Soroush Saghafian Photo

Soroush Saghafian

Assistant Professor of Public Policy
Office Address
79 John F. Kennedy St. Littauer Bldg 205

In the last couple of decades, the amount of data available to organizations has significantly increased. Individuals who can use this data together with appropriate analytical techniques can discover new facts and provide new solutions to various existing problems. This course provides an introduction to the theory and applications of some of the most popular machine learning techniques. It is designed for students interested in using machine learning and related analytical techniques to make better decisions in order to solve policy and societal level problems.

We will cover various recent techniques and their applications from both supervised and unsupervised learning. In addition, students will get the chance to work with some data sets using software and apply their knowledge to a variety of examples from a broad array of industries and policy domains. Some of the intended course topics (time permitting) include: K-Nearest Neighbors, Naive Bayes, Logistic Regression, Linear and Quadratic Discriminant Analysis, Model Selection (Cross Validation, Bootstrapping), Support Vector Machines, Smoothing Splines, Generalized Additive Models, Shrinkage Methods (Lasso, Ridge), Dimension Reduction Methods (Principal Component Regression, Partial Least Squares), Decision Trees, Bagging, Boosting, Random Forest, K-Means Clustering, Hierarchical Clustering, Neural Networks, Deep Learning, and Reinforcement Learning.

Suggested prerequisites: An understanding of intermediate-level statistics and probability theory (e.g., API-201, API-202, or equivalent courses)