World Happiness and Wine Assessment: International Summer School in Bangkok and Chumphon, Thailand
The summer school’s theme was "Applications of machine learning in marketing and sales." Machine learning describes the "artificial" creation of knowledge from experience: A system "learns" from examples and is able to generalise the acquired knowledge when the learning phase has been completed. For this, algorithms are created on the basis of statistical models which rely on training data. The summer school was offered for thirty students of three higher education institutions - the Thai King Monkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL) in Bangkok, the Chinese Nanjing Tech University Pujiang Institute in Nanjing and the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt (FHWS). FHWS took part with three of its faculties: the Faculty of Computer Science and Business Information Systems (Dean Prof. Dr. Peter Braun, Mr Christoph Raab, Mr Moritz Heusinger), the Faculty of Business and Engineering (Prof. Dr. Uwe Sponholz) as well as the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration (Prof. Dr. Manfred Kiesel).
Before the plane went off to Thailand to Bangkok and Chumphon, the interdisciplinary student team completed a series of lectures in Würzburg to prepare the project by hearing about the basics of machine learning and creating a business plan.
The international and interdisciplinary teams had the task to work out solutions to a case study on machine learning. For this, the students received data for different topics which they first had to clean up and arrange so they could use them for the machine learning. The data were processed with Python, a universal, higher programming language, the basic knowledge of which the participating students acquired.
The challenge: "Analyse the data set and create a model for machine learning." There were seven quite different topics: bank marketing, world happiness, wine assessment, credit card fraud, heart diseases, Twitter mood, and object recognition.
Some examples: In the "bank marketing" project, the question had to be answered how the bank could achieve greater effectiveness for future marketing campaigns. The "world happiness" topic was based on a study called "The World Happiness 2017" which had ranked 155 countries according their specific level of happiness. The report has gained worldwide recognition as governments, organisations and civil society increasingly use happiness indicators to make their policy decisions. Inspired by the Franconian wine culture, the project "wine assessment" should find out how a forecasting model must be designed to identify wines by blind tasting as it is done by sommeliers.
As objectives of the summer school, the professors involved planned two stages: technology, business plans and marketing in the first step and working on projects as well as the final presentation in the second. Students are meant to learn the basics of machine learning and enabled to use the module as an aid for the digital change in companies as well as use it in designing products or services as well as for customer retention in (real-world) projects. Moreover, the up-and-coming academics created a pitch presentation for a fictitious start-up.
Prof. Dr. Peter Braun explains the background to this international offering: "The idea for this summer school came up during my visit to the universities in Nanjing and Bangkok last November and December. I visited my colleague, Dr. Jochen Amrehm, who long lived in Würzburg and moved to Bangkok twenty years ago. He is a lecturer in Bangkok as well as vice president of the university in Nanjing. As we have already worked on several projects together with Dr. Amrehm , the idea came up for an even closer collaboration by this kind of joint summer schools together with three universities."