It turns out that either pytorch doesn’t yet support CUDA9 / cudnn 7.7 or I was unable to find a way to set everything up. The notebooks ran but training was much slower than on CUDA8.
I updated the installation script so that it installs CUDA8 and installs pytorch using instructions on pytorch.org. This script also installs everything needed for running the notebooks. I tested it with the lesson1 notebook and both imports and training seems okay.
One good use case for this script is installation on a local box (this is how I plan to use it).
I also published a new ami for use on p2.xlarge (with CUDA9 gone this will no loner work on p3.2xlarge), however I would suggest using the official AMI for this course provided by @jeremy .