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Thinking of studying artificial intelligence? Here's a list of universities to kickstart your search

Artificial intelligence is a red-hot field. If you’re thinking about pursuing further studies on the subject, here is what you need to know.
BY Skendha Singh |   17-03-2017
Emeritus Distinguished Professor Geoffrey Hinton with students at University of Toronto;
Image courtesy: University of Toronto

Artificial Intelligence, experts say, is about to transform our world. The predicted impact of AI can be compared to that of the internet, or even to the discovery of electricity.

What will AI do? Think of the driverless vehicles that Tesla, Uber and Google are talking about. Or the promise of personalized and home-delivered healthcare by the likes of Analytics MD and Welltok. AI will make babelfish of our smartphones – allowing real-time universal language translation for free. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

If you’re excited and want to learn more about Artificial Intelligence, the first thing to understand is that, as a field of study, AI has several difference components, and approaches. So, you need to understand what most excites you!

AI has various sub-areas such as: Computer Vision, Computational Linguistics (CL), Machine Learning (ML), and Knowledge Representation and Reasoning (KRR). However, few people study AI in pure theory. Mostly, AI is studied in relation to fields such as healthcare, image and video analysis, understanding social media trends and so on. If you’re sure about studying the subject, you must also look at the school’s strength in related fields like Statistics, Robotics and so on.

Another important aspect is looking at the faculty list of your school of choice. See the lead faculty, their research interests, and publications. Since professors and researchers keep moving from one university to another, check updated faculty lists.

If you are studying at an undergraduate or graduate level and want to further your understanding of AI, you may choose to pursue a blended course. Additionally, it would be a good idea to join AI clubs and participate in hackathons.

Here is a list of 6 of the best-known places to pursue a degree in AI.

  1. Stanford University
    The university is number one for Artificial Intelligence, according to US News and World Report’s Best Grad Schools report. It offers a graduate degree in Computer Science (MSCS) in which students can choose to specialize in one or two (for dual-depth) subjects. These specialisations include Artificial Intelligence, Human-Computer Interaction, Theory and Bio-Computers.

    The course includes a study of AI principles & techniques, as well as foundational material on topics such as logic, probability & language.

    Faculty at Stanford includes Andrew Ng, Co-Founder of Coursera; and Sebastian Thrun, founder of Google X (which invented Google Glass).
  2. Carnegie Mellon University
    Possibly the only university in the world with an entire department of Machine Learning. It also has multidisciplinary learning opportunities with a Language Technologies Institute, Robotics Institute, Human Computer Interaction Institute, and so on.

    CMU offers three postgraduate options – an M.S. in Computer Science, a fifth-year masters program for current Computer Science undergraduates, and a 3-2 MBA program with the Tepper School of Business. The average fees for the masters degree is estimated to be around $43,000 per year.
  3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
    MIT is number 3 according to the US News and World Report Artificial Rankings. It is number 1 in the world for Engineering and Technology, according to QS Rankings by Subject.

    MIT offers a Master of Science (SM) degree to students who are pursuing a doctoral degree. The Master of Engineering (MEng) degree is available only for MIT undergraduates. MIT boasts of a faculty which includes researchers like Leslie Kaelbling, Regina Barzilay, Tommi S Jakola.
  4. University College London (UCL)
    London is a great place to study for those want to further explore AI in Europe. So, studying at UCL helps students to interact with industry before the course ends.

    UCL is also considered a leader in Medical Imaging, Neuroscience, Computational Finance, and Biomedical Engineering.

    The university offers masters degrees in subjects such as Data Science, Machine Learning, and Robotics. The fees for an MSc degree is approximately 27,000 GBP.
  5. University of Edinburgh
    Edinburgh is one of the UK’s oldest centres for AI.

    The taught masters offers specialist areas within the programme such as Intelligent Robotics, Machine Learning, and Natural Language Programming.

    There are optional courses such as Advanced Vision, Algorithmic Game Theory and its Applications, Computer Animation and Visualisation, Robotics: Science & Systems and Text Technologies for Data Science.

    Faculty at Edinburgh include Chris Williams, University Liaison Director at the Alan Turning Institute. The fees for the degree is approximately 28,000 GBP.
  6. University of New South Wales
    UNSW has a Master of Information Technology which provides students a broad IT education with specialized knowledge of useful areas such as Networking, Data Mining, Robotics and Internet Services.

    Additionally students have to choose to specialize in one or two other streams such as Artificial Intelligence, Bioinformatics, Geospatial and Internetworking. A few courses are also taught by experts from Data61, Australia’s government-funded research institute.

    The fees is approximately 87,000 AUSD for a two-year course.
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