Ratings for el Ghaoui, L
Based on 10 ratings for this instructor.
Comment: I absolutely love his personality. As a professor, however...not so much. This class was extremely difficult, and I have no idea why or how. The variety of topics was pretty narrow, yet I came out of the class barely feeling like I learned anything. Homework each week would take a long time, and yet scores would be low. Solutions to homework would be posted very late. Solutions to the discussions would never be posted (and I know this is due solely to the GSI, who believed that the best way to learn is to NEVER look at solutions and work it out all by yourself...on which I disagree, and simply did not have that much time for). Two quizzes, which were more fair. Midterm was too hard (felt like I didn't get anything, ended up doing horribly). Final was more fair, but still too hard in my opinion. I can, however, say that Professor el Ghaoui shows great enthusiasm for the material, and is able to teach a lot about applications of optimization in the industry. He is very nice, but I would not recommend this class. If you do, however, be prepared. And DON'T buy the textbook...it didn't help at all. Livebook helped way more and it's a free online version of an e-book type of resource.
Submitted June 2nd, 2015
Comment: A medium-interesting class overall. The lectures weren't delivered very clearly and it's hard to learn much from the lecture. However, the lecture notes and the online textbook were okay and somewhat helpful for learning the material. Homework was probably the best part of the course. They really help with understanding the concepts and getting practice on the material. Exams weren't very hard. Stephen Boyd's book on convex optimization is a very nice resource to the course and it can be quite helpful in terms of understanding and getting some nice practice problems. Compared to CS189, I would say this class goes quite a bit deeper in overview and theory on optimization. CS189 falls more on the line of 'machine learning' in practice and optimization theory is treated on the side with much less attention. Personally, I don't think it's repetitive to take both EE127 and CS189 - they complement each other well. If you're debating which one to take (EE127 v.s. CS189), I would recommend taking CS189 if you're interesting in implementing machine learning algorithms and understanding the problems that may arise in applications of machine learning and take EE127 if you're more interested in the mathematical theory of optimization.
Submitted May 24th, 2015
Comment: Homeworks were solid -- made you learn your stuff. Exams were pretty nice. Lectures need improvement, El Ghaoui uses slides too often, and it's the worst for learning math. You need to use blackboard and chalk! Very knowledgeable guy though, and the material was good stuff... wish we did more applications though. Super helpful in office hours.
Submitted May 22nd, 2015
Comment: He knows convex optimization well. His tone made me sleepy. CAUTION: the grading actually only depends on midterm (since other students would do equally well on the homework and the project).
Submitted Dec. 24th, 2014
Comment: Meh. The material was essentially half linear algebra review and half convex optimization (but only kind of scratching the surface, really). I didn't really enjoy the material. Lectures were not particularly interesting, and only somewhat useful for the assignments and exams. Homeworks were mostly straightforward, if annoyingly time-consuming sometimes. The exams weren't particularly hard -- less difficult than the previous year's exams. The GSIs and professor had sparse participation on Piazza (much less responsive than, say, every CS class I've taken). I would recommend CS 189 instead, since there is a large overlap in material (linear algebra, duality, optimization algorithms), the assignments are more interesting, and the staff is more likely to be helpful on Piazza.
Submitted May 22nd, 2014
Comment: The assignments he gave were stimulating however I didn't feel he gave us enough grounding in the basics. I would've liked a bit of a more rigorous, mathematical approach. The hyper textbook is great if you are looking for a refresher, but it is a bit too skimpy. Not enough simple exercises, and I thought it was too application-heavy. The staff were not helpful on Piazza. The final was challenging but was well-designed. The hardest part of this class is the modeling aspect (not the math) which El Ghaoui does a pretty good job at trying to develop in lecture but again not enough example problems.
Submitted May 16th, 2014
Comment: El Ghaoui is probably the nicest prof. I've ever had. He cares a great deal about his students and really wants to make sure they learn something and is willing to totally restructure the class to achieve this goal.
Submitted Oct. 19th, 2011
Comment: Prof. El Ghaoui was a pretty good lecturer. He was a bit disorganized sometimes, though. Most of the notes come from the website, which is, for the most part, complete. Assignments consist of a few proof-based problems a week plus a few short, MATLAB coding problems every few weeks to show how optimization is used in practice. The midterm was badly written with most of the weight given to one multi-part problem, but the final was much better. Practice problems were lacking, so if you need extra practice, Sanjay Lall and Stephen Boyd have great ones under EE263. Boyd and Vandenberghe's book on convex optimization was helpful as well.
Submitted May 26th, 2010