# AY 23/24 - Introduction to Machine Learning and Evolutionary Robotics

This page is about the courses named (actually the same course):

- Introduction to Machine Learning and Evolutionary Robotics (332MI), for master programs IN20 and IN19, 9 CFUs
- Introduction to Machine Learning (470SM), for master programs SM38, SM36, SM34, SM23, and SM64, 6 CFUs

## Program, goals, requirements # ↰

### Detailed program # ↰

#### Part 1 (48h) # ↰

- Definition of Machine Learning; examples of applications of ML; taxonomy of ML problems; phases of design, development, and assessment of a ML system; terminology and mathematical notation.
- Elements of software/programming languages for ML; elements of data visualization.
- Supervised learning.
- Supervised learning system assessment: cross-fold validation; accuracy and other metrics; metrics for binary classification (FPR, FNR, EER, AUC) and ROC.
- Tree-based methods.
- Decision and regression trees: learning and prediction; role of the parameters and overfitting.
- Trees aggregation: bagging, Random Forest.

- Support Vector Machines (SVM).
- Separating hyperplane: maximal margin classifier; support vectors; learning as an optimization problem; maximal margin classifier limitations.
- Soft margin classifier: learning, role of the parameter C.
- Non linearly separable problems; kernel: brief background and main options (linear, polynomial, radial); intuition behind radial kernel; SVM,
- Multiclass classification with SVM.

- Naive-Bayes classification.
- The K-nearest neighbors classifier.

- Unsupervised learning.
- Cluster analysis: hierarchical methods, partitional methods (k-means algorithm).

- Text and natural language applications (text mining).
- Sentiment analysis; features for text mining; common pre-processing steps.

#### Part 2 (24h) # ↰

- Evolutionary Computation (EC).
- High-level working scheme of an Evolutionary Algorithm (EA); terminology.
- Generational model; selection criteria; exploration/exploitation trade-off; genetic operators with examples; fitness function; multi-objective optimization and Pareto dominance; debugging of an evolutionary search.
- EA issues (diversity, variational inheritance, expressiveness); fitness landscape; properties of the representation.
- Examples of common EAs: GA, GP, GE.

- Evolutionary Robotics.
- Brief foundations of Artificial Neural Networks and EC.
- EA for neuroevolution.

- Significant examples.
- Evolution of Soft Robots morphologies (body).
- Evolution of robotic agents controllers (brain).
- Simultaneous evolution of body and brain.

- Choosing the task, the fitness; reality gap.

- Brief foundations of Artificial Neural Networks and EC.

### Goal of the course # ↰

#### Knowledge and understanding # ↰

- Know the terminology and common mathematical notation for the key concepts of ML and EC systems.
- Know and understand the main supervised and unsupervised ML techniques; know the high-level working scheme of EAs.
- Know and understand the phases of design, development, and assessment of a ML system.
- Know and understand the main assessment metrics and procedures suitable for supervised and unsupervised ML systems.

#### Applying knowledge and understanding # ↰

- Formulate a formal problem statement, using the proper terminology and mathematical notation, for simple practical problems in order to tackle them with ML or EC techniques.
- Design simple end-to-end ML systems.
- Experimentally assess simple end-to-end ML systems.

#### Making judgements # ↰

- Judge if a problem can be tackled with ML.
- Judge the technical soundness of a ML system.
- Judge the technical soundness of the assessment of a ML system.

#### Communication skills # ↰

- Describe, both in written and oral form, the motivations behind choices in the design, development, and assessment of a ML system, using the proper terminology and possibly exploiting simple plots.

#### Learning skills # ↰

- Retrieve information from scientific publications about ML or EC techniques not explicitly presented in this course.

### Requirements # ↰

Basics of statistics: basic graphical tools (i.e., plots) for data exploration; summary measures of variable distribution (mean, variance, quantiles); fundamentals of probability and of univariate and multivariate distribution of random variables; basics of linear regression analysis.

Basics of linear algebra: vectors, matrices, vector and matrix operations.

Basics of programming and data structures: algorithm, data types, loops, recursion, parallel execution, tree.

Familiarity with manipulation of mathematical notation.

## Method, language, material # ↰

### Language of teaching # ↰

English

### Teaching method # ↰

Frontal lectures with slide projection and live annotation; lab activities, under teacher supervision, in dealing with simple problems with ML techniques.

### Course material # ↰

#### Teacher slides and lab sketches # ↰

The course material (teacher’s slides) will be served directly online:

- 1st part: Introduction to Machine Learning
- 2nd part: Introduction to Evolutionary Computation and Evolutionary Robotics

The slides might be updated during the course.
Sketches for how to do the lab activities, in the form of R notebooks, are given below; please, fully enjoy the lab activity by **not looking at** these sketches too early:

- Lab 0: meet R and Iris (not done; it may serve as a
*warm-up*lab) (source, rendered) - Lab 1: hardest variable in Iris (source, rendered)
- Lab 2: comparison of ML techniques (source, rendered)

The recordings of the lectures will be available on MS Teams.

#### Suggested textbooks # ↰

- Gareth James, Daniela Witten, Trevor Hastie and Robert Tibshirani. An Introduction to Statistical Learning, with applications in R. Springer, Berlin: Springer Series in Statistics, 2014. (for the 1st part of the course)
- Kenneth A. De Jong. Evolutionary computation: a unified approach. MIT press, 2006. (for the 2nd part of the course)

These are just suggestions: a significant part of the course is not based on any specific textbook.

### Lectures timetable and course calendar # ↰

The course will start on **September, 25th**.
Lectures will be held in:

- Room TA (Aula Fisica Tecnica), building C5, Piazzale Europa Campus on Monday, 12.00-14.00 (in practice,
**12.00-13.30**) - Room 2 (Aula Meccanica Applicata), building C5, Piazzale Europa Campus on Tuesday, 9.00-11.00 (in practice, 9.00-10.30; from 28/22/23,
**9.15-10.45**) - Room 2 (Aula Meccanica Applicata), building C5, Piazzale Europa Campus on Friday, 11.00-13.00 (in practice,
**11.00-12.30**)

The lectures will be given **in person** and **I recommend being in the room**.
In compliance with the current regulation students might be required to book a place in the room.
The lectures will **not** be cast in streaming, but the recordings of the lectures will be available on the MS Teams team of the course.

#### Short announcements about lectures schedule # ↰

- There will be an out-of-timetable lecture on
**13/12/2023**from 14.00 to 18:00. - The lecture of
**13/10/2023**is cancelled because for research-related duties of the teacher.

## End-of-course test (exam) # ↰

The exam consists of a project and a written test.
The final grade is the average of the two grades: the exam is considered failed if at least one of the two grades is <18.
Student must **register for the exam session** of their interest using the online sistem (**esse3**).
Note that there are **deadlines** for registration (usually 1 week before the session date).

### Final project # ↰

The student chooses a problem among a closed, teacher-defined set of problems and proposes a solution based on ML or EC techniques. The expected outcome is a written document (few pages) including: the problem statement; one or more performance indexes able to capture any solution ability to solve the problem; a description of the proposed solution from the algorithmic point of view; the results and a discussion about the experimental assessment of the solution with, if applicable, information about used data. Student may form groups for the project: in this case, the document must show, for each student of the group, which activities the student took part in. The project is evaluated according to clarity (≈50%), technical soundness (≈33%), and results (≈17%).

**The project assignment is here.**

### Written test # ↰

Questions on theory and application with short open answers.