Would it be possible for a an amateur who is interested in getting some "hands-on" experience in desining and training deep neural networks, to use an ordinary laptop for that purpose (no GPU), or is it hopeless to get good results in reasonable time without a powerful computer/cluster/GPU?
To be more specific, the laptop's CPU is an Intel Core i7 5500U fith generation, with 8GB RAM.
Now, since I haven't specified what problems I would like to work on, I'll frame my questions in a different way: which deep architectures would you recommend that I try to implement with my hardware, such that the following goal is achieved: Acquiring intuition and knowledge about how and when to use techniques that were introduced in the past 10 years and were essential to the uprising of deep nets (such as understanding of initialisations, drop-out, rmsprop, just to name a few).
I read about these techniques, but of course without trying them out myself I wouldn't know exactly how and when to implement these in an effective way. On the other hand, I'm afraid that if I try using a PC which isn't strong enough, then my own learning rate will be so slow that it would be meaningless to say that I've acquired any better understanding. And if I try using these techniques on shallow nets, maybe I wouldn't be building the right intuition.
I imagine the process of (my) learning as follows: I implement a neural net, let it practice for up to several hours, see what I've got, and repeat the process. If I do this once or twice a day, I would be happy if after, say, 6 months I will have gained practical knowledge which is comparable to what a professional in the field should know.