Introduction to Machine Learning

Draft of Incomplete Notes


Nils J. Nilsson

Description (as of February 15, 2015):

From this page you can download a draft of notes I used for a Stanford course on Machine Learning. Although I have tried to eliminate errors, some undoubtedly remain---caveat lector. Certain elements of the typography (overflow into margins, etc.) have not been polished.

The notes survey many of the important topics in machine learning circa the late 1990s. My intention was to pursue a middle ground between theory and practice. The notes concentrate on the important ideas in machine learning---it is neither a handbook of practice nor a compendium of theoretical proofs. My goal was to give the reader sufficient preparation to make some of the extensive literature on machine learning accessible. The draft is just over 200 pages (including front matter).

There have been many important developments in machine learning (especially using various versions of neural networks operating on large data sources) since these notes were written. A modern course in machine learning would include much of the material in these notes and a good deal more.

Download the notes: 

Introduction to Machine Learning (2.1 MB)

Although this draft says that these notes were planned to be a textbook, they will remain just notes. There are already other textbooks, and there may well be more.


Nils J. Nilsson
Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
Department of
Computer Science
Stanford University

Stanford, CA 94305


Copyright © 2015  Nils J. Nilsson. All rights reserved.