Free Online Resources for Data Scientists During COVID-19

Article by Hengtee Lim | April 24, 2020

In this article we’re highlighting workshops, seminars, and resources that are free, virtual, and open to the public during the continuing COVID-19 crisis. The Coronavirus has brought with it sudden changes to both work and lifestyle, but it has also resulted in great generosity and kindness as people help and support each other through shared resources.

This also true of the data science community, through the wide availability of open-source COVID-19 datasets and the mobilization of AI technology for Coronavirus monitoring, analytics, and diagnosis.

We hope the following list will prove useful to anyone studying or working in data science throughout this global crisis.


The Fastai Book is Now Open-Source

The authors of the Fastai book, which is used in a USF Deep Learning course worth $2000, have made their book open-source and free to download. The book is an introduction to deep learning, fastai, and PyTorch, and a community already exists around it for discussion and further research. Author Jeremy Howard is a former Kaggle Chief Scientist and founder of, while co-author Sylvain Gugger is a research scientist, teacher, and known textbook writer.  

Information and access to the book can be found here


Springer Nature Makes Textbooks Free

To support learning and teaching at education institutions worldwide, Springer Nature has made more than 500 textbooks (in ebook form) available until the end of July. This is part of their initiative to ensure that both educators and students are able to access necessary books and resources even without direct access to libraries. The books available include material covering data science, machine learning, and statistics.

Springer Nature announcement and further details available here
Free English textbook titles (Excel file) are available here
The above books are available until June 30th


100+ Free Data Science Books

Learndatasci has collected a huge collection of free books covering data science, big data, data mining, machine learning, deep learning, Python, R, and more. 

The collection of books can be accessed here


Free AI Courses on Udemy

Hadelin de Ponteves, CEO at BlueLife AI, has released three AI courses that can be taken for free. The courses cover logistic regression, artificial neural networks, and BERT for natural language processing, and are a good chance to develop practical skills in building models, developing neural networks, and coding.

Logistic Regression Practical Case Study information page
Artificial Neural Network for Regression information page
Natural Language Processing with BERT information page


Image courtesy of the eventbrite event page

CrossLabs Hosts Live Talk Events Virtually

Cross Roads is a monthly meet-up event by CrossLabs, which aims to create discussion and learning through a combination of cutting-edge AI, intelligence science, and the tech industry. Traditionally held in Tokyo, Japan, the talk event moved online for its event titled “Hybrid States of Consciousness: Insights from Cognition in Sleep”. The event featured guest speaker Dr. Liza Solomonova of McGill University, and is available online.

Event date: Thursday, April 23rd, 2020
Schedule: Talk starts at 21:00 JST

Catch the entire presentation on YouTube here 
Details of the event and information on CrossLabs is here


Machine Learning Tokyo Online Workshops

The Machine Learning Tokyo community was already active with remote events for their global crowd. Despite the arrival of COVID-19, they have been able to continue regular events such as their Generative Deep Learning  session, and they also recently started sessions for the book “Deep Learning for Coders with fastai and PyTorch: AI applications Without a PhD.” The MLT community is very active online and their Meetup page is a good way to expand your ML knowledge and engage with the ML community even from home.

The MLT Meetup page is available here
You can also join the MLT Slack community here


COVID-19 Developer Resource Center

This resource center, organized and compiled by ProgrammableWeb, is a helpful location that brings together a variety of resources for developers and data scientists. Resources include Coronavirus APIs, dashboards and datasources, and information on hackathons and virtual events as they become available.

Access the COVID-19 Developer Resource Center here.


International Conference of Learning Representations Goes Fully Virtual

ICLR is considered the premier gathering of professionals in the representation learning field of AI. The scheduled physical conference for 2020 was cancelled, and moved entirely online, taking place from April 26th to April 30th. The event included workshops, presentations, live video Q&A with keynote speakers, and a communal chat floor including virtual booths. Videos of the conference are expected to be made available to the public soon.

Event date: April 26th to April 30th, 2020
The ICLR2020 website and schedule is available here
For up to date information as it arrives, follow them on Twitter


Image courtesy of

The Stanford COVID and AI Conference Video Archive

Held on April 1st, 2020, the COVID and AI Virtual Conference was a chance for the data science community to gather and advance our understanding of the Coronavirus and its effect across the world. Speakers included researchers, government officials, and international organizations. Discussion topics included the challenges of responding to the virus, the use of data analytics, and forecasting tools. The conference contains more than 20 speakers across six hours of discussion and presentations.

Access the complete video archive here


Online Lectures Available at edX

Though edX has always offered a huge range of courses and classes for free, the current climate makes them an even more valuable resource for those looking to expand their knowledge base in a range of subjects, including computer science, foreign languages, and data science.

An introductory page detailing the edX process and courses can be found here


Teach from Home Guides and Tips for Teachers

The Teach from Home website is a hub of information and tools specially curated for teachers. It includes a step-by-step guide in 18 different languages, as well as guides for teaching from home with resources for the following:

  • Teaching with video calls
  • Teaching remotely without video calls
  • Making lessons accessible
  • Keeping students engaged
  • Keeping in touch with others in the teaching community

The Teach from Home resources website is available here


The Visual Learning and Reasoning for Robotic Manipulation Workshop

This event looks at how robotic interactions with the physical world could facilitate the development of visual perception, through talks on visual representations, learning algorithms, visual reasoning, and more. Scheduled for July 13th, 2020, the workshop will now run virtually, with workshops, presentations, and papers being presented in a recorded or virtual session.

The webpage, speaker list, and tentative event schedule are here


Free Meditation and Mindfulness Exercises from Headspace

Though not a directly-related resource in the field of machine learning or data science, Headspace’s free meditation, sleep, and mindfulness exercises are a helpful resource in times of stress, regardless of what field you work in. The newly released exercises are an effort to support those living and working in New York, but are also available to anyone who would like to access them.

The free exercises are available here


LinkedIn Learning Offers Free Course on Finding Success through Remote Work

This LinkedIn Learning course offers a series of videos covering a host of different tips, challenges, and strategies for remote work, including:

  • Tips for productivity
  • Managing stress
  • Time management
  • Leadership from a distance
  • Managing virtual teams
  • Guides to popular video conferencing tools

The Remote Working course can be found here



These are just a few free workshops and resources that are currently available. We will endeavor to keep this list updated as we learn of more virtual conferences and resources becoming available to the wider community. In the meantime, if you are looking for ways to keep up to date with free resources and other machine learning news, we have a regularly updated list of AI conferences in 2020 and 2021, and you can also sign up to our bi-weekly newsletter for updates.

And above all, stay safe and stay healthy.

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The Author
Hengtee Lim

Hengtee is a writer with the Lionbridge marketing team. An Australian who now calls Tokyo home, you will often find him crafting short stories in cafes and coffee shops around the city.


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