Read in 2 minutes ● Indaba Organisers
Who are the machine learning scientists? This was the question we asked ourselves during our planning for the Deep Learning Indaba. In our answer, we saw a fresco of geometry and colour that would make even Esther Mahlangu proud: a thriving community of different peoples, backgrounds and viewpoints, and whose support we could use in our mission to strengthen African machine learning. We found a scientific community that was everything we hoped for.
Machine learning scientists come from every technical background imaginable: probability theory and statistics, physics and economics, neuroscience and psychology, operations research and signal processing, and many beyond. These scientists are also men and women, are Africans and Asians, are black and white, are lesbians and gays and transgendered. They come from every part of the world, speak in different languages and accents, hold different beliefs, and are shaped by different histories.
Amidst all this diversity, they are singly committed to discovering the principles of learning in brains and machines, and to the beneficial applications of this knowledge. Of course, not all is perfect and many of these groups do not have the levels of representation we should expect. But our set of speakers embodies all these characteristics; we are proud to have this group give shape to the indaba.
In inviting these speakers, our aims were to showcase the community diversity, to show that there are many curved paths to a machine learning career, and to build confidence and technical skill in our attendees through the experiences of our chosen set of scientists. We have both African speakers to show the strength of technical capacity held locally, and international speakers who will bring with them the state-of-the-art in the field. In total, 18 speakers form the core of our technical programme.
We asked each of these speakers to share the story of how they got into machine learning, what they will be teaching us, for their advice, and what they see as challenges for the future. These speakers have given their time, money and energy to join us at the Indaba, and we are truly grateful for their participation. We eagerly await the opportunity to meet and learn from each of them this September.