Imperial College London

Microsoft brings Azure cloud to students for Machine Learning experiences


Four Applied Computational Science and Engineering Students work on their laptops

At the start of the winter term, Microsoft is visiting the Department of Earth Science and Engineering, to upskill our students on the cloud.

To expand students’ skills in Machine Learning and responsible Artificial Intelligence, Microsoft Azure is delivering a full day session as part of the Applied Computational Science and Engineering MSc.

Azure is Microsoft’s cloud service, and enables our students to expand their Data Science experiences in relation to building and developing real world Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) experiences.  

Following course modules on Numerical Methods and Advanced Programming, Applied Computational Science and Engineering MSc students have the opportunity to develop their Machine Learning and AI skills at an Azure workshop, before the Machine Learning module takes place later in the year.

During the day students will get hands on with Azure Machine Learning designer, Azure Automated Machine Learning,  Azure Machine Learning SDK (Software Development Kit) and AI developer services including Azure Cognitive Services.

Jennifer Ritzinger, General Manager of Student Developer Advocacy at Microsoft, says:

“It’s vital that today’s students learn how to capitalise on the ease of adopting the cloud and developer tools so young innovators can stay focused on their ideas and solutions for changing the world, rather than the tech. Learning skills while still studying in cloud and AI will give student technologists an advantage as they graduate and enter the workforce, especially on Microsoft’s Azure platform, which is used by 95% of Fortune 500 companies.”

Microsoft is supporting students to use the cloud with an array of services and offerings, from online training, to Microsoft Student Partners who help fellow students, and global competitions, such as the Imagine Cup.

The one-day workshop

In 2018, Microsoft delivered a session on Azure that gave our first cohort of ACSE students an introduction to tooling, proof-of-concepting, building software process flows and machine learning that they could combine to pull together their scientific passions and technology.

Building on this visit, the Microsoft Cloud and AI team comprising Senior Developer Advocate Amy Boyd and Senior Program Manager Lee Stott are returning to the Royal School of Mines to deliver a one-day workshop. The sessions this year will help the students build machine learning models faster than they think might be possible, working on Open Source technologies,  Microsoft Azure and Microsoft software development platform to enable cloud services.

The session allows attendees to get hands on with the content in a lab format, to skill them in using prebuilt AI to solve business challenges, to learn more about Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence and why it’s so powerful, and then dive into how to train and test baseline models.


In preparation for the workshop, students developed a basic understanding of cloud technologies with Azure Fundamentals, a module on online learning platform Microsoft Learn. They also had a chance to investigate some prebuilt AI on Azure, as well as using Python to develop tailored Machine Learning solutions. 

The students will also use Microsoft Learn to work through online tutorials at their own pace after the workshop, as self-learning or blended within the course curriculum.

Dr Gerard Gorman, Course Director for the Applied Computational Science and Engineering MSc says: “The nature of the course is that it must be very hands-on. Having Microsoft in for a day gives real world experience with AI that the students will develop in their independent projects, and in their careers after graduation.” 


Victoria Murphy

Victoria Murphy
Department of Earth Science & Engineering

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