Official Course Description
Machine learning (ML) is about algorithms which are fed with (large quantities of) real-world data, and which return a compressed “model” of the data. An example is the “world model” of a robot: the input data are sensor data streams, from which the robot learns a model of its environment — needed, for instance, for navigation. Another example is a spoken language model: the input data are speech recordings, from which ML methods build a model of spoken English — useful, for instance, in automated speech recognition systems. There exist many formalisms in which such models can be cast, and an equally large diversity of learning algorithms. However, there is a relatively small number of fundamental challenges which are common to all of these formalisms and algorithms. The lecture introduces such fundamental concepts and illustrates them with a choice of elementary model formalisms (linear classifiers and regressors, radial basis function networks, clustering, online adaptive filters, neural networks, or hidden Markov models). Furthermore, the lecture also (re-) introduces required mathematical material from probability theory and linear algebra.
- Hastie, Tibshirani, Friedman: “The Elements of Statistical Learning” (Second Edition), Springer
- Shalev-Shwartz, Ben-David: “Understanding Machine Learning: From Theory to Algorithms”, Cambridge University Press
- Géron: Hands-On Machine Learning with Scikit-Learn, Keras & TensorFlow
Further useful references for the math background:
Linear algebra and probability reviews available at http://cs229.stanford.edu/syllabus.html
Grading and final exam
The grades for this lecture will be determined by a final written exam (100%). If not otherwise indicated, it will cover all content of the course.
The grade of the final exam can be improved by 0.33 grade points if the following two conditions are both fulfilled:
- at least 50% of the points from the weekly quizzes of the live lecture are achieved, and
- at least 50% of the points from the weekly homework assignments are achieved.
There is no re-scheduling, repetition or compensation option for the Bonus Achievements in case of illness. This holds even if a sick certificate is presented.
All official announcements for this course will be posted via the below announcement forum, to for which all students have a mandatory subscription. Additionally, there is a forum for interaction with the instructor and the TA wrt. general questions. All course-related (non-private) communication should be placed to that general discussion forum.
Course related questions and inquiries
Culture of interaction
- Please feel free to ask questions at any time!
- Please tell the instructor, if he is too slow / fast / boring / excited / . . . by giving feedback via the lecture forum or in a private communication.
- Please use the “virtual” open-door policy, i.e. send a brief message and we can have a meeting.
Officially, this course has two lecture slots per week, namely Tuesdays, 11:15-12:30 and Fridays (tba). The initial (online!) meeting of the course will take place on Tuesday, February 2, 11:15-12:30 in this time period. You can access the meeting via the link further down this page.
Afterwards, however, we will chose a more flexible blended learning approach. First important message: For now, the course will be taught online in a partially synchronous (i.e. live), partially asynchronous, and partially personal way. What this exactly means is discussed below.
Lecture notes – “Delivery” of factual content
During the semester, the instructor will newly develop lecture notes, i.e. pretty much a book on machine learning with examples and explanations. It will be a typesetted document that will finally contain all lecture contents that are required to be known to pass the exam. Every week, students are required to read a new section of these lecture notes. Thereby they will passively acquire the theoretical knowledge of the lecture. Certainly, acquiring knowledge just by reading is a tedious task. Therefore, this “core content delivery” is enriched by several additional offers.
Live lecture – Reminding, strengthening, exploring
Within the Tuesday lecture slot, more precisely on Tuesdays, 11:15-12:30 using the link below, a live (for now) online meeting (on Zoom) takes place. During that meeting, a “camera on” policy holds, i.e. all students are supposed to switch on their cameras.
The Tuesday meetings will have the following components:
- Quiz: All meetings will start by a Moodle quiz for which the students have (tba) minutes of time to complete it. The quiz is an open-book quiz, i.e. students are allowed to use the lecture notes or whatever other information source that could help them to solve the quiz. The quiz is also one of the two mandatory components of the Bonus Achievements.
- Q & A: After the quiz, students will have the opportunity to ask questions. Plenty of time, will be available for this part, if students desire it.
- Strengthening: Depending on the content, additional examples, re-iteration of theory, quick paper and pencil tasks etc. are offered by the instructor in order to dive deeper into the topic.
- Exploring: Depending on the content, students might actively work with some machine learning code to try out the just acquired knowledge.
“Bookable” slot – Personalized content support
During the the Friday slot, i.e. on Fridays (tba), a single student or a group of students can “book” slots of 10 minutes (maximum 2 slots, if in groups) with the instructor for a more personalized support with the lecture content. With this offer, the instructor wants to overcome the issue of sometimes strongly varying learning habits of students, which is in particular pronounced in large groups. Use the below scheduling tool to book a slot and the below zoom link to enter the meeting.
Per week, four tasks are published as homework assignments on Moodle. They will support the student in further practicing the content that was read and discussed in the previous week. Also, they are the second component of the Bonus Achievements. About three of the tasks cover theory work (manually computing a predictor, proving, …) and about one task covers the implementation of machine learning algorithms in Python or C/C++.
- deadline: weekly on (tba)
- format: via Moodle, as indicated
- in groups: 1-3 students, depending on class size, participation, etc.
- exercises evaluated with points by TAs
- at least 50% of the points are need as one of the requirements of the Bonus Achievements
- Reference solutions
- TAs provide graded homeworks and tutorials discuss solutions.
- Reference solutions will be published one week after the content has been discussed in the tutorials.
- no points are given for copied homework (affects both parties)
Once per week, a TA offers a tutorial. In the tutorial, students can ask further questions. Moreover, the TAs discuss the solutions to the previous assignments and answer questions on the new assignments. The tutorial takes place on (tba) in a (tba) format.