Information technology experts discuss machine learning


Imani Saya

Babette Shoemaker introduces IT experts Matt Smith and Austin Dunkle to students on Mar. 13, 2019 in the Schola.

Director of IT Matt Smith and Quantitative researcher Austin Dunkle from Vantage Consulting Group educate students about the emergence and advancement of machine learning as well as the importance of IT in today’s era.

IT not only has the infrastructure for storing data and networking to the internet, but it develops software that can execute certain tasks.

“If you have a particular area of interest, you can take IT to that, whether it’s finance, or weather prediction, whatever you find particularly interesting,” said Smith.

Supervised machine learning involves an input and output variable which employs classification and regression. However, unsupervised machine learning only has inputs, so it can reveal patterns in the unlabeled data.

In order to relate these concepts to the audience, Austin Dunkle explained that the outputs in classification are like a category. He compared how one might enter legs and receive the outcome of a cat or dog since they have legs and fall under that factor.

“Our primary concern is being able to connect with the students and for them to understand what we’re talking about,” said Dunkle.

After the lecture, many students gathered to ask questions and shared their brief research experiences in the field of IT.

“We knew this was going to be a really smart group, so we didn’t want to water it down,” said Smith. “My goal really wasn’t to teach anybody machine learning but to potentially pique somebody’s interest.”