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Data Science and ML in Microsoft Excel
By Royce D'Souza, CIOApplications Europe | Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Machine learning and deep learning have become an important part of many applications we use every day. There are few domains that the fast expansion of machine learning hasn’t touched.
FREMONT, CA: Many businesses have thrived by developing the right strategy to integrate machine learning algorithms into their operations and processes. Others have lost ground to competitors after ignoring the undeniable advances in artificial intelligence.
But mastering machine learning is a difficult process. You need to start with a solid knowledge of linear algebra and calculus, master a programming language such as Python, and become proficient with data science and machine learning libraries such as Numpy, Scikit-learn, TensorFlow, and PyTorch.
And if you want to create machine learning systems that integrate and scale, you’ll have to learn cloud platforms such as Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.
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Naturally, not everyone needs to become a machine learning engineer. But almost everyone who is running a business or organization that systematically collects and processes can benefit from some knowledge of data science and machine learning. Fortunately, there are several courses that provide a high-level overview of machine learning and deep learning without going too deep into math and coding.
But in my experience, a good understanding of data science and machine learning requires some hands-on experience with algorithms. In this regard, a very valuable and often-overlooked tool is Microsoft Excel.
To most people, MS Excel is a spreadsheet application that stores data in tabular format and performs very basic mathematical operations. But in reality, Excel is a powerful computation tool that can solve complicated problems. Excel also has many features that allow you to create machine learning models directly into your workbooks.
While I’ve been using Excel’s mathematical tools for years, I didn’t come to appreciate its use for learning and applying data science and machine learning until I picked up Learn Data Mining Through Excel: A Step-by-Step Approach for Understanding Machine Learning Methods by Hong Zhou.
Learn Data Mining Through Excel takes you through the basics of machine learning step by step and shows how you can implement many algorithms using basic Excel functions and a few of the application’s advanced tools.