Should I start now? Or wait until the fastai v1 course in 2019?


#1

Hi all,

I am looking for a bit of advice about starting the course. I have been considering starting the course for a year, and was about to do it, but I see everyone excited about the new fastai v1, and that the course using it will come out in 2019.

Would you recommend:

  1. Start the course now, and use fastai v0.7?
  2. Start the course now, and use fastai v1?
  3. Wait until the new version of the course comes out, and use v1 then?

Additionally, I saw a blogpost on using Google Colab for fastai https://medium.com/@prakash_31206/fastest-way-to-setup-fast-ai-course-notebooks-for-free-using-google-colab-gpu-and-clouderizer-c8a004e1d50d - Is there a negative to using that over paperspace (besides the fact that it closes after 12 hours)?

Thanks everyone!


(Marius) #2

You should start now and use fastai v0.7 as the notebooks are written!

Seriously, you can easily finish the course now until the new version comes out. If you wait until january or february you easily miss out on 2-3 months of time you could spend learning the stuff that is already in the fastai courses.

And the API changes from v0.7 to v1.0 are not that big. Furthermore that’s not the point! If you have a solid understanding of how to train neural networks the api is just a means to an end.

Also I would start on paperspace. There are plenty of 15$ coupon codes to find here in the forum and it is the easiest setup. It would be very frustrating to spend like 10h setting up the environment alone. And I had no luck with Google Colab so far. I did the first 4 lessons on paperspace and I have maybe spend 5$ or so because of the coupon code.


(Theodoros Galanos) #3

I thought it all works with v1 as well no, at least I managed to run the first couple of them with v1.

Maybe I’ve been doing it wrong, I should also say family/work haven’t let me dive into it yet.


#4

It depends on how comfortable you are with code. If you are somewhat comfy, fastai 1 is well documented and you should be able to re-write the 0.7 notebooks with a modest amount of research. Expect a few curveballs, but a lot of those involve fastai 1 being simpler than 0.7, and ‘why do I only write one line of code when the notebook has six lines?’ The other five lines are probably defaults in the one line. You can still tweak those parameters, but your initial models can bypass those decisions and just roll with the defaults.


(Pawel) #5

Definitely start now, the knowledge and experience you gain will help you when new version goes public.


(Cedric Chee) #6

Definitely start now. Practice, practice, practice. This is the key to build and gain intuition around a concept. And this takes a long time.

The API changes is huge. I think you intended to say that the changes in DL concepts (and knowledge) from the old course to the new course are not that huge.


#7

Thanks all – I see the consensus – I just signed up for paperspace yesterday, and hope to start on the content later today (it’s my first time working on a cloud server, so there was a bit to learn there :slight_smile: )

One last advice question for now: When going through the course, do you recreate the notebooks from scratch? Or do you generally copy the notebooks from git, and run/edit/rewrite as you go?

Thanks


#8

Jeremy recommends watching the videos, later trying to replicate the model from scratch, and only checking the existing notebooks when you get stuck. Not everybody is able to pull this off, so do as much you can, as long as it is more than just clicking straight through the notebooks. Spend as much time in the code as possible, and a few videos in you will be rolling your own.


(Wallace Hobbes) #9

Hi there,

I asked myself same question and decided to go ahead with 2k18: Jeremy recommends going through the material a first time fast to learn the concepts and then re-watch the videos and dig deeper. So planning doing first pass on 2k18 and will dig deeper on 2k19.

As for Collaboratory it is a easy setup and a great platform, I combined info from different blog/forum posts and get it set up in a couple of hours, I can share the notebook on Github if you want so you can get it ready in couple of minutes. So far very happy with it, I always have 11GB GPU for myself, so same than paper space but free :slight_smile:


#10

That sounds great - I’d love to see the notebook, thanks

Alan


(Wallace Hobbes) #11

Here you go, Lesson 1&2 for now, will add others as I go through material.

https://github.com/whobbes/fastai

W.


#12

Thanks!