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Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence Principles

Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence Principles Overview

From robotics, speech recognition, and analytics, to finance and social network analysis, machine learning comprises one of the most useful scientific toolsets of our age. This course provides an overview of the core principles of machine learning using a hands-on, project-based curriculum. There is an intense focus on implementing popular machine learning algorithms to solve real problems using real data.

Course Updates

This is a refreshed version of the original Machine Learning & AI Principles professional development on-site course with materials added using a popular Python neural network package, Keras. As ML and AI are both rapidly developing fields, we've added content on 2 popular neural network architectures currently used in AI: Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) and Long-Short Term Memory Networks (LSTMs).

Who is this course for?

This is designed for people working in any number of data-intensive fields, including consulting, finance, IT, healthcare, and logistics, as well as for recent college graduates and entrepreneurs interested or specializing in those fields.

Considering the data science immersive bootcamp?

Part-Time Alumni can apply the amount of tuition paid for one part-time professional development course towards enrollment in an upcoming bootcamp upon admittance.


Firm knowledge of the Python programming environment. There will not be any introductory Python material in this course. Students should not take this course if they are not comfortable coding in Python.

Basic understanding of vector and matrix algebra (how to add and multiply vectors/matrices), as well as basic understanding of the notion of a mathematical function (e.g., understanding what f(x)=x^2 or f(x) = sin(x) means).

Basic calculus and linear algebra is helpful but not required (e.g., how to take derivatives, what a linear system of equations is, etc.). A quick refresher on these topics will be provided. (Note: Knowledge of statistics is not required for this course.)


Upon completion of the Machine Learning course, students have:

An understanding of the basic principles of machine learning from both an intuitive and practical level.
An intuitive understanding of common feature design principles for image and text data.
An understanding of how to use popular machine learning and deep learning software packages in Python, as well as how to implement several popular machine learning algorithms (Linear/Logistic Regression; KMeans Clustering) from scratch.
Extensive experience applying machine learning algorithms to real data sets.
Sergey fogelson
Sergey Fogelson

Sergey Fogelson is the vice president of analytics and measurement sciences at Viacom. He began his career as an academic at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, where he researched the neural bases of visual category learning and obtained his Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience. After leaving academia, Sergey got into the rapidly growing startup scene in the NYC metro area, where he has worked as a data scientist in alternative energy analytics, digital advertising, cybersecurity, finance, and media. He is heavily involved in the NYC-area teaching community and has taught courses at various bootcamps, and has been a volunteer teacher in computer science through TEALSK12. When Sergey is not working or teaching, he is probably hiking. (He thru-hiked the Appalachian trail before graduate school).

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Course Structure and Syllabus

Week 1


Get an overview of machine learning and the course, and jump right into first projects.

  • What kinds of things can you build with machine learning tools?
  • How does machine learning work? (The 5-minute elevator pitch edition.)
  • Predictive models, our basic building blocks.
  • Getting your hands dirty with Python.
  • Introduction to regression and classification.

Week 2

Learning to Vet Real World Models

Use cross-validation to build models using real data.

  • Knowledge-driven feature design for classification with examples from computer vision (object/face detection and recognition) and text mining.
  • Using cross-validation to build robust classification models with healthcare data.

Week 3

Understanding Optimization

Go "Under the Hood" of the most popular optimization algorithm in machine learning - gradient descent.

  • Using calculus to build useful algorithms (calculus defined optimality and solving the least squares problem).
  • A brief primer on (stochastic) gradient descent.
  • Understanding the theory behind linear regression.
  • Understanding Logistic Regression for 2 class and multi-class classification.

Week 4

Making sense of data: Clustering/Decomposition and Nonlinear Regression/Classification

Use more advanced ML tools for supervised and unsupervised learning.

  • Tools for unlabeled datasets: K-means clustering and extensions.
  • Tools for high dimensional data: principal component analysis.
  • Decision Trees and Forests of Trees (Random Forests).

Week 5

Deep Learning

An intro to deep learning in Python using Keras for visual and natural language processing applications.

  • Feed-forward neural networks and backpropagation.
  • Convolutional Neural Networks - Deep Learning for Computer Vision.
  • LSTM Networks - Deep Learning for NLP.


Students should come to class with a laptop with Python installed. Using an Integrated Development Environment for Python (like PyCharm or Eclipse) is highly recommended for debugging purposes.

We will use publicly available machine learning libraries written for Python including:

  • Scikit-learn general purpose machine learning library
  • Keras deep learning Python library

Publicly available datasets from the following sources will also be used:

  • The UCI machine learning repository
  • Kaggle, a data science competition website
  • Yelp data challenge


Building a Face Detection System

When using a smartphone to take pictures of other people, built-in face detection algorithms locate faces in the camera viewfinder (usually putting little squares around each one), so the camera knows where to focus the image. We will explore how the core piece of this machine learning algorithm works, and students will get hands-on experience completing a prototype face detection system.

Exploring Deep Learning Software

Deep learning, or neural networks, are popular because they can scale with enormous datasets. Students get hands-on experience using a popular software package to perform a common deep learning task called general object detection.

Sentiment Analysis on Text Data

Gauging the general population’s feelings about a product, company, or politician (referred to as 'sentiment analysis') is getting easier thanks to massive public datasets generated by social media sites like Twitter. Students practice performing sentiment analysis on real data to understand how it’s done.

Handwritten Digit Recognition

Handwritten digit recognition is a classic machine learning problem with popular solutions implemented in ATMs, mobile banking apps (to automatically read checks), and postal services (to automatically sort mail). Students implement a multi-class classification scheme to perform digit recognition using real-world datasets.

Preventative Medicine and Healthcare Logistics

Can we predict who needs preventative care that could drastically improve – if not save – their lives? Students mine a real-world dataset to determine individuals who most likely require preventative healthcare in order to avert catastrophic medical costs and consequences.