MAS469 Machine Learning

Semester 1, 2018/19 10 Credits
Lecturer: Dr Frazer Jarvis uses MOLE Timetable Reading List
Aims Teaching Methods Assessment

Machine learning lies at the interface between computer science and statistics. The aims of machine learning are to develop a set of tools for modelling and understanding complex data sets. It is an area developed recently in parallel between statistics and computer science. With the explosion of "Big Data", statistical machine learning has become important in many fields, such as marketing, finance and business, as well as in science. The module focuses on the problem of training models to learn from training data to classify new examples of data. Although other aspects of machine learning will be mentioned, the module focuses on the problem of classification; other topics in machine learning are covered by modules in Computer Science.

Prerequisites: MAS223 (Statistical Inference and Modelling)
No other modules have this module as a prerequisite.

Outline syllabus

  • The main problems of data science and machine learning
  • Data sets and data visualisation
  • Dimensionality reduction - principal components analysis and introduction to other methods
  • The multivariate normal distribution and decision boundaries
  • Supervised learning: the classification problem and discriminant analysis
  • Model performance: cross-validation; the variance-bias trade-off
  • Regression and classification trees
  • Ensemble methods and random forests; boosting
  • Support vector machines
  • Logistic regression, neural networks and deep learning


  • Introduce students to the main problems in machine learning
  • Introduce students to some of the techniques used for solving problems in data science
  • Introduce students to neural networks and the main ideas behind "deep learning"
  • Introduce students to the principal computer packages involved in machine learning
  • Teach students some extensions of univariate statistical techniques to higher-dimensional situations

Teaching methods

Lectures, lab sheets

20 lectures, no tutorials


Three projects of equal weight

Reading list

Type Author(s) Title Library Blackwells Amazon
C Everitt An R and S-PLUS Companion to Multivariate Analysis
C Hastie, Tibshirani and Friedman The Elements of Statistical Learning
C James, Witten, Hastie and Tibshirani An Introduction to Statistial Learning

(A = essential, B = recommended, C = background.)

Most books on reading lists should also be available from the Blackwells shop at Jessop West.


Mon 14:00 - 14:50 lecture   Hicks Lecture Theatre C
Tue 16:00 - 16:50 lecture   Arts Tower Lecture Theatre 8