Search result: Catalogue data in Autumn Semester 2018

Computational Biology and Bioinformatics Master Information
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Master Studies (Programme Regulations 2017)
Core Courses
Please note that the list of core courses is a closed list. Other courses cannot be added to the core course category in the study plan. Also the assignments of courses to core subcategories cannot be changed.
Students need to pass at least one course in each core subcategory.
A total of 40 ECTS needs to be acquired in the core course category.
Please note that all Bioinformatics core courses are offered in the autumn semester
636-0009-00LEvolutionary DynamicsW6 credits2V + 1U + 2AN. Beerenwinkel
AbstractEvolutionary dynamics is concerned with the mathematical principles according to which life has evolved. This course offers an introduction to mathematical modeling of evolution, including deterministic and stochastic models.
ObjectiveThe goal of this course is to understand and to appreciate mathematical models and computational methods that provide insight into the evolutionary process.
ContentEvolution is the one theory that encompasses all of biology. It provides a single, unifying concept to understand the living systems that we observe today. We will introduce several types of mathematical models of evolution to describe gene frequency changes over time in the context of different biological systems, focusing on asexual populations. Viruses and cancer cells provide the most prominent examples of such systems and they are at the same time of great biomedical interest. The course will cover some classical mathematical population genetics and population dynamics, and also introduce several new approaches. This is reflected in a diverse set of mathematical concepts which make their appearance throughout the course, all of which are introduced from scratch. Topics covered include the quasispecies equation, evolution of HIV, evolutionary game theory, birth-death processes, evolutionary stability, evolutionary graph theory, somatic evolution of cancer, stochastic tunneling, cell differentiation, hematopoietic tumor stem cells, genetic progression of cancer and the speed of adaptation, diffusion theory, fitness landscapes, neutral networks, branching processes, evolutionary escape, and epistasis.
Lecture notesNo.
Literature- Evolutionary Dynamics. Martin A. Nowak. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2006.
- Evolutionary Theory: Mathematical and Conceptual Foundations. Sean H. Rice. Sinauer Associates, Inc., 2004.
Prerequisites / NoticePrerequisites: Basic mathematics (linear algebra, calculus, probability)
636-0017-00LComputational Biology Information W6 credits3G + 2AT. Stadler, C. Magnus, T. Vaughan
AbstractThe aim of the course is to provide up-to-date knowledge on how we can study biological processes using genetic sequencing data. Computational algorithms extracting biological information from genetic sequence data are discussed, and statistical tools to understand this information in detail are introduced.
ObjectiveAttendees will learn which information is contained in genetic sequencing data and how to extract information from this data using computational tools. The main concepts introduced are:
* stochastic models in molecular evolution
* phylogenetic & phylodynamic inference
* maximum likelihood and Bayesian statistics
Attendees will apply these concepts to a number of applications yielding biological insight into:
* epidemiology
* pathogen evolution
* macroevolution of species
ContentThe course consists of four parts. We first introduce modern genetic sequencing technology, and algorithms to obtain sequence alignments from the output of the sequencers. We then present methods for direct alignment analysis using approaches such as BLAST and GWAS. Second, we introduce mechanisms and concepts of molecular evolution, i.e. we discuss how genetic sequences change over time. Third, we employ evolutionary concepts to infer ancestral relationships between organisms based on their genetic sequences, i.e. we discuss methods to infer genealogies and phylogenies. Lastly, we introduce the field of phylodynamics, the aim of which is to understand and quantify population dynamic processes (such as transmission in epidemiology or speciation & extinction in macroevolution) based on a phylogeny. Throughout the class, the models and methods are illustrated on different datasets giving insight into the epidemiology and evolution of a range of infectious diseases (e.g. HIV, HCV, influenza, Ebola). Applications of the methods to the field of macroevolution provide insight into the evolution and ecology of different species clades. Students will be trained in the algorithms and their application both on paper and in silico as part of the exercises.
Lecture notesLecture slides will be available on moodle.
LiteratureThe course is not based on any of the textbooks below, but they are excellent choices as accompanying material:
* Yang, Z. 2006. Computational Molecular Evolution.
* Felsenstein, J. 2004. Inferring Phylogenies.
* Semple, C. & Steel, M. 2003. Phylogenetics.
* Drummond, A. & Bouckaert, R. 2015. Bayesian evolutionary analysis with BEAST.
Prerequisites / NoticeBasic knowledge in linear algebra, analysis, and statistics will be helpful. Programming in R will be required for the project work (compulsory continuous performance assessments). We provide an R tutorial and help sessions during the first two weeks of class to learn the required skills. However, in case you do not have any previous experience with R, we strongly recommend to get familiar with R prior to the semester start. For the D-BSSE students, we highly recommend the voluntary course „Introduction to Programming“, which takes place at D-BSSE from Wednesday, September 12 to Friday, September 14, i.e. BEFORE the official semester starting date
For the Zurich-based students without R experience, we recommend the R course Link, or working through the script provided as part of this R course.
262-5120-00LPrinciples of Evolution: Theory (University of Zurich)
No enrolment to this course at ETH Zurich. Book the corresponding module directly at UZH.
UZH Module Code: BIO351

Mind the enrolment deadlines at UZH:
W6 credits3VUniversity lecturers
Abstract"Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution".
Evolutionary theory and methods are essential in all branches of modern
ObjectiveSubject specific skills:
By the end of the course, students will be able to:
o describe basic evolutionary theory and its applications
o discuss ongoing debates in evolutionary biology
o critically assess the presentation of evolutionary research in
the popular media

Key skills:
By the end of the course, students will be able to:
o approach biological questions from an evolutionary perspective
ContentThis course will provide a broad overview of current evolutionary thought, including the mechanisms of evolutionary change,
adaptation and the history of life and will involve practical field and lab work as well as lecture material.
262-6100-00LEvolutionary GeneticsW6 credits5Gexternal organisers
262-6110-00LBioinformatics AlgorithmsW4 credits3Gexternal organisers
551-0307-00LMolecular and Structural Biology I: Protein Structure and Function Information
D-BIOL students are obliged to take part I and part II (next semester) as a two-semester course
W3 credits2VR. Glockshuber, K. Locher, E. Weber-Ban
AbstractBiophysics of protein folding, membrane proteins and biophysics of membranes, enzymatic catalysis, catalytic RNA and RNAi, current topics in protein biophysics and structural biology.
ObjectiveUnderstanding of structure-function relationships in proteins and in protein folding, detailed understanding of biophysics and physical methods as well as modern methods for protein purification and microanalytics.
Lecture notesScripts on the individual topics can be found under
- Creighton, T.E., Proteins, Freeman, (1993)
- Fersht, A., Enzyme, Structure and Mechanism in Protein Science (1999), Freeman.
- Berg, Tymoczko, Stryer: Biochemistry (5th edition), Freeman (2001).

Current topics: References will be given during the lectures.

262-6120-00LMolecular Biophysics I
Does not take place this semester.
W2 credits2Vexternal organisers
262-6160-00LTheoretical BiophysicsW4 credits2Gexternal organisers
636-0007-00LComputational Systems Biology Information W6 credits3V + 2UJ. Stelling
AbstractStudy of fundamental concepts, models and computational methods for the analysis of complex biological networks. Topics: Systems approaches in biology, biology and reaction network fundamentals, modeling and simulation approaches (topological, probabilistic, stoichiometric, qualitative, linear / nonlinear ODEs, stochastic), and systems analysis (complexity reduction, stability, identification).
ObjectiveThe aim of this course is to provide an introductory overview of mathematical and computational methods for the modeling, simulation and analysis of biological networks.
ContentBiology has witnessed an unprecedented increase in experimental data and, correspondingly, an increased need for computational methods to analyze this data. The explosion of sequenced genomes, and subsequently, of bioinformatics methods for the storage, analysis and comparison of genetic sequences provides a prominent example. Recently, however, an additional area of research, captured by the label "Systems Biology", focuses on how networks, which are more than the mere sum of their parts' properties, establish biological functions. This is essentially a task of reverse engineering. The aim of this course is to provide an introductory overview of corresponding computational methods for the modeling, simulation and analysis of biological networks. We will start with an introduction into the basic units, functions and design principles that are relevant for biology at the level of individual cells. Making extensive use of example systems, the course will then focus on methods and algorithms that allow for the investigation of biological networks with increasing detail. These include (i) graph theoretical approaches for revealing large-scale network organization, (ii) probabilistic (Bayesian) network representations, (iii) structural network analysis based on reaction stoichiometries, (iv) qualitative methods for dynamic modeling and simulation (Boolean and piece-wise linear approaches), (v) mechanistic modeling using ordinary differential equations (ODEs) and finally (vi) stochastic simulation methods.
Lecture notes
LiteratureU. Alon, An introduction to systems biology. Chapman & Hall / CRC, 2006.

Z. Szallasi et al. (eds.), System modeling in cellular biology. MIT Press, 2010.

B. Ingalls, Mathematical modeling in systems biology: an introduction. MIT Press, 2013
636-0706-00LSpatio-Temporal Modelling in Biology Information W4 credits3GD. Iber
AbstractThis course focuses on modeling spatio-temporal problems in biology, in particular on the cell and tissue level. The main focus is on mechanisms and concepts, but mathematical and numerical techniques are introduced as required. Biological examples discussed in the course provide an introduction to key concepts in developmental biology.
ObjectiveStudents will learn state-of-the-art approaches to modelling spatial effects in dynamical biological systems. The course provides an introduction to dynamical system, and covers the mathematical analysis of pattern formation in growing, developing systems, as well as the description of mechanical effects at the cell and tissue level. The course also provides an introduction to image-based modelling, i.e. the use of microscopy data for model development and testing. The course covers classic as well as current approaches and exposes students to open problems in the field. In this way, the course seeks to prepare students to conduct research in the field. The course prepares students for research in developmental biology, as well as for applications in tissue engineering, and for biomedical research.
Content1. Introduction to Modelling in Biology
2. Morphogen Gradients
3. Dynamical Systems
4. Cell-cell Signalling (Dr Boareto)
5. Travelling Waves
6. Turing Patterns
7. Chemotaxis
8. Mathematical Description of Growing Biological Systems
9. Image-Based Modelling
10. Tissue Mechanics
11. Cell-based Tissue Simulation Frameworks
12. Plant Development (Dr Dumont)
13. Growth Control
14. Summary
Lecture notesAll lecture material will be made available online
LiteratureThe lecture course is not based on any textbook. The following textbooks are related to some of its content. The textbooks may be of interest for further reading, but are not necessary to follow the course:

Murray, Mathematical Biology, Springer
Forgacs and Newman, Biological Physics of the Developing Embryo, CUP
Keener and Sneyd, Mathematical Physiology, Springer
Fall et al, Computational Cell Biology, Springer
Szallasi et al, System Modeling in Cellular Biology, MIT Press
Wolkenhauer, Systems Biology
Kreyszig, Engineering Mathematics, Wiley
Prerequisites / NoticeThe course is self-contained. The course assumes no background in biology but a good foundation regarding mathematical and computational techniques.
262-6130-00LComputational Systems BiologyW6 credits3Gexternal organisers
Data Science
636-0018-00LData Mining IW6 credits3G + 2AK. M. Borgwardt
AbstractData Mining, the search for statistical dependencies in large databases, is of utmost important in modern society, in particular in biological and medical research. This course provides an introduction to the key problems, concepts, and algorithms in data mining, and the applications of data mining in computational biology.
ObjectiveThe goal of this course is that the participants gain an understanding of data mining problems and algorithms to solve these problems, in particular in biological and medical applications.
ContentThe goal of the field of data mining is to find patterns and statistical dependencies in large databases, to gain an understanding of the underlying system from which the data were obtained. In computational biology, data mining contributes to the analysis of vast experimental data generated by high-throughput technologies, and thereby enables the generation of new hypotheses.

In this course, we will present the algorithmic foundations of data mining and its applications in computational biology. The course will feature an introduction to popular data mining problems and algorithms, reaching from classification via clustering to feature selection. This course is intended for both students who are interested in applying data mining algorithms and students who would like to gain an understanding of the key algorithmic concepts in data mining.

Tentative list of topics:

1. Distance functions
2. Classification
3. Clustering
4. Feature Selection
Lecture notesCourse material will be provided in form of slides.
LiteratureWill be provided during the course.
Prerequisites / NoticeBasic understanding of mathematics, as taught in basic mathematics courses at the Bachelor's level.
401-6282-00LStatistical Analysis of High-Throughput Genomic and Transcriptomic Data (University of Zurich)
No enrolment to this course at ETH Zurich. Book the corresponding module directly at UZH.
UZH Module Code: STA426

Mind the enrolment deadlines at UZH:
W5 credits3GH. Rehrauer, M. Robinson
AbstractA range of topics will be covered, including basic molecular biology, genomics technologies and in particular, a wide range of statistical and computational methods that have been used in the analysis of DNA microarray and high throughput sequencing experiments.
Objective-Understand the fundamental "scientific process" in the field of Statistical Bioinformatics
-Be equipped with the skills/tools to preprocess genomic data (Unix, Bioconductor, mapping, etc.) and ensure reproducible research (Sweave)
-Have a general knowledge of the types of data and biological applications encountered with microarray and sequencing data
-Have the general knowledge of the range of statistical methods that get used with microarray and sequencing data
-Gain the ability to apply statistical methods/knowledge/software to a collaborative biological project
-Gain the ability to critical assess the statistical bioinformatics literature
-Write a coherent summary of a bioinformatics problem and its solution in statistical terms
ContentLectures will include: microarray preprocessing; normalization; exploratory data analysis techniques such as clustering, PCA and multidimensional scaling; Controlling error rates of statistical tests (FPR versus FDR versus FWER); limma (linear models for microarray analysis); mapping algorithms (for RNA/ChIP-seq); RNA-seq quantification; statistical analyses for differential count data; isoform switching; epigenomics data including DNA methylation; gene set analyses; classification
Lecture notesLecture notes, published manuscripts
Prerequisites / NoticePrerequisites: Basic knowlegde of the programming language R, sufficient knowledge in statistics

Former course title: Statistical Methods for the Analysis of Microarray and Short-Read Sequencing Data
252-0535-00LAdvanced Machine Learning Information W8 credits3V + 2U + 2AJ. M. Buhmann
AbstractMachine learning algorithms provide analytical methods to search data sets for characteristic patterns. Typical tasks include the classification of data, function fitting and clustering, with applications in image and speech analysis, bioinformatics and exploratory data analysis. This course is accompanied by practical machine learning projects.
ObjectiveStudents will be familiarized with advanced concepts and algorithms for supervised and unsupervised learning; reinforce the statistics knowledge which is indispensible to solve modeling problems under uncertainty. Key concepts are the generalization ability of algorithms and systematic approaches to modeling and regularization. Machine learning projects will provide an opportunity to test the machine learning algorithms on real world data.
ContentThe theory of fundamental machine learning concepts is presented in the lecture, and illustrated with relevant applications. Students can deepen their understanding by solving both pen-and-paper and programming exercises, where they implement and apply famous algorithms to real-world data.

Topics covered in the lecture include:

What is data?
Bayesian Learning
Computational learning theory

Supervised learning:
Ensembles: Bagging and Boosting
Max Margin methods
Neural networks

Unsupservised learning:
Dimensionality reduction techniques
Mixture Models
Non-parametric density estimation
Learning Dynamical Systems
Lecture notesNo lecture notes, but slides will be made available on the course webpage.
LiteratureC. Bishop. Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning. Springer 2007.

R. Duda, P. Hart, and D. Stork. Pattern Classification. John Wiley &
Sons, second edition, 2001.

T. Hastie, R. Tibshirani, and J. Friedman. The Elements of Statistical
Learning: Data Mining, Inference and Prediction. Springer, 2001.

L. Wasserman. All of Statistics: A Concise Course in Statistical
Inference. Springer, 2004.
Prerequisites / NoticeThe course requires solid basic knowledge in analysis, statistics and numerical methods for CSE as well as practical programming experience for solving assignments.
Students should have followed at least "Introduction to Machine Learning" or an equivalent course offered by another institution.
Compulsory seminar.
636-0704-00LComputational Biology and Bioinformatics Seminar
The Seminar will be offered in autumn semester in Basel and in spring semester in Zürich.
O2 credits2SN. Beerenwinkel, M. Claassen, D. Iber, T. Stadler, J. Stelling
AbstractComputational biology and bioinformatics aim at an understanding of living systems through computation. The seminar combines student presentations and current research project presentations to review the rapidly developing field from a computer science perspective. Areas: DNA sequence analysis, proteomics, optimization and bio-inspired computing, and systems modeling, simulation and analysis.
ObjectiveStudying and presenting fundamental papers of Computational Biology and Bioinformatics. Learning how to make a scientific presentation and how classical methods are used or further developed in current research.
ContentComputational biology and bioinformatics aim at advancing the understanding of living systems through computation. The complexity of these systems, however, provides challenges for software and algorithms, and often requires entirely novel approaches in computer science. The aim of the seminar is to give an overview of this rapidly developing field from a computer science perspective. In particular, it will focus on the areas of (i) DNA sequence analysis, sequence comparison and reconstruction of phylogenetic trees, (ii) protein identification from experimental data, (iii) optimization and bio-inspired computing, and (iv) systems analysis of complex biological networks. The seminar combines the discussion of selected research papers with a major impact in their domain by the students with the presentation of current active research projects / open challenges in computational biology and bioinformatics by the lecturers. Each week, the seminar will focus on a different topic related to ongoing research projects at ETHZ, University of Basel and University of Zurich, thus giving the students the opportunity of obtaining knowledge about the basic research approaches and problems as well as of gaining insight into (and getting excited about) the latest developments in the field.
LiteratureOriginal papers to be presented by the students will be provided in the first week of the seminar.
Advanced Courses
A total of 30 ECTS needs to be acquired in the Advanced Courses category. Thereof 18 ECTS in the Theory and 12 ECTS in the Biology category.
At least 18 ECTS need to be acquired in this category.
401-0663-00LNumerical Methods for CSE Information W8 credits4V + 2U + 1PR. Alaifari
AbstractThe course gives an introduction into fundamental techniques and algorithms of numerical mathematics which play a central role in numerical simulations in science and technology. The course focuses on fundamental ideas and algorithmic aspects of numerical methods. The exercises involve actual implementation of numerical methods in C++.
Objective* Knowledge of the fundamental algorithms in numerical mathematics
* Knowledge of the essential terms in numerical mathematics and the
techniques used for the analysis of numerical algorithms
* Ability to choose the appropriate numerical method for concrete problems
* Ability to interpret numerical results
* Ability to implement numerical algorithms afficiently
Content1. Direct Methods for linear systems of equations
2. Least Squares Techniques
3. Data Interpolation and Fitting
4. Filtering Algorithms
8. Approximation of Functions
9. Numerical Quadrature
10. Iterative Methods for non-linear systems of equations
11. Single Step Methods for ODEs
12. Stiff Integrators
Lecture notesLecture materials (PDF documents and codes) will be made available to the participants through the course web page:
LiteratureU. ASCHER AND C. GREIF, A First Course in Numerical Methods, SIAM, Philadelphia, 2011.

A. QUARTERONI, R. SACCO, AND F. SALERI, Numerical mathematics, vol. 37 of Texts in Applied Mathematics, Springer, New York, 2000.

W. Dahmen, A. Reusken "Numerik für Ingenieure und Naturwissenschaftler", Springer 2006.

M. Hanke-Bourgeois "Grundlagen der Numerischen Mathematik und des wissenschaftlichen Rechnens", BG Teubner, 2002

P. Deuflhard and A. Hohmann, "Numerische Mathematik I", DeGruyter, 2002
Prerequisites / NoticeThe course will be accompanied by programming exercises in C++ relying on the template library EIGEN. Familiarity with C++, object oriented and generic programming is an advantage. Participants of the course are expected to learn C++ by themselves.
263-5210-00LProbabilistic Artificial Intelligence Information W4 credits2V + 1UA. Krause
AbstractThis course introduces core modeling techniques and algorithms from statistics, optimization, planning, and control and study applications in areas such as sensor networks, robotics, and the Internet.
ObjectiveHow can we build systems that perform well in uncertain environments and unforeseen situations? How can we develop systems that exhibit "intelligent" behavior, without prescribing explicit rules? How can we build systems that learn from experience in order to improve their performance? We will study core modeling techniques and algorithms from statistics, optimization, planning, and control and study applications in areas such as sensor networks, robotics, and the Internet. The course is designed for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students.
ContentTopics covered:
- Search (BFS, DFS, A*), constraint satisfaction and optimization
- Tutorial in logic (propositional, first-order)
- Probability
- Bayesian Networks (models, exact and approximative inference, learning) - Temporal models (Hidden Markov Models, Dynamic Bayesian Networks)
- Probabilistic palnning (MDPs, POMPDPs)
- Reinforcement learning
- Combining logic and probability
Prerequisites / NoticeSolid basic knowledge in statistics, algorithms and programming
401-0647-00LIntroduction to Mathematical OptimizationW5 credits2V + 1UD. Adjiashvili
AbstractIntroduction to basic techniques and problems in mathematical optimization, and their applications to a variety of problems in engineering.
ObjectiveThe goal of the course is to obtain a good understanding of some of the most fundamental mathematical optimization techniques used to solve linear programs and basic combinatorial optimization problems. The students will also practice applying the learned models to problems in engineering.
ContentTopics covered in this course include:
- Linear programming (simplex method, duality theory, shadow prices, ...).
- Basic combinatorial optimization problems (spanning trees, shortest paths, network flows, ...).
- Modelling with mathematical optimization: applications of mathematical programming in engineering.
LiteratureInformation about relevant literature will be given in the lecture.
Prerequisites / NoticeThis course is meant for students who did not already attend the course "Mathematical Optimization", which is a more advance lecture covering similar topics. Compared to "Mathematical Optimization", this course has a stronger focus on modeling and applications.
227-0225-00LLinear System TheoryW6 credits5GM. Kamgarpour
AbstractThe class is intended to provide a comprehensive overview of the theory of linear dynamical systems, stability analysis, and their use in control and estimation. The focus is on the mathematics behind the physical properties of these systems and on understanding and constructing proofs of properties of linear control systems.
ObjectiveStudents should be able to apply the fundamental results in linear system theory to analyze and control linear dynamical systems.
Content- Proof techniques and practices.
- Linear spaces, normed linear spaces and Hilbert spaces.
- Ordinary differential equations, existence and uniqueness of solutions.
- Continuous and discrete-time, time-varying linear systems. Time domain solutions. Time invariant systems treated as a special case.
- Controllability and observability, duality. Time invariant systems treated as a special case.
- Stability and stabilization, observers, state and output feedback, separation principle.
Lecture notesAvailable on the course Moodle platform.
Prerequisites / NoticeSufficient mathematical maturity with special focus on logic, linear algebra, analysis.
151-0575-01LSignals and Systems Information W4 credits2V + 2UA. Carron, G. Ducard
AbstractSignals arise in most engineering applications. They contain information about the behavior of physical systems. Systems respond to signals and produce other signals. In this course, we explore how signals can be represented and manipulated, and their effects on systems. We further explore how we can discover basic system properties by exciting a system with various types of signals.
ObjectiveMaster the basics of signals and systems. Apply this knowledge to problems in the homework assignments and programming exercise.
ContentDiscrete-time signals and systems. Fourier- and z-Transforms. Frequency domain characterization of signals and systems. System identification. Time series analysis. Filter design.
Lecture notesLecture notes available on course website.
Prerequisites / NoticeControl Systems I is helpful but not required.
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