I want to use C++ to learn Machine Learning instead of Python or R, is it fine?

By On Thursday, June 16th, 2016 Categories : Question & Answer

I want to use C++ to learn Machine Learning instead of Python or R, is it fine?. Are You mam and sir has this kind of inquiry?, If yes then plz read the good feedback right after this line:

Xavier Amatriain

I am going to give a different perspective to most other answers and tell you that yes, it is a good idea to use C++ to learn machine learning. Of course this assumes that you already have a good working knowledge of the language. But, if you do, using C++ to learn machine learning seems like a pretty good idea to me. Here are some reasons why:

As I mention in my answer to How do I learn machine learning?, one of the important steps in order to learn machine learning if you are an engineer is to implement algorithms from scratch. I think many other answers miss the point here because they are assuming you just want to become a machine learning user. In that case, I’d agree that there are languages with better ready-to-use libraries. But, if you are going to implement an algorithm from scratch and you are familiar with C++, why wouldn’t you use that language? The only obvious reason is that C++ is a much harder language to deal with than, say, Python. However, again, if you are familiar with the intricacies of the language (memory allocation, pointers, references, templates, the stl…) I think it is actually a plus that you use C++ instead of a more “user-friendly” language.

Another reason is that, as you mention, C++ is more efficient than most other languages. And, important libraries such as TensorFlow and Torch are implemented in C++ under the hood. As a matter of fact, many companies (Quora included) implement their machine learning algorithms in C++. Sure, they will also use Python and R for experimentation and prototyping, but many of the production algorithms will end up in C++.

As a final note, if you are able to learn machine learning in C++ you will become a very desirable hire target. Not that you wouldn’t be if you used any other language. But, the truth is that ML+C++ is a great combination that is likely to give you access to very interesting positions. (Send me a message once you are there and I am sure I can get you an interview)

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