CMSC 828W: Foundations of Deep Learning

University of Maryland, College Park, Fall 2022
Instructor: Soheil Feizi


Soheil Feizi,
Office: 4202 IRB Building

Course Assistants

Wenxiao Wang,

Samyadeep Basu,


We will attempt to cover the following topics

  • ERM and basic DL models/architectures

  • DL Optimization

  • DL Generalization

  • Neural Tangent Kernels

  • Lottery Tickets

  • Robustness

    • Adversarial attacks and defenses

    • Provable defenses, Lp and non-Lp

    • Generalizable robustness to unforeseen attacks & poisoning attacks

  • Relaxing i.i.d.

    • Domain adaptation

    • Out-of-domain generalization

  • Deep Generative Models

    • VAEs

    • GANs

    • Flow-based models

    • Diffusion Models

  • Min-Max Optimization

  • Contrastive, Self-supervised DL

  • Deep Reinforcement Learning

  • LSTMs and Transformers

  • Explainable DL

    • Interpretation methods

    • Influence functions

  • Meta Learning

  • Bayesian DL

  • Fairness

  • Graph Neural Networks

  • Federated DL

  • Privacy and Ethics

Note that this is a tentative list, and we may add or remove some topics as it fits.


Lectures are on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:30 pm – 4:45 pm, IRB 0318.

Students are strongly encouraged to attend all the lectures. Relevant notes will be posted a couple of hours after each lecture.

Office Hours

The instructor and the course assistants will provide weekly office hours.

  • Soheil Feizi: Tuesdays 4:45 pm – 5:30 pm.

  • TA office hours: TBD

Course Piazza:

Register here.

Ask TAs about the registration code.


CMSC 828W is a mathematical course. Strong linear algebra, probability, and optimization background are required. Students should be familiar with basic machine learning and deep learning concepts.

We will make extensive use of the Python programming language. It is assumed that you know or will quickly learn how the program in Python. You can satisfy this requirement by completing a programming course that uses Python and object-oriented techniques.

Course requirements and grading


  • We will have one final exam on 12/8.


  • We will have some occasional homeworks.


  • CMSC 828W is a project-oriented course. Projects should be based on new works, cannot be resubmissions of previous research works by the team. Each submission should have up to 3 students. Deadlines are final and won't be extended.

  • Important Dates

    • Topic and team formation deadline: 9/15

    • Midpoint Project Presentation: 10/25 and 10/27

    • Final Project Presentation: 11/29 and 12/1

    • Full paper (ICML format) submission deadline: 12/15

Programming + Lecture Scribing

  • Each student is responsible for scribingediting some MLDL topics in LaTeX format on Overleaf. In general, 2–3 students will be assigned to each topic. They should work together in editing the scribed notes and adding programming examples. The scribe should elaborate on parts of the lecture that have been merely skimmed over, have full mathematical details, and provide proper references.


  • Scribing + Programming Examples 10%

  • Class participation 5%

  • Final exam 35%

  • Paper score 50%

    • Midpoint presentation: 10%

    • Final presentation: 20%

    • Final report: 20%

Accommodations and Policies

You can find UMD's course policies here.

Any student eligible for and requesting reasonable academic accommodations due to a disability is requested to provide, to the instructor in office hours, a letter of accommodation from the Office of Accessibility and Disability Services (ADS, formerly DSS) within the first TWO weeks of the semester.

Any student who needs to be excused for an absence from a single lecture, recitation, or lab due to a medically necessitated absence shall:

  • Make a reasonable attempt to inform the instructor of his/her illness prior to the class.

  • Upon returning to the class, present their instructor with a self-signed note attesting to the date of their illness. Each note must contain an acknowledgment by the student that the information provided is true and correct. Providing false information to University officials is prohibited under Part 10(j) of the Code of Student Conduct (V-1.00(B) University of Maryland Code of Student Conduct) and may result in disciplinary action.

If you observe religious holidays during the course, please notify course staff within the first two weeks of the semester.

Course Evaluations

Course evaluations are important and that the department and faculty take student feedback seriously. Students can go to the link to complete their evaluations.