PhD Course: Machine learning for pattern recognition

Pietro Laface

Period and duration
March – 20 hours

Detailed schedule

Friday March 9th, 2018 From 15:00 to 17:00 SALA C
Monday March 12th, 2018 From 15:00 to 17:00 SALA C
Tuesday March 14th, 2018 From 15:00 to 17:00 SALA C
Friday March 16th, 2018 From 15:00 to 17:00 SALA C
Monday March 19th, 2018 From 15:00 to 17:00 SALA C
Wednesday March 21st, 2018 From 15:00 to 17:00 SALA C
Friday March 23th, 2018 From 15:00 to 17:00 SALA C


This course gives a broad yet rigorous introduction to machine learning and statistical pattern recognition.
It focuses on supervised generative and discriminative learning models, analyzing some important topics such as model architectures, training and evaluation techniques.
The course will compare different models and classification approaches on the popular MNIST digit recognition dataset.
It will also discuss about the applications of the proposed machine learning approaches to image, speech, and speaker recognition.
Students will be asked to apply the acquired knowledge to develop their own classification system using labeled training and evaluation data provided during the course. Each system will then be evaluated on another unlabeled and previously unseen data set.

This course belongs to an educational path on Data Science. The path is composed by:

  • an introductory course (Data Mining: Concepts and Algorithms), covering data analytics fundamentals, which is a cultural prerequisite for the other courses
  • 5 thematic courses dealing in depth with specific Data Science topics, such as different algorithm types or application domains:
    • data Analytics for Science and Society
    • machine Learning for Pattern Recognition
    • mimetic Learning
    • text Mining and Analytics
    • visualization and Visual Analytics


  • Introduction to pattern classification
  • Decision theory
  • Classification model taxonomy
  • Generative probabilistic models
  • Discriminative probabilistic models
  • Decision functions
  • Model Evaluation
  • Binary classification
  • Accuracy measures
  • ROC / DET curves
  • Multiclass classification
  • Generative probabilistic models
  • Gaussian models
  • Gaussian mixture models
  • Expectation-Maximization for GMMs
  • Time-dependent models: Hidden Markov Models
  • Inference with HMMs
  • EM for HMMs
  • Latent variable models: Factor Analysis
  • Introduction to Factor Analysis
  • Linear-Gaussian models
  • Probabilistic Principal Component Analysis
  • Probabilistic Linear Discriminant Analysis
  • Subspace models for GMMs

Official course webpage on