The Distinguished Speaker Series in Business Analytics and Data Sciences, in partnership with Transamerica, presents leading business analytics professionals

Transamerica and the CU Denver Business School will continue the Distinguished Speaker Series through 2021, inviting top professionals to the Business School to speak on modern challenges and opportunities in business analytics and data science.

“By partnering with Transamerica, the CU Denver Business School will host leading professionals with cutting-edge breakthrough discussions in business analytics and data science,” said Dr. Gary Kochenberger, professor and co-director the Business Analytics program. “Our speaker events over the next few years will provide enormous value to our students, in addition to the Denver business community.”

About the CU Denver Business School

The CU Denver Business School, for more than 30 years, has been developing leaders capable of changing the business world for the better. We offer more degree choices than any other business school in Colorado. Our graduates are prepared to lead their chosen industries due to top-notch faculty, technologically advanced facilities, degree programs informed by global industry leaders, and the nation’s first academic commodities center. Our location in the heart of downtown Denver provides students direct access and exposure to top firms and the Denver business community. AACSB global accreditation places the CU Denver Business School in the top five percent of business schools worldwide. Students learn from faculty who are experts in their field and leaders in their research.

About Transamerica

With a history that dates back more than 100 years, Transamerica is recognized as a leading provider of life insurance, retirement and investment solutions, serving millions of customers throughout the United States. Recognizing the necessity of health and wellness during peak working life, Transamerica’s dedicated professionals work to help people take the steps necessary to live better today so they can worry less about tomorrow. Transamerica serves nearly every customer segment, providing a broad range of quality life insurance and investment products, individual and group pension plans, as well as asset management services. For more information, please visit www.transamerica.com.

Sept. 25, 2019: Artificial Intelligence is Predicting Your Lifespan with Carlos Oliveira, Data Scientist at Transamerica

Data science and machine learning are quietly transforming the way we do business – but how? Dr. Carlos Oliveira, a data scientist at Transamerica, explored this topic during his presentation at the CU Denver Business School on Sept. 25. As the first of the Distinguished Speaker Series with Transamerica, this event brought students, alumni and business leaders to the heart of downtown Denver for an innovative look into how reinforcement learning applications are leading researchers toward breakthrough solutions for the corporate world.

Introducing machine learning

Dr. Oliveira presented three machine learning paradigms. The first two — unsupervised and supervised learning — rely on historical data. In contrast, reinforcement learning occurs in real time through continuous interactions with the environment. Today’s researchers believe it carries huge potential in optimizing decision-making across numerous industries.

Reinforcement learning rests on several different frameworks, Dr. Oliveira explained. In particular, he introduced several concepts and algorithms essential to its understanding, including the K-Armed Bandit Problem, Markov Decision Processes, Dynamic Programming and the Monte Carlo and Time Difference methods. Each of these frameworks reveals a different lens to view reinforcement learning and its many intricacies when applied to the real world.

“I was honored to be part of this collaboration with the CU Denver Business School and deliver the opening keynote of the speaker series,” Dr. Oliveira said. “Reinforcement learning offers many advantages and possibilities if we can apply it effectively, and I’m thrilled to bring this exciting and groundbreaking area of study to business school students.”

Applications for deep reinforcement learning

Reinforcement learning has broad applications in industries experimenting with sequential decision-making and personalization, including eCommerce, autonomous driving, robots and video games. In fact, deep reinforcement learning has all but disrupted the video game world. It’s responsible for some of the all-time highest scores and the defeat of world champions in popular games like Atari, StarCraft and Go. Because reinforcement learning can adapt at a rapid speed, it has quickly risen to a level of “super human” performance.

However, it’s harder to apply reinforcement learning to the real world. Most settings have constantly changing environments and contain infinite possibilities. And in many cases, reinforcement learning is too costly and can cause detrimental consequences. For those reasons, many machine learning applications are still in the research stage. This leaves an exciting path ahead for data science and business analytics students who are just getting started.

Networking and making connections

In addition to Dr. Oliveira’s insights on reinforcement learning, students, alumni and business leaders also benefitted from the chance to network at the event. With so many current avenues for growth, students were able to connect with alumni and working professionals about opportunities in the field.

Be sure to catch the next event in the Distinguished Speaker Series with Transamerica, coming to the CU Denver Business School in Spring 2020.

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