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IBM Haifa Machine Learning Seminar Draws Sellout Crowd

IBM Haifa Labs News Center

June 07, 2007

Top Israeli talent gathered at the IBM Haifa Research Lab for a full day of presentations on the latest innovations in the field of machine learning

June 3, 2007 Haifa, Israel - Close to two hundred of Israel's top experts in machine learning gathered together for a full day Leadership Seminar, held at the IBM Research Lab in Haifa. As in former years, the seminar was a huge success, with participants from the Israeli academia and industry, along with guests and speakers from abroad. The IBM Haifa auditorium was packed to capacity for the full day of presentations and on through a poster session-clearly demonstrating a very real need for this type of gathering and knowledge sharing.

"Israel is recognized worldwide as a center of competency for machine learning," noted Shai Fine, Manager of the Machine Learning and Constraint Satisfaction group at the IBM Haifa Research Lab and one of the seminar organizers, together with Prof. Yishay Mansour from the Tel-Aviv University. "This event is unique in that it brings together a mix of invited talks from industry and academia. It's both academic and of real application-giving a nice cross section of the intensive activity taking place in Israel."

Keynote speaker Robert Schapire from Princeton University presented a talk on Maximum Entropy and Species Distribution Modeling, which was undoubtedly one of the seminar highlights,. Schapire is one of the most important people in the field worldwide and has won a number of awards and prizes for his contributions. He expressed delight and surprise at the tremendous response and huge amount of people, and noted that this is 'a clear indication of the strength of the Israeli machine learning community.' Other high quality lectures included topics such as enhancing learning algorithms, support vector machine solvers, global learning with constraints, and more. Complete details of the program agenda are available on the IBM Haifa workshop web site.

This year the seminar was extended to include a poster session, organized by Elad Yom-Tov from the HRL's Machine Learning group and Prof. Naftli Tishby from the Hebrew University. The Poster session enabled students and researchers to present their work. This session also opened the floor to participants from industry, who had an opportunity to share knowledge of their work and innovation in this field. A diverse spectrum of topics were presented as seminar participants walked around enjoying ice cream refreshments while being revitalized by new advances in the field.
Many participants from Tel Aviv, Beer Sheva, and Jerusalem made their way to Haifa for the full day event. "Naturally, just getting the machine learning community together for some networking and collaboration is great fun," continued Shai. "People come to meet colleagues, get to know new people, and talk." There was plenty of time for networking during lunch and at strategic breaks throughout the day.

"The enthusiasm shown by participants to submit their work and present it at our seminar was outstanding," continued Shai. Just last year, a number of students approached IBM Haifa on their own initiative, asking to be accepted for summer internship. "The connections and relationships forged at the seminar are a great incentive for continued joint research and collaboration between academia and industry-which is really the ultimate way to advance great ideas in the field of machine learning."


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