CS121 Introduction to Machine Learning

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This course is geared toward biologists who routinely work with data and need to analyze it in a novel way, above and beyond statistical analysis, using the "machine learning" paradigm. This course teaches students how to identify variables (that explain outcomes) in an experiment and use techniques to filter, manipulate and act upon the data.

Required skills

Python and basic statistical training are beneficial but not required.



The course is divided into 4 sessions, roughly 1-1.5 hours each. Typically, 1 session per day is conducted for the live version, so the whole course is completed in 4 days. The 5th day is reserved for project discussion and any other issues the students may want to discuss.

Session 1: An introduction to the concept of machine learning with some examples of machine learning in action. Most commonly used machine learning algorithms with be outlined, along with some current applications that we use everyday.

Session 2: Python as a programming language for implementing various machine learning algorithms. Students will try out some of the course examples.

Session 3: Details of the following most commonly used machine learning algorithms -- support vector machines, k nearest neighbors, k means, Decision trees, Naive Bayes and regression

Session 4: How to choose a machine learning algorithm and the stages of implementing it, such as data collection, feature identification, training, bootstrapping and rollout

Scheduled courses

If you are interested in an upcoming course, register using instructions below. (Access to completed courses is available to enrolled students only, because of privacy and confidentiality issues.)


Registration for courses at Bioinformatics.Org takes two steps:

Step 1
If you haven't already done so, create an on-line account to access the educational section of our website. Please note that the registration for our educational system is separate from that of the main website; you will require another account.
Step 2
Register for the course by making a payment using either the on-line registration form (click on the name of the course where it appears in the list of upcoming courses; use this form only for PayPal payments and credit card payments via secured PayPal), or by sending in the registration form (PDF; use this form if paying by US checks, credit card or corporate purchase order).

Please also check the course tuition rates and discounts.

Registration deadline: When full

Tuition & discounts

Live instruction held on-line
Live instruction held on-site
On-demand instruction held on-line

Additional discounts are available as follows:


The necessary software, lecture notes and exercises will be provided.

Live instruction held on-line

On-line/live courses use the WebEx on-line meeting system. Access information will be provided prior to the start of the course. Unless otherwise noted, each lecture begins at 16:00 GMT and runs for about two hours, depending on the topics covered.

For those who cannot attend the lectures at those times, the lectures will be recorded and placed on the course website as AVI video files each day, within one day. Students will also be able to communicate with the instructor and other students via the course forums. Lecture attendance is therefore not required.

Since this will be an interactive, hands-on workshop, all attendees will need a computer with a broadband Internet connection (1 Mbps or faster is strongly recommended for those watching the live lecture), a sound card with speakers, a modern Web browser, and Java. A microphone and webcam are not required but may be used.


This course is certified by the Bioinformatics Organization, Inc., the largest international affiliation in the field, and it will count as 6 "Continuing Scientific Education" (CSE) units (one unit per contact hour) within the Organization. Students completing the course will receive a certificate attesting to that.

Refund policy

For any course type, if a student is not satisfied with the conduct or content of a course, they may request a full refund within the first two days of lecture. After two days but within a week, a 50% refund will be granted. After one week, a 100% credit toward another course will be granted. No refunds or credits apply beyond those stated here.

Additional information

Please contact us for questions or additional information.

See also

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