Talk at ECIR 2018 Industry day

European Conference on Information Retrieval (ECIR) is a annual European scientific conference around bhe topics of search engines, recommender systems, text analytics, user modeling, and evaluation. This year ECIR was held in Grenoble, France. With more than 250 attendants and 4 days packed with tutorials, workshops, research, and industry talks, it was a great place to be to get updated with the latest and greatest about search engines.

The theme of this year’s Industry Day was to bring lessons learned from industry to academia. What are differences when developing a research algorithm and when we bring to practice? These lessons could inspire and inform our fellow academics for the challenges practitioners face when bring these algorithms to production.

In my talk I touched upon a bunch of challenges we’ve faced at 904Labs and how we came about to solving them. Open questions revolve around online learning to rank algorithms, delayed feedback, design of new metrics to avoid embarassing results, and the importance of investing in an evaluation platform. At 904Labs we have come a long way and we have working answers for these questions, however, as these questions are particularly difficult to answer, I’ve invited people to drop me a note with ideas, if they are interested. I’ve already got some nice feedback, and I hope to see more research on these areas in the near future!

Below are some tweets from my talk.

Talk at Frankfurt Data Science meetup

I was happy to be invited at Frankfurt Data Science meetup to talk about data science, meetups, and how to build a data science-oriented startup. The event was held at Frankfurt School on March 1st, 2018. In my talk I gave an overview of the meetup scene in Amsterdam, briefly presented Amsterdam Data Science and its activites, and then I shared my experiences on founding and developing 904Labs, before I delved into one of my favorite topics: machine learning and search.

It was a packed room, with more than 200 registered people for the event, and the talk was broadcasted live on YouTube. There will soon be a video, which I will share here. The audience was from diverse backgrounds, and I enjoyed the interactions very much. I was happily surprised by the professional organization of the event, and the ambition for making Frankfurt one of the leading centres in data science in Europe. All the best to the organizers and I hope to see more collaboration on data science between Frankfurt and Amsterdam in the near future!

The talk is online on YouTube (thank you Frankfurt Data Science for making this happen!):

Keynote speech at AI2Future

AI2Future is a local, Croatian, initiative for disseminating the importance and for grounding the use of Artificial Intelligence. The conference brings together researchers, A.I. start ups, and large corporates from all around Croatia to share experiences and learn from each other on what A.I. can and cannot do.

I was invited to give one of the two keynote talks. The first keynote focused on conversational agents and natural language processing and mine followed up with insights how search powers a large spectrum of applications from search, question and answering, and recommendations. I focused on the work we do at 904Labs and illustrated the principles of online learning to rank through real-world examples from our experimences with our customers.

I got many questions after the talk which is a sign that the audience understood the topic and was intrigued by what A.I. can do for search. Some of the questions were brought to the following breaks with some of them leading to follow up meetings in the next days.

I much enjoyed the conference, and I hope that the organizers will follow up with another version next year. I believe that we do need more of this type of initiative to disseminate what A.I. is and A.I. can and cannot do so that organizations shape a better picture of how they can use it to solve challenges that they face.