Data Science in Action: Machine Learning for Self-Driving Cars

A two-week day camp to introduce programming and machine learning to high school students.

Data Science summer program students

The objective of the program is to introduce students to machine learning and programming through a project in which they program various machine learning algorithms including a neural network to recognize images and make a self-driving toy car.

The course consists of lectures covering conceptual-level statistical, machine learning and programming components. Students will be introduced to various machine learning methods and algorithms as well as their applications in different fields including biomedicine. In parallel they will be introduced to the Python programming language, which will allow them to implement the concepts they have studied.

Students will participate in teams, working together on programming exercises that range from coding introductory tasks to image classification. Each team will receive a laptop, a Raspberry Pi, and materials to construct the toy car. Teaching assistants will be available to provide hands-on programming and technical support throughout the camp. Additional tutorials will also be available on our camp’s YouTube channel. For the final presentation demo, the students will take pictures of physical objects and train their own classification algorithms including neural networks to recognize these objects. Once they achieve high-quality performance, they will install their program into a toy car equipped with a camera which will self drive using their programmed neural network.

Lunch hours will include conversations with machine learning experts from academia and industry who will share their life experiences and perspectives on data science. Complimentary lunch will also be provided.

Data Science summer program student working with instructor

Program Schedule:

June 22, 2024

  • Orientation Day

June 27-July 10, 2024 (*we will not be meeting on July 4)

  • Bootcamp: Introduction to Programming/Python
  • Programming Practice + Q&A
  • Lunch Meeting with Guest Speakers
  • Construction and Troubleshooting toy Pi Car
  • TA hours for additonal help on programming
  • Lectures on Statistics/Machine Learning/AI
  • Statistics/Machine Learning Programming Practice
  • Programming and Troubleshooting toy Pi Car


Tuition for the program is free. All materials for the camp will be provided during the event. Stipends are available for students from low income families (full attendance and successful completion of the course required)

Eligibility Requirements:

  • High school student (rising freshman – senior)
  • Students from low-income backgrounds are encouraged to apply
  • Interest in applying to college with a focus in STEM
  • Basic algebra
  • Completed application and release forms
  • Resume

Data Science summer program student

The program is hosted by the Translational Data Science Center for a Learning Health System (CELEHS) at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School, and San Jose State University. It is co-sponsored by PayPal and the Prediction Analytics Research Solution and Execution (PARSE), a non-profit research organization. It is taught by a team of data science researchers including faculty members from Harvard, the University of Toronto as well as data scientists from PayPal. Teaching assistants will provide hands-on programming and technical support throughout the camp.

Support for the program is provided by CELEHS and PARSE.

CELEHS logoParse logo




For more information, please contact Amanda King or Mohammad Moro