Course Policies

Grades will be based on the term project (40%), quizzes, homeworks and programming assignments (25%), two exams (25%), and class participation (10%).

Course workload and attendance

You must attend the TTh lectures at 9:25 am. You should expect to work about 8-10 hours per week for this class, including lecture time.

Term Project

The term project gives you an opportunity to work on a real-world statistical machine learning problem. You will pick a problem from a competition on and aim to get on the leaderboard on Kaggle while learning new algorithms and analysis techniques. Term projects will be done in groups of two. More details on the project are here.

Quizzes, homeworks and programming assignments

Quizzes, homeworks and programming assignments will be posted on Owlspace. Please watch Owlspace for these postings. The role of quizzes is to test your basic understanding of the algorithms we will learn in class. The written homeworks reinforce lecture material and will typically involve extending algorithms covered in class. Please typeset your written homework and submit them on Owlspace before the due dates. The purpose of the programming assignments (typically in Matlab or Python) is to build an operational level of understanding of the algorithms covered in class. Please turn them in before the due date on Owlspace. Quizzes are to be taken individually -- quizzes are autograded on Owlspace. Homework and programming assignments are to be submitted with your term project partner (one submission per group, please). I will grade them and return feedback on Owlspace within a week of submission. No submissions will be accepted a week after the due date.


There will be two in-class examinations. The first examination will be held on February 27, 2014 from 7 pm to 10 pm. If you have a conflict with that time or day, you can take the exam earlier on February 26 during a three hour period between 9 am and 4 pm. The second exam will be held at a time and place scheduled by the registrar during the finals period. It will be a three hour examination.

Late policies, regrades

Because each of you will probably come upon some time during the semester where so much work piles up that you need a little extra time, every student begins the semester with two free late days. After your two late days are exhausted, homeworks that come in late (up to a maximum of three days) will be assessed a late penalty of 10% of your score per late day. You should think of these free late days as extensions you have been granted ahead of time, and use them when you might have otherwise tried to ask for an extension. As a result, getting an extension beyond the two free late days will generally not be granted. In very special circumstances for which you can provide official documentation (primarily extended medical problems or other emergencies), extensions may be granted beyond the late days. All extension requests must be directed to me (, no later than 24 hours before the assignment is due.

Grading and Regrades

Your performance statistics will be posted on Owlspace. If you believe we have made an error in grading your homeworks or exams, please bring the matter to our attention within one week of when we return your work. No makeup exams will be given.


All course related discussions and questions should be posted on Piazza. Please do not send personal email to me or to the TA — Piazza is the fastest way to get a response from us and from the class community. Piazza allows you to ask questions in private as well as anonymously. We request you not to post code or answers to homework or programming assignments on Piazza. If you are having difficulty with a programming assignment and need to show the teaching assistants your code, please make a private Piazza post.

Academic Integrity

The work you submit for this class is expected to be the result of your own work and that of your team mate. You are free to discuss course material and approaches with your other classmates, the TA and me, but you should never misrepresent someone else's work as your own. It is also your responsibility to protect your work from unauthorized access. I expect you to follow the Honor Code in this course.

Accomodation for Disability

If you have a documented disability that will impact your work in this class, please contact me ( to discuss your needs. Additionally, you will need to register with the Disability Support Services Office in the Ley Student Center.
Last modified: 5 January 2014 by
Devika Subramanian