Syllabus for Machine learning (CSCI 5622, Fall 2017)

Course description and goals

Machine learning is concerned with the question of how to construct computer programs that learn from experience. Machine learning systems have been developed and used in a wide range of settings, ranging from spam detection, to medical diagonosis, to recommendation systems that adapts to and even defines our preferences, to autonomous vehicles that learn to drive. There have also been important advances in the theory and algorithms that form the foundation of this field. This course will provide a broad introduction to the field of machine learning.

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to take a problem and analyze it to determine which machine learning techniques are appropriate for solving the problem, how to prepare data to use that solution, apply the solution, and to evaluate the results. For the most common machine learning techniques, you’ll also be able to implement solutions in Python.

It is required that you have regular access to a computer and an Internet connection throughout this course. A laptop is preferable.


We will have two lectures every week. We will have midterm exam in class. We place strong emphasis on the final project which allows students to develop skills in multiple aspects.

Preliminary topics (check course page for updated schedule)

  • K-nearest neighbor
  • Model selection/evaluation
  • Logistic regressiong
  • Deep learning
  • SVM
  • Ensembling/Boosting
  • Learning theory
  • Dimensionality reduction
  • Clustering
  • Topic model
  • Inference for probabilistic models

Required background

Mathematical background: Linear algebra, probability, calculus, and statistics. We have a quiz in the first lecture. This does not contribute to your final scores, but it helps both yourself and the instructors to know your mathematical background.

Programming: We will make extensive use of the Python programming language. Most homeworks will be in python3.

Course evaluation

  • homeworks (5 times, each 10% and the lowest score will be excluded in the final score, 40%)
  • midterm (15%)
  • final project (40%)
  • participation (5%)

Late policy

We do not allow for any late submissions. Note that since we are only considering the best four homework scores, it is totally fine if you miss one homework.

Zoom meeting ID & connection information

Meeting ID: 335-163-142

Here is how you will be able to get connected:

  • Join via web browser:
  • Join via Zoom app (using meeting ID)
  • Join via phone: 1-646-558-8656 or 1-408-638-0968

Academic Integrity

All students of the University of Colorado at Boulder are responsible for knowing and adhering to the academic integrity policy of this institution. Violations of this policy may include: cheating, plagiarism, aid of academic dishonesty, fabrication, lying, bribery, and threatening behavior. All incidents of academic misconduct shall be reported to the Honor Code Council (; 303-735-2273). Students who are found to be in violation of the academic integrity policy will be subject to both academic sanctions from the faculty member and non-academic sanctions (including but not limited to university probation, suspension, or expulsion).

Other information on the Honor Code can be found at and at

Course Policies

This course requires the use of the Zoom conferencing tool which is currently not accessible to users using assistive technology. If you use assistive technology to access the course material, please contact your faculty member immediately to discuss.

If you qualify for accommodations because of a disability, please submit to your professor a letter from Disability Services in a timely manner (for exam accommodations provide your letter at least one week prior to the exam) so that your needs can be addressed. Disability Services determines accommodations based on documented disabilities. Contact Disability Services at 303-492-8671 or by e-mail at If you have a temporary medical condition or injury, see Temporary Injuries guidelines under the Quick Links at the Disability Services website and discuss your needs with your professor. Please inform the professor of any accommodations needed relative to disabilities at the start of the semester.

Campus policy regarding religious observances requires that faculty make every effort to deal reasonably and fairly with all students who, because of religious obligations, have conflicts with scheduled exams, assignments or required attendance. In this class, inform the professors of conflicts at the start of the semester. See full details at

Students and faculty each have responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning environment. Those who fail to adhere to such behavioral standards may be subject to discipline. Professional courtesy and sensitivity are especially important with respect to individuals and topics dealing with differences of race, culture, religion, politics, sexual orientation, gender, gender variance, and nationalities. Class rosters are provided to the instructor with the student's legal name. I will gladly honor your request to address you by an alternate name or gender pronoun. Please advise me of this preference early in the semester so that I may make appropriate changes to my records. See policies at and at

The University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) is committed to maintaining a positive learning, working, and living environment. CU Boulder will not tolerate acts of sexual misconduct, discrimination, harassment or related retaliation against or by any employee or student. CU’s Sexual Misconduct Policy prohibits sexual assault, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, intimate partner abuse (dating or domestic violence), stalking or related retaliation. CU Boulder’s Discrimination and Harassment Policy prohibits discrimination, harassment or related retaliation based on race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, political affiliation or political philosophy. Individuals who believe they have been subject to misconduct under either policy should contact the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC) at 303-492-2127. Information about the OIEC, the above referenced policies, and the campus resources available to assist individuals regarding sexual misconduct, discrimination, harassment or related retaliation can be found at the OIEC website.