CU plans summer courses in data science and machine learning

Registration is under way for a summer educational series offering working professionals instruction in data science and machine learning.

The University of Colorado at Boulder will offer what’s billed as Tech Frontiers with courses in data science scheduled for July 12 and 13, and courses in machine learning set for July 15 and 16. 

The courses will be offered with live instruction on the Boulder campus as well as a virtual option.

The courses will offer professionals an opportunity to refresh or enhance their understanding of these concepts without devoting months or years to training.

“We hear from our partners in industry that an understanding of these methods and how to use them is becoming a basic requirement even at the highest levels of business operations,” said Bobby Schnabel, a professor and chairman of the computer science department in the college of engineering and applied science at CU.

“So we set about designing courses that could, in a short span of time, introduce professionals and executives to the latest concepts and research in the field,” Scnabel said.

Mark Weinberg, vice president of core product engineering at eBay and a member of the CU Boulder computing advisory board, said data science and machine learning have become integral to the way his company does business — from market research and product design to customer acquisition and product delivery. 

“We’ve seen that the field and our business needs are evolving quickly,” Weinberg said. “CU Boulder’s short courses will allow our managers and professionals to gain the knowledge and experience they need to lead with confidence.”

Data has become a raw material in the digital age, one that can be transformed into business advantages, drive product decisions, engage consumers and even predict behavior and trends.

The introduction of algorithms and machine learning has accelerated how organizations learn from data and has reduced the cost of that learning, making it important for managers to understand basic functions and capabilities. 

Participants in the Tech Frontiers courses will gain an understanding of technical methods used in current practice through hands-on project experience in teams using real data sets. The courses will include an ethics component to address such issues as fairness, privacy and representation. 

The course in data science will provide participants knowledge and skills in data collection, management, curation, cleaning and visualization as well as an introduction to methods in statistical inference and machine learning. 

The machine learning course will explore deep learning, neural networks, classification methods and non-parametric methods. 

Participants also will gain access to a community of Tech Frontiers fellows who receive regular information about engineering conferences and webinars on emerging topics and invitations to events.

Participants considering a degree can choose to continue their learning through a master’s degree in data science program, which offers an on-campus program for traditional students and a degree on Coursera that uses performance-based admissions –– which means no graduate record examinations, transcripts or letters of recommendation. 

“The half-life of engineering knowledge is estimated to be less than five years,” said Keith Molenaar, interim dean of CU engineering. “Professionals need access to high-quality, innovative research, techniques and skills to stay ahead.”

“As the top engineering college in the Rocky Mountain region and a national leader in computer science, we are excited to offer access to our world-class faculty and to create a new professional network of industry leaders in Colorado,” Molenaar said.

For more information about Tech Frontiers courses, visit the website at or send an email to