The AI & ML field is growing at a very fast rate, and as a research scientist or ML engineer, you definitely want to keep track of the latest research advances, especially in your area of interest. To stay aware of the most important research breakthroughs, you can follow our regular research summaries across the main ML research fields.
For connecting with other researchers and practitioners in your subject area, you will want to attend at least a few technical AI conferences during the year. For your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of the key AI & ML research conferences held in 2020.
Which academic AI conferences are worth your attention?
Location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Event Dates: April 26–30, 2020
Paper Submission Deadline: September 25, 2019
Following the name, the focus of this conference is on deep learning as this is currently the best solution to learning high-level features, or representations, of data. Here you can meet participants with different backgrounds, from academy and industry, who present cutting-edge research on all aspects of deep learning. The areas may include natural language processing and understanding, speech recognition, computer vision, computational biology, robotics, and gaming.
For example, during last year’s conference, Ian Goodfellow spoke on the latest research advances in adversarial machine learning. Also, two research papers received the best paper award, one of them introducing the Lottery Ticket hypothesis and another one explaining how tree structure can be integrated into the recurrent neural networks.
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Event Dates: June 14–19, 2020
Paper Submission Deadline: November 15, 2019
CVPR is the premier event featuring computer vision research. The topics covered at this conference include image and video recognition and generation, 3D reconstruction, vision navigation, autonomous driving, medical computer vision and many more. The event is co-located with numerous exciting workshops where academic and industry researchers discuss various CV applications together.
In 2019, the best paper award at this conference was given to a remarkable work on the theory of Fermat paths for non-line-of-sight shape reconstruction. Two other papers received honorable mentions: one on the style-based generator architecture for GANs from the NVIDIA research team and a paper on learning the depth of moving people from Google Research.
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Event dates: July 5–10, 2020
Paper Submission Deadline: December 9, 2019
ACL is the key conference in the area of computational linguistics and natural language processing (NLP). The event gathers top researchers from academia, tech giants, and startups that demonstrate their achievements in language modeling, dialogue systems, sentiment analysis, question answering, linguistic theories, machine translation, and other exciting research areas.
We summarized the top NLP research trends from ACL last year, For example, Liang Huang from Baidu talked about recent breakthroughs in simultaneous machine translation, and Pascale Fung from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology lectured on incorporating empathy into dialogue systems.
Location: Vienna, Austria
Event Dates: July 12–18, 2020
Paper Submission Deadline: February 6, 2020
ICML has a general machine learning focus. The topics discussed at ICML include computer vision, generative adversarial networks, natural language processing, computational biology, robotics, time series, Bayesian methods, and many more. Also, traditionally, research on reinforcement learning is very well represented at this conference.
At ICML 2019, Aude Billard gave a great talk on how machine learning helps robots think fast. Two papers received the best paper award: one from Google AI, where the authors investigated unsupervised learning of disentangled representations, and another one discussing the sparse variational Gaussian process.
Location: San Diego, CA, USA
Event Dates: August 22–27, 2020
Paper Submission Deadline: February 13, 2020
KDD is a huge conference with dozens of tutorials, invited talks, and workshops. It can be considered a more practical one as it focuses a little bit more on AI & ML applications and less on basic methodology. In fact, the conference has separate Research and Applied Data Science tracks.
If you are more interested in the latest research breakthroughs, you can attend sessions on neural networks, analyzing sequential and temporal data, different algorithmic techniques, privacy and policy learning, interpretability, and others.
For those interested in AI & ML applications, the conference covers such topics as AutoML, real-time and online applications, scalability, urbanism and mobility, environment and sustainability, e-commerce, advertising, and many more.
During last year’s conference, participants could attend two exciting keynote talks: one by Peter Lee from Microsoft on effectiveness and difficulty of data in healthcare and another one by Cynthia Rudin from Duke University on finding and using simpler-but-accurate models.
Location: Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Event Dates: August 23–28, 2020
Paper Submission Deadline: March 5, 2020
ECCV is a top European conference in image and video analysis. The conference presents hundreds of high-quality research papers on different aspects of computer vision, including computational photography, video analysis, human pose estimation and motion prediction, image recognition, and others.
The conference takes place on even years and was previously held in Amsterdam (2016) and Munich (2018). During the last conference in 2018, the award committee recognized the research from the German Aerospace Center on implicit 3D orientation learning for 6D object detection as the best paper. The famous Group Normalization paper received an honorable mention at this conference together with the exciting GANimation paper.
Location: Las Vegas, NV, USA
Event Dates: October 25–29, 2020
Paper Submission Deadline: March 1, 2020
IROS is a great conference for those interested in robotics and implementation of intelligent systems. The event is more oriented towards practical applications but this doesn’t limit the variety of topics discussed at IROS.
Here you get the opportunity to learn about the cutting-edge AI applications in medicine, aerial systems and robotics, space robotics, robot safety, micro- and nanorobots, various machine vision applications and many more.
The conference also hosts a number of really exciting keynotes. For example, during last year’s keynote sessions, the attendees could hear about snake robots exploring the oceans, humanoids, and robots with physical intelligence.
Location: Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Event Dates: November 8–12, 2020
Paper Submission Deadline: May 11, 2020
Like ACL, EMNLP is yet another huge conference in natural language processing. The topics discussed at this event include, but are not limited to, dialogue systems, text generation, machine translation, semantics, syntax, sentiment analysis, linguistic theories, phonology, morphology, and word segmentation.
The conference also includes great keynote sessions. Thus, last year, Meeyoung Cha from KAIST talked about structural, temporal, and linguistic traits of fake news, while Noam Slonim from IBM suggested a discussion on the capabilities of AI systems in debating with a human opponent.
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Event Dates: December 6–12, 2020
Paper Submission Deadline: May 12, 2020
NeurIPS is by far the biggest conference in the area of AI and machine learning. Because of its popularity, it is not a trivial task to get access to this conference unless your research paper is accepted for presentation. After tickets for NeurIPS 2018 were sold out in less than 12 minutes, the organizers arranged a randomized lottery for those wanting to attend NeurIPS 2019.
Compared to other AI & ML conferences, NeurIPS is more focused on theory and methodology. Still, AI applications are also presented and discussed at this event. In fact, subject areas are very varied and include, among others, probabilistic methods, supervised and unsupervised learning, reinforcement learning, adversarial networks, generative models, neuroscience and cognitive science, social aspects of AI, and discussion of various ML applications.
In our guide to NeurIPS 2019, we discussed the most interesting papers, workshops, and invited talks presented last year. However, the prominent talk by Yoshua Bengio on applying the System 1 vs. System 2 concept to deep learning is definitely worth a separate mention here.
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Event Dates: February 2–9, 2021
If you’re searching for an AI conference that is a little less theoretical and more focused on AI applications, AAAI can be a good choice. This conference takes place at the beginning of the year and AAAI 2020 has already passed, so we suggest you attend the 35th AAAI conference in Canada next year.
The scope of this event includes all subareas of AI and machine learning, with broad coverage of traditional topics like NLP, robotics, statistical learning, and deep learning techniques. However, the organizing committee expressly encourages work on applications of AI techniques in important domains, such as healthcare, transportation, sustainability, and commerce.
AAAI 2020 was distinguished by a special event featuring the 2018 Turing Award Winners, where Yoshua Bengio, Geoffrey Hinton, and Yann LeCun gave individual talks followed by an exciting panel discussion.
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