about any of this. I really recommend that you just take classes in all the different areas of CS before making a decision like what do get a master''s degree in. By the end of your junior year you should have taken enough classes in varied areas to know what it is that you like the most, and go from there. Making a decision before then is just a waste of time (IMHO). I know, when I started, I wanted to do OS/Systems programming, and here I am now doing graphics and AI... I never would have guess that this is what I''d be doing when I started.

As for jobs after your master''s... you can get paid a good deal of money regardless of what you do your thesis on, so it''s not *that* big of a deal (granted, you can probably make a little more if you work in a job related to your thesis, but i wouldn''t worry too much about that, if i were you - god knows *I''m* not =)

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It depends on what school you are going to? You did not mention what university that offers an AI or ANN program. I am doing research into ANNs right now and there is a lot of things that the casual person who is just reading tutorials on ANN doesn''t understand. It takes a _lot_ of mathematics to prove what you do is correct. It contains a lot of elements of statistical analysis. You will hear a lot about classification, quantization, nonlinear regression, etc. So be sure you beef up on the math before heading down this path. It also uses a lot of linear algebra to compactly write out the ANN theory.

AI is very interesting. But contains a lot of different areas of science. You will learn about expert systems (ones that use fuzzy logic, bayes theoreoms, lots of statistics and set theory), evolutionary programming (Genetic algorithms, Genetic programming these are simple to theorize but hard to implement), and of course NN''s. Lots of math that is really advanced. Know what you''re getting into or it will be like a landslide coming down on you. If you are sure of yourself, then go right ahead. you can learn the calculus and the applied statistics in 1 or 2 years of college.

Good Luck.

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Im thinking of going to either university of waterloo or university of toronto, both in ontario. In ontario, toronto, windsor, and western are the only ones who offer graduate courses in AI.

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I agree with mmelson in that you really shouldn''t be too concerend with you masters if you are not even out of high school yet. Also remember that you dont HAVE to go to the same university for your masters. It sounds like you are already quite experinced with programming so no matter what school you go to you will probably be bored out of your mind because of the simplicity of the undergraduate classes, i know i was and I only knew QBasic before going into the CSC program! So I would suggest you look at the schools undergraduate catalog to find the school with the classes that sound the most interesting to you. Then as a junior or senior you will have a better idea on what you may want to persue in graduate school. Geez most highschoolers go into school with undeclared majors anyways, atleast you know what department to join.

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llvllatrix,

I reccomend a general computer science degree. If ANNs send you nuts, theres probably plenty of other algorithmic/logical/mathematical "constructs" that will send you nuts too that you''ve yet to dicover. Keep an open mind - deciding that you want to do a masters in ANNs in 3 or 4 years time is probably a little preemptive! With the speed at which this (computer technology) changes, there could be a million new things by then to send you nuts too.

You''re (probably?) young - chill out, the world is your Oyster.

Tim.

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Right, i figured out which university im going to. Im off to university of Waterloo for systems design. I sat down with the guidence councelor and we figured it out. The course is ment to expose you to a wide variety of systems from ANNs to robotics. Ill try to keep an open mind The only problem i have now is getting credit for my programming skills. It would suck if i have to sit through a lecture on "an introduction to variables". One of my friends (who fast tracked and is going to waterloo now) said that they only reach functions in c++ half way through the semister

Thanks for the feed back guys

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Well just to warn you, there might be a lot of lectures that you will have to sit through that you find very boring...fastracking perhaps or not...just dont get discouraged and drop out I know a lot of smart CS people that dropped out because of the one semestered mind-numbing class they just "couldn''t handle" sitting through...ugh such a waste of talent.

-Shane

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I also found that in university 'required' means 'required only if you don't talk to someone about skipping it and doing something else instead'. i found the heads of my department to be higly flexible in allowing me to skip classes in which i was already strong and replacing graduation requirements with similar but harder classes. the nicest thing about college is that it's so flexible. even if any particular major is frustrating, i know plenty of people who designed their own. so don't stress about being bored, it can almost always be worked out so you can do something different

-me

[edited by - Palidine on December 5, 2002 5:32:45 PM]

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llvllatrix,

University of Waterloo should definitely be your school of choice. No matter what program you get into, be it CS or SE, you are guaranteed a job when you graduate. Just keep in mind that your average should be above 90%, and you should make sure you have all the mathematical requirements such as Discreet Geometry and Mathematics, and Calculus.

But yeah, I wish you the best of luck! ^^

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Marks:
Calculus: 99%
Algebra: 95%
Physics: 98%
Chemistry: 96%
English: 96%
Finite: Havent taken yet


i think ill be all right

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I can''t see a career directly in ANNs to be honest. As part of my course last year I did a presentation to my seminar group and academic tutor and although they are very useful I discovered that they should only be used when there is no straight forward solution.

The only career involving these kind of things directly I guess are AI research, game programming and consulting.

If you really want to do a lot of AI (which would be wicked) I sugest you go and visit the universities you''re interested in and see what courses they offer in computing and tell them what you want to do and what they can do for you! Getting in to uni is one thing but really you want them to do more for you than you do for them.

-Meto

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As an undergrad you will have a chance to take courses in things other than computer science. Please, please look into these other departments, maybe go to a liberal arts college or think about a second major in the arts or humanities. If you are intertested in AI, these subjects will provide you with a much more solid foundation for thinking about intelligence than any CS sequence.

But whatever you do, stay away from cognitive science.

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If you hadn''t already selected the school, I''d recommend Vassar College''s Cognitive Science program. I actually studied there with Dr. Kenneth Livingston, one of the first pure cognitive scientists. Vassar''s program is the oldest, and probably the best, in the world. If you like neural networks and cognition models, that''s exactly the sort of thing you should look into. Of course, it''s a lot of work, which is one of the reasons I flunked out, but if you''ve got what it takes, it''s extremely rewarding to be on the cutting edge of a new field.

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What''s your beef with CogSci, Starchy? Despite being entirely too hard, I thought it was, and is, an excellent source of experience and knowledge of various theories and their applications. Granted, it''s about as much work as getting separate degree in computer science, anthropology and biochemistry, along with a handful of other disciplines, but if you make it through, you''ll be hella tougher than you were before.

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Cog sci seems to sit a little too far on the mental model side of intelligence for my liking. And it draws very selectively from philosophy. There may be some rebel connectionist cog sci programs out there, but then you''ve got a department that has been taken over by computer science.

I also worry about someone going into a undergrad program with the intent of a masters in AI. You don''t have to major in politics to become a lawyer.

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