Artificial Intelligence For a Healthy Life

Design a Practical Tool Using AI

Healthy living is a hot topic in today’s world. Many of us want to be fitter, stronger, and healthier, especially students, despite the challenges posed by their particular situation. That makes students fascinating subject matter for health-related lifestyle research, so on this course you study yourself and your own habits to create a practical tool employing artificial intelligence to help you and your peers live healthier lives. In short, an “intelligent lifestyle support” app.

Course levelBeginner Bachelor/Advanced Bachelor/Master
Session 2 14 July to 28 July 2018
Recommended course combination 
Session 1: Big Data in Society
Session 3: Big Ideas in Computer Science
Co-ordinating lecturerRomy Blankendaal, Dr Stefan Schlobach
Other lecturers    Dr Tibor Bosse (Radboud University Nijmegen), Dr Michel Klein (VU Amsterdam) and others
Form(s) of tuitionLectures, practicals, discussions, group work, excursion
Form(s) of assessment    Project, presentation, video
ECTS    3 credits
Contact hours45
Tuition fee€1.150
Any student or professionals interested in solving social problems by combining empirical knowledge with state-of-the-art IT. Students or professional in the fields of health, life, behavioural or movement sciences will particularly benefit, but the course may also appeal to more technically oriented participants with an interest in social issues. If you have doubts about your eligibility for the course, please let us know. Our courses are multi-disciplinary and therefore are open to students and professionals with a wide variety of backgrounds.

Along the way you acquire both theoretical knowledge of human behaviour and the technical hands-on skills, including data-analysis and programming abilities, needed to convert what you have learned into a useable application.

Having defined a socially relevant issue within the thematic domain “healthy study”, you collect related data. Given the nature of the topic, this will most likely be information about you and your fellow students: your diet and drinking habits, or your sporting activities, exercise regime or social contacts. Using that material as input, you then develop an intervention model to address the issue by influencing behaviour using techniques drawn from AI. This forms the basis for your lifestyle support application. Having tested and evaluated this, at the end of the course you reveal your problem, process and product through a video and a final presentation.

A sporting activity during which participants conduct a small physical experiment.

At the end of this course you have:

  • Gained a basic understanding of modelling, drawn from specific examples in the social domain (the elderly, exercise, personal health, etc.).
  • Acquired a range of computational skills: programming, modelling and the simulation of human and agent processes, pervasive/physical computing and application development.
  • Knowledge of the methodology of setting up a project, building an application and evaluating it.
  • Acquired the skills needed to process relevant data and to evaluate the application.
  • Gained experience in developing an application from beginning to end.
  • Gained experience in collaborative working on a project.
Slides from the lectures and further reading will be provided during the course.


Romy Blankendaal is a junior researcher and junior teacher at the Artificial Intelligence Section within the Department of Computer Science at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU). She holds a MSc degree in Artificial Intelligence from the VU. Her current research is about the use of virtual aggression de-escalation training for public transport employees. Combining domain knowledge with technology is an important aspect in this research: technology only works if it fits the needs of the domain it is used in.

“This course teaches you a new way of thinking and a valuable skill: closing the gap between technology and domain knowledge, by combining both to create intelligent lifestyle support.”

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