Machine Learning (Theory)

11/9/2008

A Healthy COLT

Tags: Conferences,Machine Learning jl@ 10:49 am

A while ago, we discussed the health of COLT. COLT 2008 substantially addressed my concerns. The papers were diverse and several were interesting. Attendance was up, which is particularly notable in Europe. In my opinion, the colocation with UAI and ICML was the best colocation since 1998.

And, perhaps best of all, registration ended up being free for all students due to various grants from the Academy of Finland, Google, IBM, and Yahoo.

A basic question is: what went right? There seem to be several answers.

  1. Cost-wise, COLT had sufficient grants to alleviate the high cost of the Euro and location at a university substantially reduces the cost compared to a hotel.
  2. Organization-wise, the Finns were great with hordes of volunteers helping set everything up. Having too many volunteers is a good failure mode.
  3. Organization-wise, it was clear that all 3 program chairs were cooperating in designing the program.
  4. Facilities-wise, proximity in time and space made the colocation much more real than many others have been in the past.
  5. Program-wise, COLT notably had two younger program chairs, Tong and Rocco, which seemed to work well.

11/4/2008

Rise of the Machines

Tags: AI saul@ 12:42 pm

On the enduring topic of how people deal with intelligent machines, we have this important election bulletin.

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