On the 19th and 21st of March 2023, the IEEE Computer Society BRAC University Student Branch Chapter completed a 2-day workshop on Machine Learning entitled “Stepping Into Machine Learning: A Hands-On workshop”. It was the year’s first event organized by the IEEE Computer Society BRAC University Student Branch Chapter. The workshop received a great response, attracting over 177 students. However, due to facility constraints only 40 participants were accommodated in the event.

Machine learning is a key component of the technological world of today. With sophisticated machine learning models, anything is possible, from simple websites to managing a multi-trillion-dollar enterprise. Machine learning has now altered the way we view and interact with technology, becoming an indispensable part of our daily lives. A subset of artificial intelligence known as “machine learning” enables machines to learn from data and enhance their performance without having explicit programming. This technology can resolve complex issues and make judgments based on trends and insights that are difficult for people to notice. Many industries, including healthcare, banking, marketing, transportation, and cybersecurity, employ machine learning extensively. It is applied in image recognition, speech recognition, natural language processing, fraud detection, recommendation systems, and predictive maintenance. Machine learning has improved in strength, accuracy, and scalability as data has become more widely available. Hence, a thorough understanding of machine learning techniques and their real-world applications is crucial for both professionals and students.

The workshop was instructed by Md. Saiful Islam, a senior lecturer at BRAC University in the Department of CSE. He is one of the faculty members at BRAC University who is highly admired, aspirational, student-friendly, kind, and inspirational. He was chosen and took part in the NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Mars Rover Competition in Hanksville, Utah, United States of America, as the Co-Principal Investigator at BRACU Mongol Tori. He is currently a Co-Principal Investigator on the government-funded Signature project BRACU Rescue Bot. Also, he serves as a co-advisor for the Robotics Club of BRAC University. The team leader of the Techniche Techno-Management Festival, which was entirely supported by the Indian Institute of Technology, was Md. Saiful Islam. He also held a merit position and served as the advisor for the Vellore Institute of Technology’s (VIT) IRC-2018 (Indian Rover Challenge-2018).

Mr. Saiful Islam gave the students a machine learning introduction on the first day of the session. He discussed the significance of machine learning and how it is altering the present-day world. He explained how machine learning models operate. He also demonstrated how mathematics can be used to create a very simple prediction model. Afterward, Mr. Saiful Islam showed how to generate a data set, the significance of linear regression, and how to utilize machine learning models to predict anything with linear regression with a limited amount of data. Developing a prediction model that can forecast the cost of apartments in Dhaka city was the first project of the day. The participants used Google Colaboratory for their whole two-day workshop session. Mr. Saiful Islam also showed the attendees how to create a data set from scratch and how to import their data set into Google Colaboratory. 

The focus of the workshop’s second day was expanding on what the first day’s lessons had taught the attendees. The topic of data cleaning, searching for null values, data imputation, and eventually running and testing a model to improve its accuracy is covered by Mr. Saiful Islam. He talked about how testing and training are crucial for machine learning models since without them, it’s difficult for a model to be accurate and exact. For a model to be implemented in the actual world, accuracy and precision are essential since without them, consumers won’t be able to receive correct results.

The workshop was conducted at a computer lab on the BRAC University campus. All BRAC University students were welcome to attend the workshop, but IEEE Computer Society BRAC University Student Branch Chapter members received preference. The two-day session began at 5 o’clock and ended at 7 o’clock. Participants asked the instructor many questions throughout the class, and the instructor tried his best to address each issue that was brought up. The instructor concluded the course on a positive note, emphasizing that because it was intended for beginners, the attendees now had a solid understanding of machine learning and could now study it independently.