On Tuesday night, the BigML Team presented at the February Willamette Innovators Network (WiN) PubTalk. This event was hosted by the WiN and the Corvallis Benton County Economic Development Office and held at Eat and Drink 101, a cozy restaurant in downtown Corvallis, Oregon.
The night kicked off with networking time, followed by a round of introductions where anyone in the audience could give a 30-second pitch about their company. Next came the main presentation about BigML, which was given by Adam Ashenfelter, BigML’s Chief Data Engineer and Co-founder. Since we’re used to presenting to ML newbies, Adam first explained what Machine Learning is in a nutshell, and how it’s used in many industries for tasks like fraud detection, market segmentation, recommendation systems, and more. He touched on “the Good and the Bad of Machine Learning” and how BigML is working to solve these challenges:
- The GOOD: thanks to cheap computation, data is abundant for all sorts of industries.
- The BAD: many Machine Learning tools are difficult to use and require deep expertise. To boot, there are not enough ML experts to go around.
- BigML’s SOLUTION: make ML tools 10x easier so everybody can get more from their data and make better decisions.
Adam also shared about BigML’s background and our “locally grown Machine Learning.” As mentioned in our previous post about why BigML is in Corvallis, the BigML Team has strong roots in Corvallis, with seven team members currently living there (three of which are long-time locals). Oregon State University has played a big role in the founding of BigML, thanks to its leading programs in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
Attendees represented a variety of industries and profiles within the local community including engineers from software startups, professors and students from Oregon State University, members from non-profit organizations, entrepreneurs, and other business people from Corvallis and other cities in Oregon such as Portland and Bend. Twitter was the largest company represented in the audience with a remote worker from Portland.
The crowd was engaged, asking questions about how Machine Learning could be applied to their current businesses. Tom Nelson, Economic Development Manager at the Corvallis Benton County Economic Development Office, commented:
“WiN had an impressive turnout at the PubTalk. We had standing-room only with over 60 in attendance, and we had a VERY cool company, BigML, to tell us about their company and Machine Learning. The topic was obviously a draw!”
Our team in Corvallis extends a big thank you to the Willamette Innovators Network for organizing this event, and we look forward to building more connections with the local community. If you are in the Corvallis area and would like to learn more about BigML, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out our photo album on Facebook and on Google+ to see more pictures from the event.