September 27th, 2018

How this course works

The Goal

The purpose of this course is to learn to think with data

Not to study

Not to teach

But to learn

What is learning?

To learn is to change our behavior rules

We think different, we act different

We think with two strategies:

  • analytical
  • automatic

So learning has to be in two stages

How do we learn?

We learn what we do, not what we study

Like riding a bike

Can you learn to dance only reading Wikipedia?

Some theory, a lot of practice

Failure is expected. We learn from failure. Try judo

Why learning is hard?

Not always. Kids learn easily.

We have difficult learning new things because we have to unlearn old habits.

So we will need to make an extra effort

Cognitive styles

how people remembers

According to cognitive research, there are three main ways of remembering

  • A few people remembers what they see
  • Some people remembers what they listen
  • Most people remembers what they do
    • Kinesthetic sense: body position
    • “The pen is mightier than the keyboard”

Moreover logic is tightly connected with language

Note taking

Search in Google or YouTube: Cornell Method


It’s easy to get distracted,
specially when we don’t like the task

We learn by getting out of or “comfort zone”

Learning is uncomfortable, even annoying

We have to push ourselves to focus

Pomodoro technique

  • set a timer for 25 minutes
  • force yourself to focus on that period
  • no email, no Facebook, no toilet, no coffee/cigarettes
  • in case of interruption, restart from zero
  • when the bell rings STOP working for 5 minutes
  • every 3 Pomodoros, take a 20 min break

We will use this technique in this course

How memory works

We have roughly three stages of memory

  • very short term memory (seconds)
  • medium term memory (hours)
  • long term memory (years)

Transition between medium and long term memory happens when we sleep (and dream)

That is why we have 2 sessions per week

Learning strategy

my proposal

Attend to classes regularly (always!)

Bring a notebook and a pen
Handwrite what we speak, and your own questions
Summarize at the end of the class (Cornell Method)

Speak with your classmates

Sleep well (but not during the class)

Easy is bad

For every complex problem there is always a simple, direct and wrong solution

We may want an easy way, but that is a bad idea

  1. We learn better when there is some desired difficulty
  2. If it is easy, a robot can do it
  3. Nobody is proud of doing something easy

Kolay Gelsin

Course Forum

Ask your questions (and give your answers) on the forum

See how to register at

Everybody must fill the online survey to get access to the course forum

Be honest

Bits and Bytes

Memory is measured in Bytes

Remember: one byte = one letter

Computer Science people thinks in Bytes

A number between 0 and 255

That is, 256 combinations. Why?

Communication is measured in bits

Telecommunication engineers think in bits

One bit = “on” or “off”

Easy to detect with electronics

Can represent: true/false, yes/no, high/low, in/out, up/down, left/right, north/south, east/west, male/female, 1/0

Young or Old?

Your undergrad study is 4 years, which we can split in two groups: Old and Young

We can represent each group with 1 and 0

In each group we can split again in two: Begin and End

We can also represent them with 1 and 0

The we have two semesters: Spring and Fall


O/Y B/E S/F Bits
Old End Spring 111
Old End Fall 110
Old Begin Spring 101
Old Begin Fall 100
Young End Spring 011
Young End Fall 010
Young Begin Spring 001
Young Begin Fall 000

One more bit = double combinations

Each time we split in half, we multiply by two the combinations’ number

Num Bits Num Combinations Num Bits Num Combinations
1 2 5 32
2 4 6 64
3 8 7 128
4 16 8 256

Powers of 2

This is the reason why we use powers of 2

Learn these:

Num Bits Num Combinations Num Bits Num Combinations
4 16 10 1024
8 256 20 1048576
16 65536 32 4294967296

Kilos versus kilos

In Science we use the decimal system

1 kilo = 1000 units

In Computing this is usually replaced by 210=1024

1 Kilo = 1024 units

Similar but not the same

Take care of Megas and Gigas

The difference between kilo and Kilo is 2.4%

The difference for Mega is 4.8%

The difference for Giga is 7.3%

Be careful when you buy a hard disk

Decimal to bits

2018 / 2 = 1009, reminder 0
1009 / 2 = 504, reminder 1
504 / 2 = 252, reminder 0
252 / 2 = 126, reminder 0
126 / 2 = 63, reminder 0
63 / 2 = 31, reminder 1
31 / 2 = 15, reminder 1
15 / 2 = 7, reminder 1
7 / 2 = 3, reminder 1
3 / 2 = 1, reminder 1
1 / 2 = 0, reminder 1


How to write less

Binary is practical but hard to write

First, we separate in groups of four

0111 1110 0010

Then we replace every group of four by a number or letter


Binary Hex Binary Hex
0000 0 1000 8
0001 1 1001 9
0010 2 1010 A
0011 3 1011 B
0100 4 1100 C
0101 5 1101 D
0110 6 1110 E
0111 7 1111 F