Max-Planck-Institut für Informatik
max planck institut
mpii logo Minerva of the Max Planck Society


The Elements of Statistical Learning I (WS 2005/2006)


  • Oral exam:
    • Tuesday, 7th of March, starting from 11:00
    • Thursday, 30th of March, starting from 14:00

    The exam will be oral. There will be groups of 3 people and the examination of one group will take around 45 minutes. Please send an e-mail to in which you state the choice of the date (7 or 30 of March) and the preferred language for the examination.

  • The next tutorial will take place Friday, February 17th, 9:15 - 10:45, Building 46, Room 021.

  • The 7th handout is online. The due date for the handout is 15th of February.

  • The course slides from February 1st are online.

  • Starting from Wednesday 9th November, the lecture will start at 11:00 sharp.

  • Please check this site frequently for updates and announcements!

This course is not limited to the field of computational biology. It covers topics in Machine Learning that are relevant for computer scientists in general as well as for other scientists involved in data analysis and modelling.

Teacher: Thomas Lengauer

Tutor: Adrian Alexa

Language: English

Time and location:

Lecture: Wednesday, 11:00 - 12:45, Building 46, Room 024 (MPI Building)
Starting October 19th, 2005
Last lecture on February 15th, 2006
Tutorial: Friday, 9:15 - 10:45 (biweekly), Building 46, Room 021 (MPI Building)
Office hours:
Thomas Lengauer: after each lecture
Adrian Alexa: Friday, 10-11 h, Building 46, Room 513 (MPI Building) - or by appointment.


This course covers a subject that is relevant for computer scientists in general as well as for other scientists involved in data analysis and modelling. It is not limited to the field of computational biology.
The course will be the first part of a two semester course on Statistical Learning. The first part (WS 2005/2006) will concentrate on chapters 1-5 and 7-10 of the book The Elements of Statistical Learning, Springer 2001, the follow up course during SS 2006 will continue with the remaining chapters. In both semesters, there will be two hours of lecture per week and one hour of tutorial (V2/Ü1), however, the tutorial will actually be two hours every second week.
Both parts of this lecture fulfil the requirements for the curricula of computer science and bioinformatics as optional course with 6 resp. 4 credit points (Spezialvorlesung, 6 bzw. 4 Leistungspunkte).


The course is targeted to advanced students in math, computer science and general science with mathematical background. Students should know linear algebra and have basic knowledge of statistics.

Requirements for the course certificate:

You need a cumulative 50% of the points in the homework assingments to be admitted to the written exam. A score of 50% in the exam is then considered a passing grade.


Hastie, Tibshirani, Friedman: The Elements of Statistical Learning, Springer 2001. The readers of the course are encouraged to acquire this book.
More information on this book, as well as a contents listing can be found here.


The tutorial focuses on both, the material presented in the lecture and the homework assignments. Usually, a very brief reiteration of parts of the lecture is given; the focus will be on the last assignment, though. Homework assignments will cover theoretical proofs and programming excercises with roughly equal weight.
The programming language that we use is R - a language for statistical computing. It is freely available for Windows and Linux and - as a vectorized programming language - is ideally suited for the problems we will encounter. There are also many freely available packages (or libraries) to perform a variety of classification and regression tasks, or to visualize the results of statistical analyses in a convenient way.

Course material:

Programming resources are now listed in the homework handouts section.

Search MPII (type ? for help)