New England Machine Learning Day Celebrates Burgeoning Research

May 31, 2018   |   MSNE Staff

At Microsoft, we’re thrilled to be part of an exciting world where burgeoning technologies are being improved each day and brought to the table as an opportunity to explore and impact our communities. On Monday, May 7, we were honored to host the seventh annual New England Machine Learning Day, an event that brought together local academics and researchers in machine learning, artificial intelligence, and their application.

Throughout the day, attendees sat in on various talks from experts across the field in machine learning. Presenters included:

These academics spoke on topics across the wide world of artificial intelligence, from energy-efficient deep learning to adversarial machine learning. Attendees were able to converse one-on-one with presenters in informal Q&A sessions after each presentation.

Lunchtime doubled as a lively poster presentation, where local academics and researchers connected on the floor to discuss real research that is happening in New England, bounce ideas off each other, and network with other experts in this field.

Afterward, a panel about inspiring new provocations in the field kicked off. Led by Tina Eliassi-Rad (moderator), we heard from panelists Carla Brodley, Northeastern University; Rania Khalaf, IBM; Michael Littman, Brown University; Lester Mackey, Microsoft Research; and Josh Tenenbaum, MIT. Together, the panelists tackled controversial topics in the fields of machine learning and artificial intelligence and how deep learning and neural networks are or are not transforming the industry.

Questions included: How should we think about machine learning in the era of deep learning? Where should machine learning go from here? And is granting users a “right to explanation” of machine learning-related decision-making a good idea?

“My favorite moment was when the panel turned to the students and asked them what they wanted to learn more about in ML courses,” said Microsoft Research’s Adam Tauman Kalai, who helped organize the day.

Throughout the day, we were able to see increased connections, collaborations, and progress as our regional machine learning community grew closer.“This is an accessible, free event that anyone can attend,” explained Eliza Kosoy, research assistant in Tenenbaum’s MIT Computational Cognitive Science Group-. “Even though I live in Boston, I don’t have as much access as I wish I did to leading researchers. When you’re in one place, you often get stuck in your ideas, but when you’re exposed to other people, you’re able to source new ideas and new directions.”

We’re excited to take this spirit of growth and collaboration further as Microsoft explores new avenues in machine learning. Our Microsoft Research group here in New England applies this spirit to its work each day to advance the state of the art in interdisciplinary research, and our research also enhances Microsoft products and services both through direct transfer of technology and through impact on Microsoft strategy. Learn more about our team and open positions here.

Want to learn more about machine learning? Join us on Monday, June 11 from 9am-7pm for New England Machine Learning Accessibility Hackathon.