Introducing Data Science Seminars

Friday, April 27, 2012
File under: Seminar Room

Update June 13, 2012: Unfortunately, we didn’t get enough registrations for the June date, so we postponed the meeting. You can still register to indicate you’re interested. Once we have enough registrations, we’ll look for a date. Then you have the choice whether to confirm your registration or to unregister.

I’m very excited to announce our first Data Science Seminar. It will be a one-day seminar taking place on June 8th, 2012, in Berlin. The seminar is aimed at professionals who are dealing with data in their job and want to learn how to extract meaningful information for whatever business they are working on.

The approach we take is inspired by the way we have been teaching a practical course in machine learning for the last few years at TU Berlin. This is a hugely successful (well, at least based on the feedback we’re getting, sometimes even years later) one semester course where we discuss basic algorithms for all kinds of data analysis questions with a strong focus on practical experience.

Normally, if you go to some data analysis lecture or read a book like “The Elements of Statistical Learning”, “Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning”, or “Pattern Classification”, the approach is usually quite heavy on the mathematical foundations, often at the expense of intuition. The concepts and ideas behind the formuals are something you have to uncover for yourself, which requires quite some experience with that kind of thinking.

For the practical course, we took a different approach which emphasized concepts and practical experience with the algorithm at hand. This was done as follows: We first explained the problem the algorithm tries to solve and explained how the algorithm works in general terms. Then, we went through the algorithm in pseudo-code. Next, the students were asked to implement the algorithm and apply it to a number of given data sets, play with the data and the parameters of the data set to get some intuition on how the algorithm works. Implementing the algorithm and finding the bugs in the algorithm proved to be very informative as well. At the end of the course, each student had implemented half a dozen of algorithms and got a very good feeling for the strength of weaknesses of the algorithms and how the algorithms work.

The data science seminar will follow in this spirit and focus on concepts and ideas more than mathematical formulas. We will also touch upon topics like how to represent your data, or how to validate that the results produced in your analysis are actually reliable, which are often underrepresented in textbooks. We will also give you insight into our experience in working with real-world data sets and tell you about the “dos and dont’s” of data analysis.

You can register for the course on the course website. If you have more information or questions, write an email to We also have a number of 10%-coupons which we’ll hand out to the first five people asking for them at the email address above, so be quick if you want that discout ;)

Posted by Mikio L. Braun at 2012-04-27 11:30:00 +0000

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