Whoa, why the hate for neural networks and social computing? What makes you say they are classes without much future value?
From my (limited) experience, neural networks looks like it was an area that was heavily researched about two decades ago (80s/90s), but along with other topics in machine learning, I would wager it still has merit. If you're interested in AI type topics, this would be a good course to take.
Social computing is a bit of a buzzword regarding the prevalance of social networks these days, but I'm sure that employers would be interested in it. Many companies have been searching for ways to leverage the "social phenomena" for better use in their products. If you're interested in people-centric,
"web 2.0", "cloud", type stuff, take this one.
As for sensor networks, I took a wireless sensor network course taught by one of the experts in the field, and it was very interesting. You deal with the issues associated with tiny devices ("motes"), which typically have a few sensors and a low power RF transmitter. When I say tiny, I mean they are designed to run on a single AA battery or two for days, weeks, or even months. So, you run into all of the power issues associated with that, the necessary network design and topologies (you can't just use CSMA for these kinds of networks!) and how software must be designed to take into account all of these varying issues (of which there are many). I recommend this course.
FPGAs are simply amazing. I'd take this course, and then take the advanced version, if you can. My university made extensive use of FPGAs
throughout its curricula, from using them to simulate low level devices (multiplexors, decoders, adders, etc) in the entry level courses, to designing a MIPS based processor (with piplining, TLB, and caching, etc) in the computer architecture courses, to using them to simulate and write a basic operating system kernel. They show up in robotics and anything involving "custom" hardware, and you can sometimes use them in applications where you would otherwise use a microcontroller.
My personal advice is take what sounds most interesting and applicable to you and your research (assuming you're on a research track MS), but if it were me, I would take FPGA, sensor networks, and neural networks.
From: "rmd@..." <rmd@...>
Sent: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 12:42 PM
Subject: Re: [SeattleRobotics] RE: Advice needed ASAP
Take Wireless Sensor Network and Field-programmable gate array
Forget Social Computing and Artificial neural networks unless you want easy classes without much future value.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4GLTE smartphone
I am interested in the following courses that are being offered in my MS program of Electronics
1. Wireless Sensor Network
2. Field-programmable gate array
3. Social Computing
4. Artificial neural networks
But I can only pick 3. I want your advice regarding the future prospects of each and which combination would you recommend. Thanks and awaiting reply.
Sulaiman Dawood Barry