The third edition of our Valencian Summer School in Machine Learning broke our records across the board. A big thank you to all our attendees who made this event one for the books! Over 200 BigMLers from 14 countries representing 92 companies and 28 academic organizations gathered in Valencia for two fun, intense days of Machine Learning training.
The Valencian Summer School gave BigMLers a quick and practical introduction to Machine Learning, all the while enjoying beautiful ocean views from the elegant Veles e Vents at the Valencian harbor. Not a bad way to dive into the world of Machine Learning, eh?
Based on our exchanges during the breaks and the BigML Genius Bar session, we’ve found that many businesses are very willing to incorporate Machine Learning in their operations as they see the value it can deliver on a continual basis. However, they are often struggling to formulate their problems in a way that can be addressed with a combination of ML tasks and algorithms. This style of new and more “scientific” thinking requires a bit of an out-of-the-box, critical perspective in the early stages before it becomes well-entrenched in the organization. This change in mindset is a big part of the commitment to create a ML-literate knowledge worker class.
During his keynote, perhaps not so coincidentally, Prof. Enrique Dans also chimed in on the same theme of commitment to go through an organizational transformation. Asking that the audience momentarily step away from the technological aspect of Machine Learning so as to step into the human aspect, he highlighted the need for an organization to “Unlearn” its old processes to make room for the kind of creative thinking that can’t otherwise flourish.
He went on to define the sociological concept of Institutional Isomorphism, which pertains to the emergence of familiar, copy cat business processes in various industries due to external and internal forces (professional accreditation requirements, government regulations and plain old imitation of successful business practices). You may be asking, why it makes sense to care about some esoteric social sciences concept all of a sudden? That’s because, with Machine Learning in the mix, managers finally have a much more evidence-driven, objective tool in their hands to break from the norms and make new rules that can fuel new, hard to replicate, sustainable competitive moats that have a compounding effect over time. Of course, success is not guaranteed, and it still takes a good amount of courage and bolder risk-taking culture. With that said, we’ll increasingly witness that companies not willing to take such calculated risks will join their brethren in the dust bins of corporate history.
Don’t get the impression that it was all algorithms and intellectual musings, the BigML Team works hard and plays hard, so we also invited our attendees to join us for some fun activities before and after the lectures. The event packed in coffee breaks, cocktails, and plenty of other chances for the attendees to mingle with one another. Those who could survive the information binge were impressively able to make it to the 6:30 AM morning runs along the well-regarded Turia Gardens.
The BigML Team extends a huge “Thank You!” to our event collaborators at Veles e Vents, and our co-organizers at VIT Emprende, València Activa, and Ajuntament de València. VSSML would not be possible without your support. We look forward to break new records and bring Machine Learning to everyone one event at a time…
The presentation slides from the course are now available on the VSSML17 event page as well as on BigML’s SlideShare account. Want to see more pictures from the event? Please check out our VSSML17 photo albums on Facebook and Google+.