NeurIPS 2019 - What to expect from the world’s leading machine learning conference
Fanny Riols Fanny Riols
December 2 5 min

NeurIPS 2019 - What to expect from the world’s leading machine learning conference

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. December is here, and with it comes NeurIPS 2019, the biggest machine learning event worldwide in the calendar.

The thirty-third annual NeurIPS conference takes place here in Canada, from December 8th to 14th at the Vancouver Convention Center. AI researchers across the world are eager to see what this year’s Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems will bring.

We’ll fill you in on some of the events planned for NeurIPS 2019. But first, for anyone unfamiliar with the conference, let’s take a brief look at the story behind the conference.

From 1986 to today

The NeurIPS conference (previously called NIPS) is held by the Neural Information Processing Systems Foundation. It’s a non-profit corporation dedicated to bringing together AI researchers from around the world in the spirit of collaboration, learning, and progress.

The conference originated from the Meeting on Neural Networks for Computing, organized by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and Bell Labs. It was held in Snowbird, Utah, in 1986.

The following year, the first NeurIPS event was held in Denver, Colorado. In the decades since, NeurIPS has taken place in many locations including Long Beach, Granada, Lake Tahoe, and Barcelona. In 2018, the conference came to our very own home city of Montreal.

With several thousand registered participants and numbers growing every year, NeurIPS is among the world’s largest and most prominent AI conferences. Many of the biggest players in the industry and foremost minds in AI research have attended in previous years and NeurIPS 2019 will be no exception.

Element AI at NeurIPS 2019

Element AI is proud to be a sponsor of this year’s NeurIPS conference. We’re also pleased that our team will be bringing our insights and expertise to a number of events.

Our co-founder Yoshua Bengio, a deep learning pioneer and one of the brightest lights in AI research, is participating in several NeurIPS 2019 talks, panels and more. We’re excited to hear what he has to say, and we hope you are too.

If you’d like to see a list of all the NeurIPS 2019 events Yoshua is involved in, you can find that here. And we’ll reveal some of the highlights below.

Climate change and AI

Yoshua is taking part in the “Climate Change and AI” panel discussion at the NeurIPS 2019 workshop “Tackling Climate Change with Machine Learning”, happening from 11:15 to 12:00 on Saturday, December 14th at East Ballroom C.

The workshop is concerned with how ML can be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help society adapt to the effects of climate change, via applications of the technology such as tracking deforestation using satellite imagery or designing smart electrical grids that provide energy more efficiently.

You can see the entire schedule for the workshop, with registration information and details of all speakers and talks, right here.

AI for social good

Elsewhere at NeurIPS 2019, Yoshua is also opening the joint workshop on “AI for Social Good”, due to be held on the same day at East Meeting Rooms 11 and 12 from 8am onward.

The workshop covers the challenges associated with producing “good” intelligent systems in the face of accelerating intelligent system research and real-world deployment.

Three different tracks will be examined:

  • Producing good outcomes. Progressing toward a more equitable, prosperous, and sustainable world in the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • From malicious use to responsible AI. Providing guidance to mitigate unwanted but foreseeable negative effects of automated decision-making and avert potential malicious use of AI systems.
  • Public policy. Maximizing the social, economic, and cultural benefits of AI technology and minimizing potential problems caused by intelligent systems, such as algorithmic bias.

If you’d like to learn more, you can see full details of the workshop at the AI for Social Good website.

Inclusion & Diversity

The NeurIPS conference is working hard to improve diversity, equity and inclusion. They provide child care support, take into account dietary and religious restrictions (e.g. Jews in ML) and advocate for disabled people (cf {Dis}Abilities in AI). They are also helping to build multiple workshops such as the Women in Machine Learning, Black in AI, Latinx in AI and Queer in AI.

The NeurIPS Diversity & Inclusion chairs are taking concrete actions such as assembling an advisory board, renaming the conference NeurIPS previously called NIPS, revising their Code of Conduct, offering pronoun stickers, etc.

You can find the Diversity & Inclusion brochure and schedule online.

See you at NeurIPS 2019

For those who are attending, we hope you enjoy the conference as much as we will. We’ll be happy to discuss AI research, hear about your work, and talk about how we can work together to take machine learning forward in the future. And if you can’t make it this year, don’t worry: we will publish an article after the conference to highlight some of the interesting talks we attended.

To everyone following NeurIPS, from all of us at Element AI: have a great conference!