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CMU (MS in ECE; MS in INI) vs UCSD (MS in CS)


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I've been accepted into:

  • CMU's ECE program from Spring 2012 (Spring admit)
    • + CMU brand name, ranked much higher compared to others
    • + Very good research related to Machine learning, chances of RA / Independent study course / projects under profs in ML
    • - ECE != CS. But SCS at CMU doesn't offer an MS in CS as such, and this comes closest. It does have the flexibility of taking up any of the CS courses though, so I'm not sure if this is a -ve point at all
    • - Spring admit
    • - Pittsburg (vs CA): Impact on job prospects
    • CMU's INI program from Fall 2011 (Fall admit)
      • + 2 year course
      • + Flexible (5 compulsory courses as against 6 in ECE; freedom to select courses, projects from any of the CS courses)
      • + Fall admit
      • - The degree seems to be a mixture of CS, Policy and Management
      • - Value of this program seems dubious (I don't have much idea though, most people at CMU say its as reputed as the ECE program and is run by the same dept)
      • UCSD's MS in CS program (Fall admit)
        • + Ranked quite high, good program
        • + CA.
        • - MS in CS : a traditional CS core program with ample opportunity to pursue research, thesis option

      [*]UCLA's MS in CS (Fall admit)

      [*]+ Ranked quite high, good program[*]+ CA[*]- ML not as good as UCSD or CMU

      I need to make a decision quickly (15th is almost here!) between the above options.

      My interest lies in ML (Machine Learning / AI), and I believe CMU's ML research is the best in this aspect, followed by UCSD.

      However, I would like to keep my options open and I also like systems (OS etc) and distributed systems, both of which are quite strong in CMU's professional programs (I am told).

      I'm not quite sure about what after Masters (Phd vs Job), I expect that decision to be made after I join a program and evaluate my interest in the research / work environment (I can apply for qualifiers at both CMU and UCSD).

      I'd appreciate any suggestions / comments that can help me make a better decision.

      What do you think?

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