Learning Machine Learning
(and then Teaching it)
The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Machine Learning (ML) has caught the attention of the world in a way that no other technological leap has done. Despite a belief that this field had over-promised and under-delivered over the years, I felt the need to become literate in ML – to help in a new research program that seeks greater automation in medicine. With some progress made during a recent sabbatical, I was asked to teach an introductory ML course. In this talk, I describe my experience. I will try to introduce the basics of ML in an inter-disciplinary-friendly-way, including some basic intuitions and explanations of what is happening, and the truly fascinating capabilities surrounding language comprehension. I’ll then talk about the experience of teaching it to a great group of students, and then describe some of the students’ projects. Finally, I’ll cover how the language capability has helped us create a simple computer chatbot to help smokers begin the process of quitting smoking.
Jonathan Rose is Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering whose long-time research dealt with the architecture of programmable hardware and optimization into those devices. He has recently pivoted his research towards the automation of medicine using software technologies, including machine learning, with a specific focus on the support of mental health diagnosis and therapy. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, ACM, the Canadian Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Canada and a Foreign Member of the American National Academy of Engineering. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Canadian NGO Academics without Borders since 2012, and on the Massey College Governing Board since 2011.