If you've ever wanted a world-class introduction to the basics of artificial intelligence, here's your chance. Every fall, engineering students at Stanford University can enroll in a class titled "Introduction to Artificial Intelligence." And now you can, too.

The class is taught by world-renowned AI experts Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig, and while the course typically accommodates about 200 students, this year Stanford is experimenting with opening up its introductory AI curriculum to the entire world — and they're doing it for free.

According to the course webpage:

A bold experiment in distributed education, "Introduction to Artificial Intelligence" will be offered free and online to students worldwide during the fall of 2011. The course will include feedback on progress and a statement of accomplishment. Taught by Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig, the curriculum draws from that used in Stanford's introductory Artificial Intelligence course. The instructors will offer similar materials, assignments, and exams.

Artificial Intelligence is the science of making computer software that reasons about the world around it. Humanoid robots, Google Goggles, self-driving cars, even software that suggests music you might like to hear are all examples of AI. In this class, you will learn how to create this software from two of the leaders in the field.

Up top you'll find your personal invitation to enroll in the course, courtesy of Sebastian Thrun himself. Here's the syllabus. Here's the (non-required) course textbook. An online study group has even cropped up over on reddit.

So far over 130,000 people — from high schoolers to retirees — have signed up for the course, which kicks off on October 10th. In other words, if you've ever wanted to learn more about artificial intelligence, you have basically no excuse not to enroll, which you can do right here.