Essential Math for AI

Next-Level Mathematics for Efficient and Successful AI Systems

Author: Hala Nelson

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Companies are scrambling to integrate AI into their systems and operations. But to build truly successful solutions, you need a firm grasp of the underlying mathematics. This accessible guide walks you through the math necessary to thrive in the AI field such as focusing on real-world applications rather than dense academic theory.

Engineers, data scientists, and students alike will examine mathematical topics critical for AI--including regression, neural networks, optimization, backpropagation, convolution, Markov chains, and more--through popular applications such as computer vision, natural language processing, and automated systems. And supplementary Jupyter notebooks shed light on examples with Python code and visualizations. Whether you're just beginning your career or have years of experience, this book gives you the foundation necessary to dive deeper in the field.

  • Understand the underlying mathematics powering AI systems, including generative adversarial networks, random graphs, large random matrices, mathematical logic, optimal control, and more
  • Learn how to adapt mathematical methods to different applications from completely different fields
  • Gain the mathematical fluency to interpret and explain how AI systems arrive at their decisions

About the Author

Hala Nelson is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at James Madison University. She has a Ph.D. in mathematics from the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University. Prior to James Madison University, she was a postdoctoral assistant professor at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

She specializes in mathematical modeling and consults for emergency and infrastructure services in the public sector. She likes to translate complex ideas into simple and practical terms. To her, most mathematical concepts are painless and relatable, unless the person presenting them either does not understand them very well or is trying to show off.

Other facts: Hala Nelson grew up in Lebanon during its brutal civil war. She lost her hair at a very young age in a missile explosion. This event, and many that followed, shaped her interests in human behavior, the nature of intelligence, and AI. Her dad taught her math, at home and in French, until she graduated high school. Her favorite quote from her dad about math is, "It is the one clean science".

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