BTEC 420. Introduction to Programming for Business Applications. 3 Units.

Goals: This course will introduce students to the basics of programming logic utilizing the Python programming language and environment. The course will help students understand how to apply programming solutions and related algorithmic thinking to solve common business and decision problems. This class is a great introduction into programming logic, it just happens to use Python. This course will teach the fundamentals of programming logic, which could be applied to any programming language available today or into the future. Learning Objectives: Upon completion of this course students should have a foundational knowledge of how to use variables, operators, manipulate strings, loops, functions, and basic array manipulation all through Python programming language. The course will culminate with a final project where students will be divided into groups with each group solving a different small business problem. The final submission will require a joint white paper submission that demonstrates the following learned objectives: problem research, scope, architect, and design a potential solution using python environment. A sample of the implemented Python code that was used to solve this problem will be required for final submission. Course Requirements: Each student must have access to a computer that can be brought to class. No programming experience is required. Downloading and installing Python is covered at the start of the course. Basic computer skills: surfing websites, running programs, saving and opening documents, etc. Offered as BTEC 420 and DESN 210.

BTEC 493. Blockchains and AI: Applications in Finance and Business. 3 Units.

It behooves today's business leaders to be well acquainted with blockchain technologies and AI (Artificial Intelligence), two seemingly disparate technologies that have the potential to fundamentally disrupt a wide range of businesses. The popularity of blockchain technologies has increased exponentially since the release of bitcoin in 2009. While bitcoins garnered a lot of attention during the initial days, the focus has shifted over time to the underlying technology: blockchain. This wildly innovative technology has made possible tasks that were hitherto deemed implausible: validate ownership in a digital asset, verify the true state of a transaction without relying on a costly intermediary etc. The list of businesses that are impacted by this technology makes for an impressive reading: supply chain, health care, insurance, foreign exchange transfers, real estate, etc. If the emphasis of blockchain technology is on trust, that of Artificial Intelligence is on predictions. Accurate predictions and sound judgements are two critical ingredients of any decision making process. While the jury is still out on whether algorithms can make sound judgements, recent developments in a field called machine learning (and its sub-field, deep learning) have led to dramatic improvements in the accuracy of predictions made by these algorithms. Significantly, this gain in accuracy has been accompanied by a reduction in overall costs. These in turn have spurred the recent interest in AI. Organizations that have enabled AI at the enterprise level appear to be making more informed decisions and innovating new products. In this course, we will unpack these technologies and examine a wide range of relevant business use cases. Our objective is to provide a practical introduction to these key technologies and their business implications. We focus on business perspectives, rather than on the technical dimensions. Fittingly, this course is open to all graduate students of Weatherhead School (MBA and all specialty Masters). Students are not expected to have any specific programming background; however, a basic understanding of statistics is required to better appreciate the discourse on Artificial Intelligence. Offered as BTEC 493 and MSFI 493. Prereq or Coreq: MBAC 504 or MBAP 405.

BTEC 494. Artificial Intelligence for Financial Modeling. 3 Units.

Artificial Intelligence for Financial Modeling is a graduate-level finance course aimed at participants who wish to learn more about applying Artificial Intelligence to problems in finance. This is a hands-on course on A.I. where the emphasis is not only on understanding the theoretical underpinnings of various AI models but also on building, evaluating, and critiquing A.I. models as they apply to the finance industry. This course begins with an introduction of Machine Learning models; various key ideas such as bias-variance tradeoff, cross-validation, regularization techniques are introduced with relevant examples from Finance. The course then proceeds to discuss Artificial Neural Networks and its relevance to Deep Learning. Foundational ideas such as back-propagation are discussed in sufficient detail; we also lay a lot of emphasis on evaluating the performance of all these models. A key objective of this course is help students build cutting-edge A.I. models that are ready for prime time, i.e., real-life applications. Fittingly, we work with several real-life datasets and case studies from banking and finance. We will work with three case studies, each of which span multiple sessions. -In the first case study, students use Machine Learning algorithms to understand how imbalanced datasets are handled in real-life. -In the second study, students use time series data and learn not only about the power of regularization techniques but also to highlight the prominence of A.I. in financial markets. -In the third case study, students learn how to use cutting-edge Deep Learning models to extract sentiments from disparate news sources; these are in turn used to generate trading strategies. By contrasting the effort that goes into and the payoff obtained from Machine Learning and Deep Learning models, students gain an intuitive appreciation of both these classes of models. Offered as BTEC 494 or MSFI 494. Prereq: BTEC 493.