Transylvanian Machine Learning Summer School, an initiative to enhance AI research in Eastern Europe

The first edition of the Transylvanian Machine Learning Summer School (TMLSS) will take place in Cluj-Napoca Romania, between 16 and 22 July 2018. The goal of the school is to enhance Artificial Intelligence (AI) research in Eastern Europe by bringing together practitioners from all over the world, to enable collaborations and raise awareness within the local ecosystem about the potential of AI.

AI has seen a rapid growth as a research field in the last years, but this growth has been localised mainly in a few centres in the US, Canada, and Western Europe. Given its high potential to impact our everyday lives, it is crucial that everybody has a say in the process. TMLSS is organised by researchers originating from or currently operating in Eastern Europe (Doina Precup, Luigi Malagò, Răzvan Florian, Razvan Pascanu, and Viorica Patraucean) and their unanimous goal is to put this region on the map of the top events related to AI research in the world. This first edition is organised in Cluj-Napoca — a city with a vibrant tech community and high quality research and education institutions — with the support of the Romanian Institute of Science and Technology (RIST) and of Babeş-Bolyai University, who are partners in organising the school.

This first edition brings together 19 speakers from Eastern Europe and from renowned research labs around the world: Wroclaw University, Politehnica Bucureşti, Technical University Cluj-Napoca, RIST, McGill University, New York University, Carnegie Mellon, UCLA, Google, DeepMind. About 100 participants were chosen based on a highly competitive selection phase from more than 800 applications, with around 56% from Eastern Europe, 36% from Western Europe, Canada, and the US, and 8% from the rest of the world. Additionally, about 30 participants will represent sponsoring companies.

Besides providing a high quality learning experience for the participants, TMLSS is committed to encourage diversity in the field. This year 30 countries are represented, with participants from as far as Brazil, Philippines, India, Iran. Roughly 60% of the selected participants come from Eastern Europe, with Romania, Poland, and Hungary being the top-3 represented countries. Western Europe, the US, and Canada are represented by 30% of the selected participants. Out of all the selected participants, 43% are female.

Last but not least, the goal of TMLSS is to make AI education accessible to everybody by promoting low registration fees and awarding scholarships. In this quest, it relies on the generosity and support of sponsors, donors and partners. This year, an impressive number of local and international companies joined the TMLSS team in their efforts: DeepMind and Siemens at Diamond level; Amazon, Everseen, Intel, and The Curious AI Company at Platinum level; Bitdefender, Bosch, certSIGN, Continental, facebook, General Intelligence, Rakuten, Google, and Tora at Gold level; Accesa and Catalysts at Silver level. Donations were made by the Artificial Intelligence Journal and a number of individuals.