CS 4644 / 7643 Deep Learning

Spring 2023, Wed/Fri 12:30pm - 1:45 pm, Clough UG Learning Commons 152

Course Information

This is an exciting time to be studying (Deep) Machine Learning, or Representation Learning, or for lack of a better term, simply Deep Learning!

Deep Learning is rapidly emerging as one of the most successful and widely applicable set of techniques across a range of domains (vision, language, speech, reasoning, robotics, AI in general), leading to some pretty significant commercial success and exciting new directions that may previously have seemed out of reach.

This course will introduce students to the basics of Neural Networks (NNs) and expose them to some cutting-edge research. It is structured in modules (background, Convolutional NNs, Recurrent NNs, Deep Reinforcement Learning, Deep Structured Prediction). Modules will be presented via instructor lectures and reinforced with homeworks that teach theoretical and practical aspects. The course will also include a project which will allow students to explore an area of Deep Learning that interests them in more depth.

Class Info & Links

Lectures: Wed/Fri 12:30 pm - 1:45 pm, Clough UG Learning Commons 152
Zoom: https://gatech.zoom.us/j/91625047484
Piazza: https://piazza.com/gatech/spring2023/cs46447643/home (code DLSPR2023, available via Canvas)
CS4644: https://gatech.instructure.com/courses/294004
CS7643: https://gatech.instructure.com/courses/293996
CS4644: https://www.gradescope.com/courses/484319
CS7643: https://www.gradescope.com/courses/484320

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Tentative Schedule (subject to changes)

Date Topic Optional Reading
W1: Jan 11 Intro lecture + class logistics.
Slides (PDF)
PS0/HW0 is due 11:59pm 01/15 (NO grace period).

IMPORTANT: All students MUST complete PS0! This is true even if you are currently on the waitlist and likely to get in! PS0 is on Gradescope, HW0 is here. See FAQ and qualtrics survey below for gradescope access if you are not registered.
W1: Jan 13 Machine learning intro, applications (CV, NLP, etc.), parametric models and their components
Slides (PDF)
PS0/HW0 due 01/15 11:59pm EST. HW1/PS1 released
W2: Jan 18 Supervised Learning, Linear Classification, Loss functions, Gradient Descent
Slides (PDF)
Supervised Learning notes,

W2: Jan 20 Gradient Descent, Linear Algebra View
Slides (PDF)

W3: Jan 25 Neural Networks, Backpropagation, Linear Algebra View
Slides (PDF)
Gradients notes
MLP/ReLU Jacobian notes
W3: Jan 27 Backpropagation, Jacobians, Autodiff
Slides (PDF)

Forward/Reverse Autodiff Examples
W4: Feb 1 Automatic Differentiation recap, activation functions, optimization
Slides (PDF)
W4: Feb 3 Optimization, Regularization, Data Augmentation
Slides (PDF)
PS1/HW1 due Feb 3rd 11:59pm (grace period until Feb 5th 11:59pm), PS/HW2 out
W5: Feb 8 Convolutions, Convolution Gradients
Slides (PDF)
CNNs notes, CNNs Backprop notes.
W5: Feb 10 Convolution Gradients
Slides (PDF) Note: From last year so ignore any administrative info
W6: Feb 15 Pooling, Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs)
Slides (PDF)
W6: Feb 17 Visualizing Neural Networks
Slides (PDF)
W7: Feb 22 Visualizing Cont., Advanced CNN Architectures
Slides (PDF)
PS/HW2 due Feb 24th 11:59pm (Grace period Feb 26th), PS/HW3 out
W7: Feb 24 Advanced CNN architectures.
Slides (PDF)
W8: Mar 1 Intro to Structured Neural Representations, Recurrent Neural Networks
Slides (PDF)
W8: Mar 3
Recurrent Neural Networks, Long Short-Term Memory
Slides (PDF)
W9: Mar 8 Project Planning Session
W9: Mar 10 Guest Lecture: Attentions and Transformers
Slides (PDF)
W10: Mar 15 Guest Lecture: Michael Auli (Meta)
Slides (PDF)
PS/HW3 due Mar 16th 11:59pm (Grace period Mar 18th), PS/HW3 out
W10: Mar 17 Meta Guest Lecture: Armen Aghajanyan - Large Language Models, Scaling Laws, and the Future of AI Research
Project Proposal Due Mar 17th 11:59pm
W11: Mar 22 Spring Break
W11: Mar 24 Spring Break
W12: Mar 29 RL background.
Slides (PDF)
W12: Mar 31 RL: RL Part 2 - Q-Learning, DQN, Policy Gradient.
Slides (PDF)
W13: Apr 5 RL: Policy Gradients, REINFORCE, Actor-Critic.
Slides (PDF)
W13: Apr 7 Guest Lecture: Zubair Irshad - Learning Object-Centric Neural 3D Scene Representations
Slides (PDF)
PS/HW4 due Apr 8th 11:59pm (grace period Apr 10th)
W14: Apr 12 Guest Lecture: Ishan Misra (Meta) - Self-Supervised Vision Learning
Slides (PDF)
W14: Apr 14 Variational Autoencoders
Slides (PDF)
W15: Apr 19 Diffusion Models
Slides (PDF)
W15: Apr 21 Emerging trends, wrap-up.
Slides (PDF)
Final Project Due May 1st 11:59pm
Note: We will encourage projects to be posted to piazza


  • 72% Homework (4 homeworks)
  • 28% Final Project
  • 1% (potential bonus) Class Participation: top endorsed answers/questions/comments on Piazza

Late policy for deliverables

  • There will be no make-up work provided for missed assignments. Of course, emergencies (illness, family emergencies) will happen. In those instances, please contact the Dean of Students office (see here for rules). The Dean of Students is equipped to verify emergencies and pass confirmation on to all your classes. For consistency, we ask all students to do this in the event of an emergency. Do not send any personal/medical information to the instructor or TAs; all such information should go through the Dean of Students.
  • Every homework deliverable and project deliverable will have a 48-hour grace period during which no penalty will apply. This is intended to allow you time to verify that your submission has been submitted (we recommend you re-download it and look it over to make sure all questions/deliverables have been answered). Canvas will show your submission as late, but you do not have to ask for this grace period. Deliverables after the grace period will receive a grade of 0.


CS 4644/7643 should NOT be your first exposure to machine learning. Ideally, you need:

  • Intro-level Machine Learning
    • CS 3600 for the undergraduate section and CS 7641/ISYE 6740/CSE 6740 or equivalent for the graduate section.
  • Algorithms
    • Dynamic programming, basic data structures, complexity (NP-hardness)
  • Calculus and Linear Algebra
    • positive semi-definiteness, multivariate derivates (be prepared for lots and lots of gradients!)
  • Programming
    • This is a demanding class in terms of programming skills.
    • HWs will involve Python and PyTorch.
    • Your library of choice for project.
  • Ability to deal with abstract mathematical concepts

Online Student Conduct and (N)etiquette

Communicating appropriately in the online classroom can be challenging. All communication, whether by email, Piazza, Canvas, or otherwise, must be professional and respectful. In order to minimize this challenge, it is important to remember several points of “internet etiquette” that will smooth communication for both students and instructors

  1. Read first, Write later. Read the ENTIRE set of posts/comments on a discussion board before posting your reply, in order to prevent repeating commentary or asking questions that have already been answered.
  2. Avoid language that may come across as strong or offensive. Language can be easily misinterpreted in written electronic communication. Review email and discussion board posts BEFORE submitting. Humor and sarcasm may be easily misinterpreted by your reader(s). Try to be as matter of fact and as professional as possible.
  3. Follow the language rules of the Internet. Do not write using all capital letters, because it will appear as shouting. Also, the use of emoticons can be helpful when used to convey nonverbal feelings. ☺
  4. Consider the privacy of others. Ask permission prior to giving out a classmate’s email address or other information.
  5. Keep attachments small. If it is necessary to send pictures, change the size to an acceptable 250kb or less (one free, web-based tool to try is picresize.com).
  6. No inappropriate material. Do not forward virus warnings, chain letters, jokes, etc. to classmates or instructors. The sharing of pornographic material is forbidden.

NOTE: The instructor reserves the right to remove posts that are not collegial in nature and/or do not meet the Online Student Conduct and Etiquette guidelines listed above.

Plagiarism & Academic Integrity

Georgia Tech aims to cultivate a community based on trust, academic integrity, and honor. Students are expected to act according to the highest ethical standards. All students enrolled at Georgia Tech, and all its campuses, are to perform their academic work according to standards set by faculty members, departments, schools and colleges of the university; and cheating and plagiarism constitute fraudulent misrepresentation for which no credit can be given and for which appropriate sanctions are warranted and will be applied. For information on Georgia Tech’s Academic Honor Code, please visit http://www.catalog.gatech.edu/policies/honor-code/ or http://www.catalog.gatech.edu/rules/18/.

You are encouraged to discuss problems and papers with others as long as this does not involve the copying of code or solutions. After discussions, all materials that are part of a submission should be wholly your own. Do NOT search for code directly implementing the assignment and submit snippets or variations of them. You can search for conceptual information but NOT code solutions. Any public material that you use (open-source software, help from a textbook, or substantial help from a friend, etc.) should be acknowledged explicitly in anything you submit to us. Our current policy is that you CANNOT use any AI-assisted (e.g. based on large language models such as Github Copilot) text or coding responses in part or whole; again, every piece of text or code you submit must be wholly your own.

If you have any doubts about whether something is legal or not, please do check with the class Instructor or the TA. We will actively check for cheating, and any act of dishonesty will result in a Fail grade. Any student suspected of cheating or plagiarizing on any deliverable including assignments will be reported to the Office of Student Integrity, who will investigate the incident and identify the appropriate penalty for violations.

Students with Disabilities

If you are a student with learning needs that require special accommodation, contact the Office of Disability Services at 404.894.2563 or http://disabilityservices.gatech.edu/, as soon as possible, to make an appointment to discuss your special needs and to obtain an accommodations letter. Please also e-mail me as soon as possible in order to set up a time to discuss your learning needs.

Subject to Change Statement

The syllabus and course schedule may be subject to change. Changes will be communicated via the Canvas announcement tool. It is the responsibility of students to check Piazza, email messages, and course announcements to stay current in their online courses.

Campus Resources

Community Resources

Project Details (28% of course grade)

The class project is meant for students to (1) gain experience implementing deep models and (2) try Deep Learning on problems that interest them. The amount of effort should be at least the level of 1.5 homework assignment per group member (2-4 people per group). The deliverables are

- Project Proposal (2%): Due Mar 17
- Final Report (26%): Due May 1st

The final report is a PDF write-up describing the project in a self-contained manner will be the sole deliverable. Your final write-up is required to be between 4 - 6 pages using a template provided with structured like a paper from a computer vision conference (CVPR, ECCV, ICCV, etc.). Please use this template so we can fairly judge all student projects without worrying about altered font sizes, margins, etc. After the class, we will post all the final reports online so that you can read about each others’ work. Additionally, we will allow people to upload additional code, videos, and other supplementary material as zip file similar to code upload for assignments. While the PDF may link to supplementary material, external documents, and code, such resources may or may not be used to evaluate the project. The final PDF should completely address all of the points in the rubric described below.


We will release a detailed project rubric format as the semester progresses.


  • The class is full. Can I still get in?

    Sorry. The course admins in CoC control this process. Please talk to them.

  • Unregistered Students who intend to register:

    If you are not registered for this course, you will not have access to Gradescope for submission of PS0. Please fill the following form in order to be added to Gradescope and be able to submit PS0: https://gatech.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3ggz8OrRB7wXqIu

    Students who individually emailed us and have not been added yet - you may have left out the details of which course instance you are planning to take (either CS 7643 or CS 4644). There are two separate Gradescope courses for the two instances. Please fill the above form in order to provide us with this information.

  • Registered students who are not able to access Gradescope:

    This will happen if you were registered to the course very recently. Gradescope rosters are synced periodically and it may take some time for you to receive a Gradescope sign-up notification. If you still face problems with accessing Gradescope, please email us.

  • I am graduating this Spring and I need this class to complete my degree requirements. What should I do?

    Talk to the advisor or graduate coordinator for your academic program. They are keeping track of your degree requirements and will work with you if you need a specific course.

  • Can I audit this class or take it pass/fail?

    No. Due to the large demand for this class, we will not be allowing audits or pass/fail. Letter grades only. This is to make sure students who want to take the class for credit can.

  • I have a question. What is the best way to reach the course staff?

    Registered students – your first point of contact is Piazza (so that other students may benefit from your questions and our answers). If you have a personal matter, create a private piazza post.

Note to people outside Georgia Tech

Feel free to use the slides and materials available online here. If you use our slides, an appropriate attribution is requested. Please email the instructor with any corrections or improvements.