Artificial Intelligence has made great advances recently. It is turning industries upside down and it’s becoming increasingly clear that AI could very well be the biggest change to our way of life since the industrial revolution. Countless industries will be affected by it, finance perhaps most of all. Yet there is a huge lack of people with the right set of skills to lead this change. The world needs individualswith financial domain knowledge as well as AI expertise.
Bletchley is a bootcamp on machine learning in a financial context organized by Turing Society, B&R Beurs and IFSA at Erasmus University Rotterdam. It teaches real, technical skills that are highly valued by employers over the course of 8 intensive weeks. At the end of the track, students will have a solid understanding of modern machine learning (ML) techniques and know how to apply them in real life situations.
The bootcamp will run on Erasmus University campus, from 7th February to 9th April 2018. Check the bootcamp facebook page for event updates.
What will I learn?
The course teaches machine learning (ML), especially deep learning, and its applications in the world of finance. The course follows a buffet approach, meaning it gives you an introduction to many subfields and shows you how you can dive in deeper. After completing the course you will have a solid understanding of the most important techniques and will be able to build your own systems to tackle business and finance problems.
We will cover the following topics:
- 7th February: Kick-off event
- Week 1 (12th Feb): Intro to ML, underlying math & building Neurol Networks from scratch
- Week 2 (19th February): Structured data & intro to Keras
- Week 3 (26th February): Computer vision & convolution
- Week 4 (5th March): Sequence models & natural language processing
- Week 5 (12th March): Generative models
- Week 6 (19th March): Debugging NNs
- Week 7 (26th March): Reinforcement learning & the road to AI
- Week 8 (2nd April): Own project work
- Week 9 (9th April): Roundup & Final project
Note that all hack nights will take place on a Monday, in the evening. Click here to apply.
The Bletchley Bootcamp builds on an open-source, interactive online textbook that students can tweak and use to play around with code. But Bletchley is so much more than that. The bootcamp is centered around weekly machine learning competitions in which students work in teams to develop models that solve real-world tasks. The weekly challenges end with a hack night where teams get together to make some final tweaks to their models and compete for the top spots. Several social events are organized around the weekly competitions and partner firms join in regularly to share their own stories on working with ML. Click here to apply.
Machine learning is a way of software development that replaces handcrafted rules with learning systems. This means you don’t need to be an expert coder to become an expert in ML and AI. However, a certain level of Python is required to effectively follow the lessons. You should be comfortable with the following:
- Basic python syntax
- Variables, especially lists and strings
- If statements
- Working with matrices and Numpy
- Basic Pandas
If you are not quite comfortable with all of these methods yet we strongly recommend you do an online course like Python for Data Science, Learn Python.org or Codecademy first. They do a tremendous job at explaining the basic concepts in a very concise way. For MATLAB users we recommend reading A Python Primer for MATLAB Users. Turing Society also offers free Python classes in the run-up to the actual bootcamp.
How much time and money does it cost?
We recommend you plan in 20 hours a week for studying materials, working on your teams model and joining the hack nights. The bootcamp is designed to take slightly more time in the beginning of the year and less time towards exam weeks. Nevertheless, learning new technical skills is a real challenge and does take some effort.
To cover the costs of the bootcamp we charge 100€ from participants. The biggest cost will be computing power, which you’ll be given 50 euros in credits for. This should be enough for the course, anything above that you will have to pay yourself.
Applications for the Bletchley Bootcamp taught in Rotterdam are closing on the 21st of January at midnight. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis so we recommend you apply as soon as possible.
The application process works in two steps. The first is a regular application in which you fill out the application form.
For your application we require:
- Your Name and contact information
- An application essay (see below)
- Your CV
- Your GPA
- Links to previous work with software (Optional)
Your application essay should not exceed 500 words. We ask you to answer 3 questions:
- What motivates you to participate?
- How will you ensure you have enough time?
- Do you have previous experience with technology?
The application form will appear here on the 6th of November.
Basic Python is a prerequisite to the bootcamp. If we select you for the second round, we will send you a small coding challenge via email to make sure you can write a simple program in python. If you do not have any Python skills yet, don’t sweat it. You can do a basic introduction like offered on Codecademy or join one of the Python coding hours offered on campus by Turing Society for free. Check our facebook page for event updates.