NDAK16003U Introduction to Data Science (IDS)

Volume 2021/2022

MSc Programme in Bioinformatics
MSc Programme in IT and Cognition
MSc Programme in Molecular Biomedicine
MSc Programme in Environmental Science
MSc Programme in Agriculture 



The amount and complexity of available data are steadily increasing. To make use of this wealth of information, computing systems are needed that turn data into knowledge. Machine learning is about developing the required software that automatically analyses data for making predictions, categorisations, and recommendations. Machine learning algorithms are already an integral part of today's computing systems - for example in search engines, recommender systems, or biometrical applications. Machine learning provides a set of tools that is widely applicable for data analysis within a diverse set of problem domains such as data mining, search engines, digital image and signal analysis, natural language modelling, bioinformatics, physics, economics, biology, etc.

The purpose of the course is to introduce non-Computer Science students to probabilistic data modelling and the most common techniques from statistical machine learning and data mining. The students will obtain a working knowledge of basic data modelling and data analysis using fundamental machine learning techniques.

This course is relevant for students from, among others, the studies of Cognition and IT, Bioinformatics, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Economics, and Psychology. 

The course covers the following tentative topic list:

  • Foundations of statistical learning, probability theory.
  • Classification methods, such as Linear models, K-Nearest Neighbor.
  • Regression methods, such as Linear regression.
  • Bayesian Statistics
  • Clustering.
  • Dimensionality reduction and visualisation techniques such as principal component analysis (PCA).
Learning Outcome

At course completion, the successful student will have:

Knowledge of

  • the general principles of data analysis;
  • elementary probability theory for modelling and analysing data;
  • elementary Bayesian statistics;
  • the basic concepts underlying classification, regression, and clustering;
  • common pitfalls in machine learning.


Skills in

  • applying linear and non-linear techniques for classification and regression;
  • elementary data clustering;
  • visualising and evaluating results obtained with machine learning techniques;
  • identifying and handling common pitfalls in machine learning;
  • using machine learning and data mining toolboxes.


Competences in

  • recognising and describing possible applications of machine learning and data analysis in their field of science;
  • comparing, appraising and selecting machine learning methods for specific tasks;
  • solving real-world data mining and pattern recognition problems by using machine learning techniques.

See Absalon when the course is set up. However, a brush-up in Calculus such as "Calculus for Dummies" could be of help for students who did not have mathematics since high school.


Basic calculus and programming knowledge is required. We use Python as programming language. Students who have experience with programming should be able to learn the necessary Python elements with little difficulty.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.
Lecture and exercise classes
The courses NDAK16003U Introduction to Data Science (IDS) and NDAB15001U Modelling and Analysis of Data (MAD) have a very substantial overlap both in topics and level, and it is therefore not recommended that students pass both these courses.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • Preparation
  • 30
  • Theory exercises
  • 74
  • Practical exercises
  • 74
  • Total
  • 206
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Continuous assessment
Assessment of 4-5 assignments weighted equally. Passed assignments cannot be transferred to another block. Assignments are individual.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners.

A 20 minutes oral exam without preparation in course curriculum.

No aids allowed.

Criteria for exam assesment

See Learning Outcome.