Last week, I went to the Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) for the first time. That was a very nice experience due to the incredibly density of people whose names I know from research papers. In fact, it was too much to take so I had to pick things that sounded interesting – still loads.
The main three buzzwords of the conference for me were: Deep Learning (even Mark Zuckerberg is interested in that these days), Mini-batch, and stochastic gradient descent (aka on-line whatever).
One very interesting workshop I attended on Tuesday was on Machine Learning Open-Source Software (MLOSS), organised by Cheng Soon Ong (who could not be there unfortunately) and Antti Honkela. I presented a short spotlight for Shogun (slide) and had a one hour demo, showing off with our cool IPython notebooks (link) and the cloud Shogun server (link). I got some very encouraging feedback for this, including from Fernando Perez.
I also met a few nice fellow open-source ML coders from scikit-learn.
During the workshop, there was a quite lively discussion about licensing issues, in particular whether to choose GPL or BSD. The python universe for example seems to gain a lot from being BSD-style licensed.
Finally, NIPS is was held close to Lake Tahoe, which is surrounded by incredibly beautiful mountains to hike in. One evening, I met the guy who left those traces … very exciting, slightly scary…