Sunday, September 21, 2008

6.870 Object Recognition and Scene Understanding

This semester at MIT, Antonio Torralba is teaching 6.870 Object Recognition and Scene Understanding. Topics include object recognition, multiclass categorization, objects in context, internet vision, 3D object models, scene-level analysis, as well as "What happens if we solve object recognition?"

Why should anybody care what courses new faculty are offering, especially if they are being taught at another academic institution? The answer is simple. The new rising stars (a.k.a the new faculty) teach graduate-level courses that reflect ideas which these professors are truly passionate about. Besides the few initial semesters, when new faculty sometimes have to teach introductory level courses, these special topic courses (most often they are grad-level courses) reflect what has been going on in their heads for the past 10 years. Such courses reflect the past decade of research interests (pursued by the new professor) and the material is often presented in such a way that the students will get inspired and have the best opportunity to one day surpass the professor. I'm a big advocate of letting faculty teach their own courses -- of course introductory level undergraduate courses still have to be taught somehow...

A new professor's publication list is a depiction of what kind of research was actually pursued; however, the material comprising a special topic course presents a theme -- a conceptual layout -- which is sometimes a better predictor of where a professor's ideas (and inadvertently the community's) are actually going long-term. If you want to see where Computer Vision is going, just see what new faculty are teaching.

On the course homepage, Antonio Professor Torralba mentions other courses taught at other universities by the new breed of Professors such as Computer Vision by Rob Fergus and Internet Vision by Tamara Berg. Note: I have only listed Antonio's, Rob's, and Tamara's courses since they are Fall2008 offerings -- many other courses exist but are from Fall07 or other semesters.

Thanks to my advisor, Alyosha Efros, for pointing out this new course.

On another note, I'm back at CMU from a Google summer internship where I was working with Thomas Leung on computer vision related problems.