Widening Access to Applied Machine Learning With TinyML

Harvard Data Science Review 4 (1) (2022)
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Broadening access to both computational and educational resources is crit- ical to diffusing machine learning (ML) innovation. However, today, most ML resources and experts are siloed in a few countries and organizations. In this article, we describe our pedagogical approach to increasing access to applied ML through a massive open online course (MOOC) on Tiny Machine Learning (TinyML). We suggest that TinyML, applied ML on resource-constrained embedded devices, is an attractive means to widen access because TinyML leverages low-cost and globally accessible hardware and encourages the development of complete, self-contained applications, from data collection to deployment. To this end, a collaboration between academia and industry produced a four part MOOC that provides application-oriented instruction on how to develop solutions using TinyML. The series is openly available on the edX MOOC platform, has no prerequisites beyond basic programming, and is designed for global learners from a variety of backgrounds. It introduces real-world applications, ML algorithms, data-set engineering, and the ethi- cal considerations of these technologies through hands-on programming and deployment of TinyML applications in both the cloud and on their own microcontrollers. To facili- tate continued learning, community building, and collaboration beyond the courses, we launched a standalone website, a forum, a chat, and an optional course-project com- petition. We also open-sourced the course materials, hoping they will inspire the next generation of ML practitioners and educators and further broaden access to cutting-edge ML technologies.

Author's Profile

Susan Kennedy
Santa Clara University


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