Predictive Analytics 1 - Machine Learning Tools

Predictive Analytics 1 - Machine Learning Tools

taught by Anthony Babinec and Galit Shmueli


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Aim of Course:

Big Data Analytics used to be the exclusive province of the highly specialized statistician, or machine learning expert.  No more.

The core value in Big Data analytics comes from predictive analytics (also called machine learning, or, more broadly, data science), and it's everywhere.  It lies at the heart of self-driving car technology, helps identify drone targets, drives what you see on Facebook,  and powers Amazon recommendations  on what to buy.

It helps the tax authorities decide whether to audit you, advises banks whether to approve or deny loans, and makes gasoline pricing decisions for fuel distributors.  It helps political campaigns decide what messaging should go to what potential voters.  And much more. has been teaching predictive analytics for a decade and a half.  Peter Bruce, the Institute's founder, teamed up with Nitin Patel and Galit Shmueli to write what is now the best-selling data mining text for business students around the world, Data Mining for Business Analytics (Wiley).  Based on Nitin's MIT course, the book is now in its fifth edition, and serves as the basis for the Predictive Analytics 3-course sequence.  In the first course of the sequence, Predictive Analytics - Machine Learning Tools you will learn:

  • How to build a predictive model
  • The difference supervised and unsupervised models
  • The perils of overfitting and the role played by holdout samples
  • Why the most accurate model is often not the best one
  • How combining multiple models often does better than using a single one

Test Yourself  - Take a 10-question quiz on analytics
This course may be taken individually (one-off) or as part of a certificate program.
Course Program:

WEEK 1: Preparation

  • What is supervised learning
  • Data partitioning and holdout samples
  • Choosing variables (features)
  • Handling missing data
  • Visualization and exploration

WEEK 2: Classification and Prediction

  • Assessing classification models
    • Confusion matrix
    • Misclassification costs
    • Lift
  • Assessing prediction models
    • Common metrics
  • K-Nearest-Neighbors (KNN)
    • Measuring distance
    • Choosing k
    • Generating classifications and predictions

WEEK 3: Bayesian Classifiers; CART

  • Full Bayes classifier
  • Naive Bayes classifier
  • Classification and Regression Trees (CART)
    • Growing the tree
    • Avoiding overfit - pruning
    • Using trees for classifications and predictions

WEEK 4: Ensembles

  • Combine multiple algorithms
  • Improve results


Homework in this course consists of short answer questions to test concepts, guided data analysis problems using software, and end of course data modeling project.  Note: There will be a mid-week discussion exercise in the first week of the course.

In addition to assigned readings, this course also has supplemental video lectures, and an end of course data modeling project.


Sample Video By Dr. Shmueli

Predictive Analytics 1 - Machine Learning Tools

Who Should Take This Course:
Marketing and IT managers, financial analysts and risk managers, accountants, data analysts, data scientists, forecasters.  This course is especially useful if you want to understand what predictive modeling might do for your organization, undertake pilots with minimum setup costs, manage predictive modeling projects, or work with consultants or technical experts involved with ongoing predictive modeling deployments.
Introductory / Intermediate

You should be familiar with introductory statistics.  Try these self tests to check your knowledge.  You will benefit from some familiarity with regression, which is covered in's Statistics 2.

Organization of the Course:

This course takes place online at the Institute for 4 weeks. During each course week, you participate at times of your own choosing - there are no set times when you must be online. Course participants will be given access to a private discussion board. In class discussions led by the instructor, you can post questions, seek clarification, and interact with your fellow students and the instructor.

At the beginning of each week, you receive the relevant material, in addition to answers to exercises from the previous session. During the week, you are expected to go over the course materials, work through exercises, and submit answers. Discussion among participants is encouraged. The instructor will provide answers and comments, and at the end of the week, you will receive individual feedback on your homework answers.

Time Requirement:
About 15 hours per week, at times of  your choosing.

Options for Credit and Recognition:
Students come to the Institute for a variety of reasons. As you begin the course, you will be asked to specify your category:

  1. No credit - You may be interested only in learning the material presented, and not be concerned with grades or a record of completion.
  2. Certificate - You may be enrolled in PASS (Programs in Analytics and Statistical Studies) that requires demonstration of proficiency in the subject, in which case your work will be assessed for a grade.
  3. CEUs and/or proof of completion - You may require a "Record of Course Completion," along with professional development credit in the form of Continuing Education Units (CEU's).  For those successfully completing the course,  CEU's and a record of course completion will be issued by The Institute, upon request.
  4. Other options - Specializations, INFORMS CAP recognition, and academic (college) credit are available for some courses

College credit:
Predictive Analytics 1 - Machine Learning Tools has been evaluated by the American Council on Education (ACE) and is recommended for the upper-division baccalaureate degree category, 3 semester hours in predictive analytics, data mining, or data sciences. Note: The decision to accept specific credit recommendations is up to each institution. More info here.

This course is also recognized by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) as helpful preparation for the Certified Analytics Professional (CAP®) exam, and can help CAP® analysts accrue Professional Development Units to maintain their certification .
Course Text:

The required text for this course is Data Mining for Business Analytics: Concepts, Techniques, and Applications in Microsoft Office Excel with XLMiner, 3rd Edition, by Shmueli, Patel and Bruce.



This is a hands-on course, and participants will apply data mining algorithms to real data.  The course is built around XLMiner, which is available:

  • For Windows versions of Excel, or
  • Over the web

Course participants will have receive a no-cost license for XLMiner - this is a special version, for this course.  IMPORTANT:  Do NOT download the free trial version of XLMiner from (it may conflict with the special course version). 



May 22, 2020 to June 21, 2020

Predictive Analytics 1 - Machine Learning Tools


May 22, 2020 to June 21, 2020

Course Fee: $549

Do you meet course prerequisites? What about book & software? (Click here to learn more)

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