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The workshop will run at the same venue immediately before the 2009 conference of the Operations Research Society of South African (ORSSA), 20-23 September 2009. Visit

Main Sponsor

National Research Foundation of South Africa (NRF)


Training Software "Intelligent Fore-caster" is provided by BIS lab - The Business Intelli-gence Labor-atory, Hamburg, Germany

USB - University of Stellenbosch Business School, Bellville, ZA



About the tutor

Dr. Sven F. Crone is Assistant Prof. at Lancaster University

 Your lecturer, Dr. Crone, is deputy director of the Lancaster Centre for Forecasting, one of the world’s largest research units dedicated to forecasting. With a PhD in neural forecasting, he frequently speaks at international conferences and runs forecasting competitions. Sven regularly teaches forecasting, both at university, in practitioners courses and in tutorials for IBF and IEEE CIS. He has over 8 years of corporate experience, having consulted with companies incl. retailer Tesco UK, manufacturer of FMCG Beiersdorf GER, Chemicals producer Celanese USA, copper producer Codelco Chile, and insurance AXA Switzerland etc

3-day workshop held in conjunction with the 38th Annual Conference of the Operations Research Society of South Africa (ORSSA'09), Stellenbosch, South Africa (

17-19 September 2009, Wallenberg Centre, Institute of Advanced Study, Stellenbosch University
Official webpage:

Current Information: The course - designed for a small group to allow hands-on training and small group teaching - is ALMOST FULLY BOOKED . Please contact Dr. Chipo Mlambo via email to see if places are still available, or to be placed on the waiting list. Please DO NOT TRANSFER any money without contacting her first, as the money will then only need to be rte-transferred!


Course description: Artificial neural networks (NN) have revolutionized the way researchers and practitioners solve complex, real-world problems in business, finance, economics, and engineering. Today, NNs are being routinely used by specialists in a wide range of predictive tasks such as forecasting electrical load, financial data, consumer packaged goods in retail and supply chain management, call volumes in call centres etc. However, their modelling and specification requires expert knowledge often not available in companies. We are pleased to announce the first 3-day NN training workshop on time series prediction and forecasting to be held right here in South Africa.


Course design: The course will be 3 full days of maths-lite lectures and hands-on exercises using a free NN software simulator – so bring along your laptop to run experiments!


Target audience: Whether you are a demand planner, engineer, financial analyst, researcher, or student, the course is designed to help you acquire the knowledge, the skills and the competence you need to utilize this cutting-edge technology for solving predictive problems. You will be exposed to the theoretical concepts and hands-on applications of NN that will be invaluable in your day-to-day decision-making processes. The hands-on format will allow you to follow the course even without a sound mathematical or statistical background. Even if you are already familiar with ANN, you will learn tricks-of-the-trade and explore or develop your own. Don’t miss out! Get your organisation ahead of the competition by equipping yourself with this futuristic technique.


Course Coverage: History of neural networks, specifying neural network architectures (number of layers, number of nodes, feedback etc.), Backpropagation and other learning algorithms for neural networks, Applications of neural networks in function approximation, linear and nonlinear time series prediction, and nonlinear system identification, hands-on examples in time series and causal modelling, Fundamentals of time series forecasting, Modelling neural networks for smoothing and regression, Evaluating Neural Network forecasting accuracy, Out-of-Sample Empirical Design of Neural Network Experiments


Software to be used: Intelligent Forecaster offers industry-grade software (made in Germany) developed exclusively and specifically for  time series forecasting with up-to-date and advanced methods from Artificial Intelligence: Support Vector Regression (SVR) and artificial Neural Networks (NN). These allow unprecedented accuracy from nonlinear, data-driven and non-parametric prediction. The software provides various expert features (i.e. input-variable & lag-identification, data-preprocessing, ensembles) for multiple forecasting horizons across fixed forecasting horizon, rolling origin evaluation across a set of multiple error measures). [Read more ...]


Acknowledgement: The workshop is supported by the NRF under the KISC grant scheme. The idea of a NN workshop in ZA was conceptualised and developed by Dr. Chipo Mlambo during her time as a lecturer in Business Forecasting at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB), and it is here that the funding was initially granted. We are grateful to the NRF and colleagues at USB for their kind support of the workshop. Furthermore, we are thankful for the support of the Lancaster University Management School department of Management Science, the Lancaster Research Centre for Forecasting and the BIS lab - the Business Intelligence  Laboratory for their support.

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Download Information

Download Brochure
Download the workshop brochure.

Download Handouts
Download the workshop programme, hand-outs and trial software



Registration Fee for 3 full days:

ZAR 3000 (€260/$365)
before 31 July 2009

ZAR 3900 (€340/$475)
after 31 July 2009

The fee includes a NN software simulator on CD for experiments, data, stationery & coffee/tea & lunches.

Accommodation is not included - for a list of accommodations please visit the ORSSA conference website (see left) held at the same venue

 Hurry, only limited seats are available!!! Participants will be accepted on a first-come first-serve basis

For any enquiries and reservations please contact Dr. Mlambo via email.

New GSB Logo - SmallDr Chipo Mlambo, University of Cape Town (UCT), Graduate School of Business

Tel: +27 (0)21 406 1442
Fax: +27 (0)21 406 1412


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