Resources for MSAIL Members

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Table of Contents

About this page

This page serves as a conglomeration of resources for MSAIL members to gain access to knowledge regarding AI. This includes technical content, ways to get involved on campus, opportunities for research, jobs, and networking, and other advice regarding involvement in the field.
We intend to continually update this page with more resources and will occasionally restructure it to provide better depth.

Learning Concepts

It’s important to know that AI is a broad field spanning the past century. We shouldn’t simply think of AI as “deep learning”, because it’s not. We’re listing resources regarding the most popular topics first because we understand they’re likely what initially grabbed your interest, but do note that there’s plenty of research being carried out on topics that we’ve probably never even heard of.

Sam Finlayson from Harvard/MIT has a fantastic page on resources you can use to dive into ML. It’s quite advanced but provides a good starting point for those looking for a comprehensive list. We’ll be using some of these resources in our own lists.

Keep in mind that just because we link a large list doesn’t mean you should be going through the entire thing. There’s way too much stuff to look at. The links within links within links are all meant to provide options; choose a specific topic that interests you (for example, generative models) and slowly explore it.

Intro to Deep Learning

Understanding deep learning to a satisfactory degree requires working familiarity (but not necessarily mastery) with the following prerequisite topics:

  • Vector and Matrix Operations
  • Calculus (Partial and total derivatives, gradients)
  • Probability
  • Basic statistics

Check out the slides/recordings from our education sessions, where some of these concepts are explained.

For a more thorough introduction to the field, we suggest the following resources:

In particular, the second listed resource (EECS 498/598) is a course offered here every Fall. It is very similar to CS231n, so just one of the two would be satisfactory. These two courses are extremely well designed and we recommend them as a starting point.

Computer Vision

EECS 598 and CS231n (linked above) are a good start for getting involved with vision. These courses are heavily focused on deep learning, so if you want to learn about some of the methods that were popular before deep learning took off, try materials from EECS 442.

Here’s a massive resource list called Awesome Computer Vision

The reason we link those courses above is because they cover a good breadth of topics in vision. You will know what you need to in order to make proper searches for your own research and projects once you’ve gone through one of them.

Natural Language Processing

NLP also has a few courses worth looking at:

Other resources:

Reinforcement Learning

Here are some courses you can look at to learn about reinforcement learning:

Open AI put a ton of effort into creating a comprehensive resource for people to learn RL:

Other resources:

  • Awesome RL
    • Similar to Awesome CV/NLP linked in the previous sections, this is a massive list of resources to get acquainted with the field.
  • Resources from DeepMind
  • Sutton & Barto - Intro to RL Textbook
    • This is the de facto textbook for people to self-study RL. We can’t guarantee that this link will always work, but if it’s taken down, “Sutton and Barto” is all you’d need to search up.
  • Lilian Weng’s Lil' Log
    • Her blog contains more than just RL, but her RL posts are thorough and accessible (provided you have a basic ML background). In general, we really recommend blog posts from professionals because they’re easy to read yet rife with information.

Finally, we also have the reinforcement learning theory course (EECS 598) here at Michigan. However, materials aren’t posted online and enrollment is, as usual, heavily limited - so we recommend looking at the materials from other courses in the meantime.

We’re in the process of adding more learning resources!

Campus involvement

Getting involved during your time on campus is the fastest way to learn about AI. You should definitely take relevant courses, but we also recommend joining a research group or relevant team to get more practice and familiarity with relevant topics. This includes participating in MSAIL-sponsored projects. MSAIL has a reading group, but it’s hard to balance all the different subfields of AI in just ~15 sessions in a semester. We highly recommend joining reading groups for more depth regarding the topics you’re interested in.


Last updated on 9/23/21. This is a listing of courses related to AI (from a technical perspective) here at the University of Michigan. We tried to be as comprehensive as possible, but there are far too many courses to sift through, so we may have missed some. More information is available on the LSA course guide.

As a side note, there are many courses that we can argue are related to AI from a less technical perspective. For example, take classes in the cognitive sciences - the development of human-like AI is heavily motivated by studies in this field. We leave these classes out for brevity’s sake.

Undergraduate-level Classes:

Class Code Class Name Last offered?
EECS 442 Computer Vision F21
EECS 445 Machine Learning F21
EECS 492 Intro to AI F21
EECS 467 Autonomous Robotics (MDE) F21
LING 441 Introduction to Computational Linguistics F21
ROB 102 Introduction to Robotics Algorithms and Programming F21
EECS 367 Introduction to Autonomous Robotics F20
ROB 464 Hands-on Robotics W20

Graduate-level Classes:

Class Code Class Name Last offered?
EECS 505 Computational Data Science and Machine Learning F21
EECS 545 Machine Learning F21
EECS 592 Foundations of AI F21
EECS 542 Advanced Topics in Computer Vision F21
EECS 551 Matrix Methods for Signal Processing, Data Analysis, and Machine Learning F21
EECS 595/LING 541 Natural Language Processing F21
ROB 535 Self Driving Cars: Perception and Control F21
AEROSP 567 AEROSP 567: Inference Estimation and Learning F21
EECS 568/ROB 530 Mobile Robotics W21
EECS 692 Advanced Artificial Intelligence W21
EECS 504 Foundations of Computer Vision F20

Special Topics Classes:
Each of these classes is listed under EECS 498, 598 or both - you will need to select the relevant section when registering.

Class Code Class Name Last offered?
EECS 498 Principles of Machine Learning F21
EECS 598 Randomized Numerical Linear Algebra for Machine Learning F21
EECS 498 Intro to Algorithmic Robotics F21
EECS 498 Conversational AI F21
EECS 598 Human-Computer Interaction F21
EECS 498 Intro to Natural Language Processing W21
EECS 498/598 Ethics for AI and Robotics W21
EECS 498/598 Applied Machine Learning for Affective Computing W21
EECS 598 Statistical Learning Theory W21
EECS 598 Unsupervised Visual Learning W21
EECS 598 Adversarial Machine Learning W21
EECS 598 Systems for AI W21
EECS 556/598 Image Processing W21
EECS 498/598 Deep Learning for Computer Vision F20
EECS 598 Reinforcement Learning Theory F20
EECS 598 Deep Learning for NLP F20
EECS 598 Situated Language Processing for Embodied AI Agents W20
EECS 598 The Ecological Approach to Vision W20

Research Labs

A list of professors is available on the Michigan AI Lab faculty page. Each professor’s lab will be linked to on their homepage.

Reading Groups

Right now, we are aware of three relevant reading groups that allow for public participation. Many research labs have internal reading groups as well.

Group Name Page
Computer Vision Reading Group
Natural Language Processing Reading Group
Reinforcement Learning Reading Group


AI researchers nowadays usually write papers with the goal of submitting them to a conference. Conferences are a great way to meet other people in the field, get feedback on your work, and discuss ideas about further research. These are usually good places to start if you want to look for recent literature on a given topic.

Listed below are links to the pages of some highly-ranked machine learning conferences. Note that most of these links are for specific years (mostly 2021 because that’s when this list was first made); use Google to look up pages for other years.

This is not intended to be a complete list of AI/ML conferences. Usually, your first paper will be at a lower-tier conference as you get used to publishing.

General ML Conferences


Computer Vision Conferences


Natural Language Processing Conferences


Medium/Blog Articles

Medium articles are nice because they tend to be much shorter and easier to read than bona fide research papers. However, not all Medium articles are high quality. As such, we have provided a selection of high-quality Medium articles and blog posts in the vein of a Medium article. MSAIL also publishes its own blog.

Under construction – we will be adding more articles in the near future!


“A Gentle Introduction to Machine Learning Concepts (Robbie Allen)"

Computer Vision

Overview of GANS (Zak Jost): “Part 1 (GAN)", “Part 2 (DCGAN)", “Part 3 (InfoGAN)"
“Understanding Variational Autoencoders (VAES) (Joseph Rocca)"


“The Illustrated Transformer (Jay Alammar)"
“How GPT3 Works - Visualizations and Animations (Jay Alammar)"
“Transformer Architecture: The Positional Encoding”


“How Graph Neural Networks (GNN) work: introduction to graph convolutions from scratch (Nikolas Adaloglou)"
“Understanding Latent Space in Machine Learning (Ekin Tiu)"
“Papers we love” repository

Meta-skills and Mindset

Conducting Research

Richard Hamming: “You and your research”
Michael Nielsen: “Principles of Effective Research”
John Schulman: “An Opinionated Guide to ML Research”

Reading research papers

Giving Talks

Grad School