Course title: Machine Learning

Course number: COMP.5450 (graduate), COMP.4220 (undergraduate)

Semester:  Spring 2018

Location:  Olsen Hall 503

Meeting Times: Tue., 5:30PM-8:15PM

Instructor: Dr. Jerome J. Braun,,  (Note: students who need to email me should email only to my address )

TA: Xinzi Sun,

Course overview

This course provides fundamentals of Machine Learning and its algorithmic techniques for pattern recognition, Artificial Intelligence (AI), data science, and other applications. Topics include foundations of machine learning comprising statistical and probabilistic methods, generative and discriminative models, linear regression, Bayesian methods, parametric and non-parametric classification, supervised and unsupervised learning, clustering and dimensionality reduction, and applications to large datasets.


Pre-Reqs: COMP 1020 Computing II, MATH 3220 Discrete Structures II and MATH 3860 Probability & Statistics I.

Please note:

This is a graduate/upper-level undergraduate course. All students should be familiar with fundamentals of probability, linear algebra, and calculus.  All must also be familiar with algorithmic and programming techniques needed for the implementation of machine-learning algorithms that will be taught in this course.  

The above proficiencies are assumed typical for students who have successfully completed the following courses (or their equivalents):  Discrete Structures II (or Linear Algebra), Probability & Statistics I, Computing II.

Students enrolled in the graduate section  are expected to have proficiency in the areas of probability and linear algebra commensurate with their graduate status, and are assumed typical for students who have completed Linear Algebra I and II and Calculus III.  

”Quiz 0” on prerequisite math knowledge (including Probability, Calculus, basic Linear Algebra /Matrix Algebra/ ) may, and most likely will, be administered early during the course.   This quiz will test mathematical skills necessary for the course.  Moreover, if administered, this quiz is intended to help the students self-evaluate their prior knowledge of mathematical fundamentals expected of students taking this course.  In all cases, the responsibility to have or to acquire mathematical skills needed for this course shall rest with the students.  If administered, “Quiz 0” will be required to be taken by all students in this course at the date and time of its administration.


Required textbook:

Other recommended books:

Topics Overview / Schedule (tentative)

Course Outcomes

After successfully completing this course, the students should be able to understand:


Students will be evaluated based on the following:

Participation in all administered exams/quizzes is required.  In particular, non-participation or receiving a zero-score in the midterm exam/quiz or in the final exam/quiz will normally result (regardless of any other grade-components, e.g., scores on other quizzes/exams, final project, etc.) in receiving the course-grade F, i.e., in failing the course.

Grading of COMP.5450 students:   Graduate course COMP.5450 is co-listed with the undergraduate course COMP.4220.   Students enrolled in COMP.5450 (graduate course) will be expected to achieve higher scores (and/or submit additional work) to receive the same grade as students enrolled in COMP.4220 (undergraduate course). 


Students are expected to adhere to all policies of UMass Lowell and of the CS department.  Please refer to descriptions of policies available on UMass Lowell website.

Academic Honesty Policy:  Students are expected to honor and follow all CS department and UMass Lowell policies related to academic honesty and integrity. Violators risk failing the course in addition to any actions taken by the university administration. Cheating will not be tolerated, and students who cheat risk failing the course and possible university administrative actions.  

All work on quizzes/exams must be the student's own work.  

The work on homework assignments must also be the student's own work, with the following exceptions: 1) hints provided by the TA or the instructor may be used, provided that after obtaining such hints the students perform the assignment on their own, and that having obtained hints is acknowledged in writing in the student's work; 2) forming study-groups is allowed (and encouraged) and students may engage in discussions related to homework assignments, provided that following such discussions students complete the homework assignment separately on their own (without referring/copying detailed notes from those discussions) and that occurrence of such discussions is acknowledged in writing on the homework assignment (however, doing a homework assignment together by more than one person is not permitted).  Using homework solutions from any source, such as websites or past-year’s solutions obtained from any source, is not permitted. 

Project work: The mandatory required final-project (see Grading section above) is expected to be done as teamwork performed by self-organized teams of, generally, up to three students enrolled in this course. Accordingly, a collaborative work within these project teams on matters specific to their respective final project is permitted and required (all members of the project team must contribute).  Please note, however, that this permission applies to the above final-project work only; it does not apply to any other gradable items (such as homework assignments, exams/quizzes).

Important notice regarding email: