2021 Short Courses

Course descriptions, schedules, instructor bios and more


AI Product Management

September 20-24

AI iconProvides an introduction to how Machine Learning works, when and how it can be applied to solve problems, the data-science process, best practices for ML projects, and the ethical and legal considerations of working with AI

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Who This Course Is For

Professionals and aspiring professionals from a diverse range of industries and functions, including:

  • Product managers
  • Product owners
  • Engineering team leaders
  • Executives
  • Analysts
  • All others who will find this course valuable

No prior programming experience or other prerequisites required

Course Summary

Organizations in every industry are accelerating their use of artificial intelligence and advanced analytics technologies to enhance product differentiation or create innovative new products for their customers. This requires professionals across a range of functions, not just strictly within the data science and data engineering teams, to understand when and how AI can be applied and to speak the language of data analytics.

McKinsey estimates that the demand for “analytics translators,” professionals who are able to combine their domain knowledge with analytics understanding to create value, will reach two to four million by 2026.

The course focuses on the intuition behind these technologies, with no programming required, and merges theory with practical information on best practices from industry.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this Short Course, participants should be:

  • Able to identify and evaluate opportunities to apply machine learning to solve problems in their industry
  • Able to communicate with data science and data engineering teams in the language of data and modeling
  • Able to plan and manage machine learning projects by following the data science process
  • Aware of the key ethical and legal aspects of designing AI based product

Tentative Course Schedule

All class meetings are 7:00-10:00 pm ET (UTC -4:00)

Date

Agenda

Monday, May 17

  • How machine learning works
  • Types of machine learning

Tuesday, May 18

  • Modeling process
  • Evaluating model outcomes and outputs

Wednesday, May 19

  • Identifying opportunities for ML
  • Organizing ML projects using CRISP-DM

Thursday, May 20

  • Introduction to data privacy laws
  • Ethical considerations of AI

Instructor Bio

Jon Reifschneider

Jon ReifschneiderJon is an executive in residence at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering, where he serves as Director of Master's Studies for the Artificial Intelligence for Product Innovation (AIPI) program and teaches in it.

Prior to joining the Duke faculty, Jon spent 15 years in management roles at data services and analytics companies. Most recently Jon was Senior Vice President and ran the Weather Analytics division at the tech company DTN, where he and his team created predictive analytics systems that are now core to the daily operations of most of the largest transportation, aviation and energy utility organizations across the United States. As a member of the DTN executive team, he led his business through a period of substantial expansion and completed the successful sale of the company in 2017.

Jon holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Virginia, where he graduated first in his class. He also holds a Master of Engineering Management from Duke, a M.S. in Analytics from Georgia Tech, and a Global MBA from EBS (Germany). He has lived, worked and studied in the U.S., Luxembourg, Germany and India.

Blockchain & Cryptocurrency

December 6-10

Currency IconProvides a backgrounder, and focuses on applications of Blockchain and cryptocurrency— including a hands-on experience of creating a Blockchain contract

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Who This Course Is For

  • Professionals and aspiring professionals from a diverse range of industries and functions
  • Students who desire to learn more about Blockchain and cryptocurrency

No prior financial knowledge or technical prerequisites are required

Course Summary

Blockchain technology is being embraced in finance and other industries as an encryption base for all types of applications.

This course explores the history, current environment, and near-term outlook of financial innovation (FinTech), focusing on applications of Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. Topics range from digital stores of value to documents and transactions.

This course is designed to provide students with perspective and hands-on experience by creating a simple Blockchain contract.

In addition, you will be able to converse on a practical basis about what Blockchain can and cannot do.  This understanding is among the most sought after in today’s job market. Participants will also develop an understanding of decentralized finance, how it differs from traditional financial services, and where the field is likely to go.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this Short Course, participants should:

  • Understand how Blockchain works and why it is used in a variety of settings
  • Evaluate when Blockchain is and isn't an appropriate solution
  • Transact on a public Blockchain
  • Articulate the application and value of alternative stores of value, e.g.: cryptocurrency and tokens
  • Understand how decentralized finance works and how it differs from traditional financial services

Tentative Course Schedule

All class meetings are 7:00-10:00 pm ET (UTC -4:00)

Date

Agenda

Monday, June 21

Blockchain

  • Understand the essential attributes and purpose of Blockchain
  • Differentiate between different types of Blockchain
  • Understand how and why Blockchain is used in a variety of settings
  • Evaluate when Blockchain is and isn't an appropriate solution

Tuesday, June 22

Mining

  • Understand the mechanics behind Blockchain, how it works and why it’s done this way
  • Understand how a block is signed
  • Evaluate the benefits of Blockchain, versus the resources required to run it
  • Explain the purpose, mechanics, benefits, and limitations of Blockchain 

Wednesday, June 23

Cryptocurrency

  • Evaluate (and re-evaluate) common definitions and concepts of money, value, and currency
  • Articulate the application and value of alternative stores of value, e.g., cryptocurrency and tokens
  • Transact on a public Blockchain

Thursday, June 24

Decentralized Finance & Cryptocurrency Exchanges

  • Understand what DeFi is and how it differs from traditional Financial Services
  • Who are the parties involved in DeFi, and why?
  • Evaluate how Cryptocurrency exchanges differ from traditional exchanges
  • Why the constraints of traditional exchanges limit their ability to facilitate DeFi
  • Can this structure be the next exchange platform for global finance

Instructor Bio

Jimmie Lenz

Jimmie Lenz

Dr. Jimmie Lenz is the director of the Financial Technology (FinTech) Graduate Program and the Cybersecurity Graduate Program at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering. He has a secondary appointment at Duke as the Irene and Frank Salerno Visiting Professor of Financial Economics.

He is an experienced executive, lecturer, and scholar in the fields of quantitative finance, blockchain, and capital markets. Starting his career as an equity and derivatives trader over 25 years ago, Jimmie found he reveled in fast moving atmospheres that required both strategic thought and the ability to take immediate action.

His successes propelled him into a number of senior management roles within the finance community including leading an NYSE broker dealer with foreign and domestic operations, Chief Risk Officer and Chief Credit Officer at a top-three broker dealer, and the Head of Predictive Analytics for one of the largest wealth management firms in the United States.

Jimmie holds an undergraduate degree from the University of South Carolina, a Master of Science in Finance from Washington University in Saint Louis, and the Doctor of Business Administration-Finance from Washington University’s Olin Business School.

Jimmie currently serves as the Chairman of Neocova’s Strategic Advisory Board, and on the Board of Directors of Zen Blockchain Foundation. He has a number of patents and pending patents for his work.