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We’re just about half way through the year – scary, huh? But there’s still time to attend a huge range of incredible machine learning conferences in 2018. Given that in this year’s Skill Up survey developers working every field told us that they’re interested in learning machine learning, it will certainly be worth your while (and money). We fully expect this year’s machine learning conference circuit to capture the attention of those beyond the analytics world.

The best machine learning conferences in 2018

But which machine learning conferences should you attend for the rest of the year? There’s a lot out there, and they’re not always that cheap. Let’s take a look at 10 of the best machine learning conferences for the rest of this year.

1AI Summit London

When and where? June 12-14 2018, Kensington Palace and ExCel Center, London, UK.

What is it? AI Summit is all about AI and business – it’s as much for business leaders and entrepreneurs as it is for academics and data scientists. The summit covers a lot of ground, from pharmaceuticals to finance to marketing, but the main idea is to explore the incredible ways Artificial Intelligence is being applied to a huge range of problems.

Who is speaking? According to the event’s website, there are more than 400 speakers at the summit. The keynote speakers include a number of impressive CEOs including Patrick Hunger, CEO of Saxo Bank and Helen Vaid, Global Chief Customer Officer of Pizza Hut.

Who’s it for? This machine learning conference is primarily for anyone who would like to consider themselves a thought leader. Don’t let that put you off though, with a huge number of speakers from across the business world it is a great opportunity to see what the future of AI might look like.

2ML Conference, Munich

When and where? June 18-10, 2018, Sheraton Munich Arabella Park Hotel, Munich, Germany.

What is it? Munich’s ML Conference is also about the applications of machine learning in the business world. But it’s a little more practical-minded than AI Summit – it’s more about how to actually start using machine learning from a technological standpoint.

Who is speaking? Speakers at ML Conference are researchers and machine learning practitioners. Alison Lowndes from NVIDIA will be speaking, likely offering some useful insight on how NVIDIA is helping make deep learning accessible to businesses; Christian Petters, solutions architect at AWS will also be speaking on the important area of machine learning in the cloud.

Who’s it for? This is a good conference for anyone starting to become acquainted with machine learning. Obviously data practitioners will be the core audience here, but sysadmins and app developers starting to explore machine learning would also benefit from this sort of machine learning conference.

3O’Reilly AI Conference, San Francisco

When and where? September 5-7 2018, Hilton Union Square, San Francisco, CA.

What is it? According to O’Reilly’s page for the event, this conference is being run to counter those conferences built around academic AI research. It’s geared (surprise, surprise) towards the needs of businesses. Of course, there’s a little bit of aggrandizing marketing spin there, but the idea is fundamentally a good one. It’s all about exploring how cutting edge AI research can be used by businesses. It’s somewhere between the two above – practical enough to be of interest to engineers, but with enough blue sky scope to satisfy the thought leaders.

Who is speaking? O’Reilly have some great speakers here. There’s someone else making an appearance for NVIDIA – Gaurav Agarwal, who’s heading up the company’s automated vehicles project. There’s also Sarah Bird from Facebook who will likely have some interesting things to say about how her organization is planning to evolve its approach to AI over the years to come.

Who is it for? This is for those working at the intersection of business and technology. Data scientists and analysts grappling with strategic business questions, CTOs and CMOs beginning to think seriously about how AI can change their organization will all find something here.

4O’Reilly Strata Data Conference, New York

When and where? September 12-13, 2018, Javits Centre, New York, NY.

What is it? O’Reilly’s Strata Data Conference is slightly more Big Data focused than its AI Conference. Yes it will look at AI and deep learning, but it’s going to tackle those areas from a big data perspective first and foremost. It’s more established than the AI Summit (it actually started back in 2012 as Strata + Hadoop World), so there’s a chance it will have a slightly more conservative vibe. That could be a good or bad thing, of course.

Who is speaking? This is one of the biggest Big Data conferences on the planet, As you’d expect the speakers are from some of the biggest organizations in the world, from Cloudera to Google and AWS. There’s a load of names we could pick out, but one we’re most excited about is Varant Zanoyan from Airbnb who will be talking about Zipline, Airbnb’s new data management platform for machine learning.

Who’s it for? This is a conference for anyone serious about big data. There’s going to be a considerable amount of technical detail here, so you’ll probably want to be well acquainted with what’s happening in the big data world.

5ODSC Europe 2018, London

When and where? September 19-22, Novotel West, London, UK.

What is it? The Open Data Science Conference is very much all about the open source communities that are helping push data science, machine learning and AI forward. There’s certainly a business focus, but the event is as much about collaboration and ideas. They’re keen to stress how mixed the crowd is at the event. From data scientists to web developers, academics and business leaders, ODSC is all about inclusivity. It’s also got a clear practical bent. Everyone will want different things from the conference, but learning is key here.

Who is speaking? ODSC haven’t yet listed speakers on their website, simply stating on their website “our speakers include some of the core contributors to many open source tools, libraries, and languages”. This indicates the direction of the event – community driven, and all about the software behind it.

Who’s it for? More than any of the other machine learning conferences listed here, this is probably the one that really is for everyone. Yes, it might be a more technical than theoretical, but it’s designed to bring people into projects. Speakers want to get people excited, whether they’re an academic, app developer or CTO.

6MLConf SF, San Francisco

When and where? November 14 2018, Hotel Nikko, San Francisco, CA.

What is it? MLConf has a lot in common with ODSC. The focus is on community and inclusivity rather than being overtly corporate. However, it is very much geared towards cutting edge research from people working in industry and academia – this means it has a little more of a specialist angle than ODSC.

Who is speaking? At the time of writing, MLConf are on the look out for speakers. If you’re interested, submit an abstract – guidelines can be found here. However, the event does have Uber’s Senior Data Science Manager Franzisca Bell scheduled to speak, which is sure to be an interesting discussion on the organization’s current thinking and challenges with huge amounts of data at its disposal.

Who’s it for? This is an event for machine learning practitioners and students. Level of expertise isn’t strictly an issue – an inexperienced data analyst could get a lot from this. With some key figures from the tech industry there will certainly be something for those in leadership and managerial positions too.

7AI Expo, Santa Clara

When and where? November 28-29, 2018, Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA.

What is it? Santa Clara’s AI Expo is one of the biggest machine learning conferences. With four different streams, including AI technologies, AI and the consumer, AI in the enterprise, and Data analytics for AI and IoT, the event organizers are really trying to make their coverage pretty comprehensive.

Who is speaking? The event’s website boasts 75+ speakers. The most interesting include Elena Grewel, Airbnb’s Head of Data Science, Matt Carroll, who leads developer relations at Google Assistant, and LinkedIn’s Senior Director of Dara Science, Xin Fu.

Who is it for? With so much on offer this has wide appeal. From marketers to data analysts, there’s likely to be something on offer. However, with so much going on you do need to know what you want to get out of an event like this – so be clear on what AI means to you and what you want to learn.

Did we miss an important machine learning conference? Are you attending any of these this year? Let us know in the comments – we’d love to hear from you.

Co-editor of the Packt Hub. Interested in politics, tech culture, and how software and business are changing each other.


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