COMP 4211 - Spring 2015

Spring 2015, COMP 4211 Machine Learning [3 units]
Lecture 1, MoWe 09:00-10:20, Rm 4502 at L25/26
Prof. Dekai WU, Rm 3539, 2358-6989,

Tutorial 1 TA: Meriem BELOUCIF, Th 18:00-18:50, Rm 6573 at L29/30,

You are welcome to knock on the door of the instructor any time. The TAs' office hours are posted at


Welcome to COMP4211! (This course was formerly called COMP328.) Tutorials will begin after Week 2.

Always check the Discussion Forum for up-to-the-minute announcements.

Discussion forum is at Always read before asking/posting/emailing your question. This forum is based on modern, powerful software, instead of using the old clunky ITSC newsgroup.
Course home page is at
Tutorial info is at


Course Description

COMP 4211. Fundamentals of machine learning. Concept learning. Evaluating hypotheses. Supervised learning, unsupervised learning and reinforcement learning. Bayesian learning. Ensemble Methods. Exclusion(s): COMP 4331, ISOM 3360 Prerequisite(s): COMP 171/171H (prior to 2009-10) or COMP 2012/2012H, and MATH 2411/2421/246.



To receive a passing grade, you are required to sign an honor statement acknowledging that you understand and will uphold all policies on plagiarism and collaboration.


All materials submitted for grading must be your own work. You are advised against being involved in any form of copying (either copying other people's work or allowing others to copy yours). If you are found to be involved in an incident of plagiarism, you will receive a failing grade for the course and the incident will be reported for appropriate disciplinary actions.

University policy requires that students who cheat more than once be expelled. Please review the cheating topic from your UST Student Orientation.

Warning: sophisticated plagiarism detection systems are in operation!


You are encouraged to collaborate in study groups. However, you must write up solutions on your own. You must also acknowledge your collaborators in the write-up for each problem, whether or not they are classmates. Other cases will be dealt with as plagiarism.


The course will be graded on a curve, but no matter what the curve is, I guarantee you the following.

If you achieve 85% you will receive at least a A grade.
75% B
65% C
55% D

Your grade will be determined by a combination of factors:

Midterm exam ~30%
Final exam ~35%
Participation ~5%
Assignments ~30%


No reading material is allowed during the examinations. No make-ups will be given unless prior approval is granted by the instructor, or you are in unfavorable medical condition with physician's documentation on the day of the examination. In addition, being absent at the final examination results in automatic failure of the course according to university regulations, unless prior approval is obtained from the department head.

There will be one midterm (Mon 23 Mar, 09:00, Rm 4502, L25-26) worth approximately 20%, and one final exam (Fri 22 May, 12:30, LG1027) worth approximately 25%.


Science and engineering (including software engineering!) is about communication between people. Good participation in class and/or the online forum will count for approximately 5%.


All assignments must be submitted by 23:00 on the due date, unless otherwise specified. Late assignments cannot be accepted. Sorry, in the interest of fairness, exceptions cannot be made.

Assignments will account for a total of approximately 30%.


All information for tutorials is at


Other material and background review
Last updated: 2015.05.10