Links from Students:

Useful ML Libraries

Useful Datasets

Face recognition:

Character recognition: MNIST database

Object Recognition data:

Indoor Scene Recognition MIT dataset

Various other datasets:

Matlab Software:

Matlab can be used from home through "virtual lab": virtual lab
It is also available on Windows in the general student labs, see for general lab locations.
There is some freely available software on the web, however it is your responsibility to make sure your code compiles in the matlab (you can check so by using a university lab) The information below is cortesy Karim (thanks!)

Matlab Tutorials:

Machine Learning Courses: