Machine Learning (Theory)

10/20/2008

New York’s ML Day

Tags: Machine Learning,Workshop jl@ 1:54 pm

I’m not as naturally exuberant as Muthu 2 or David about CS/Econ day, but I believe it and ML day were certainly successful.

At the CS/Econ day, I particularly enjoyed Toumas Sandholm’s talk which showed a commanding depth of understanding and application in automated auctions.

For the machine learning day, I enjoyed several talks and posters (I better, I helped pick them.). What stood out to me was number of people attending: 158 registered, a level qualifying as “scramble to find seats”. My rule of thumb for workshops/conferences is that the number of attendees is often something like the number of submissions. That isn’t the case here, where there were just 4 invited speakers and 30-or-so posters. Presumably, the difference is due to a critical mass of Machine Learning interested people in the area and the ease of their attendance.

Are there other areas where a local Machine Learning day would fly? It’s easy to imagine something working out in the San Francisco bay area and possibly Germany or England.

The basic formula for the ML day is a committee picks a few people to give talks, and posters are invited, with some of them providing short presentations. The CS/Econ day was similar, except they managed to let every submitter do a presentation. Are there tweaks to the format which would improve things?

2 Comments to “New York’s ML Day”
  1. Yisong says:

    Another event of similar quality is the student-run NESCAI colloquium. While it spans all fields of AI, I would say the majority of presentations are machine learning related. NESCAI invites more student presentations than ML day, so it typically runs parallel tracks. Tutorials are also available. Due to the nature of NESCAI, tutorials are typically given by senior graduate students.

  2. I really enjoyed the NY ML Day, too. Thanks for helping organize it. I was stunned by the number of participants and posters, and the overall quality of the presentations. Not to mention the stunning view from the 40th floor.

    The diversity of interests and the theory/practice balance was nice, too.

    I think good participation in the poster session was largely due to three factors: the 2-page submission format, allowing previously or to-be published work, and the day-trip nature of the workshop. The barrier to submission didn’t require committing to a trip to Vancouver or writing a novel 8-page paper.

    I was surprised how much I enjoyed the students’ speed talks (5 minutes each or so); I hate the speed format at speech confs like ICSLP. It’d have been nice to have all the posters present, because standing by my poster, I didn’t see as much as I’d have liked.

    Overall, a slightly earlier start and a morning break would’ve been nice — the session before lunch was brutally long. But then I only went one stop on the subway rather than commuting here from Princeton or Cornell!

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