Eric Malmi

Eric Malmi · Thu, 24.09.2015


The 2015 edition of the European Conference on Machine Learning and Principles and Practice of Knowledge Discovery in Databases was hosted in Porto, Portugal. This was my first ECML PKDD conference and my trip was kindly sponsored by a stipend from HICT.

The keynote speaker lineup was impressive. The first keynote talk was given by Pedro Domingos from the University of Washington. I had recently read some of his other work but this time he talked about sum-product networks, which I wasn't familiar with. He showed how they outperform state-of-the art deep learning methods in some applications.

Another interesting keynote was given by Hang Li from Noah's Ark Lab, Huawei. He presented various deep learning methods they have developed for building intelligent computer assistants that can interact with humans. It was nice to find out that methods, very similar to what I have been developing for rap lyrics generation, are being actively studied in the industry as well.

Jure Leskovec from Stanford University presented an exciting keynote about their work on crime prediction, which could help judges make more informed and less biased decisions. His work was an example of how machine learning can be used for real-life problems with potentially a very big societal impact.

I presented two different papers at the conference myself. After working on these projects for a long time and discussing them only within our research group, it was very motivating to meet other people who are working on related problems and who were very interested to hear about what we had done. I think the best part of the trip was indeed meeting people from different places working on similar problems. I had many insightful discussions with them between the talks and even after the official program had ended. Finally, I can happily recommend visiting Porto even when they are not hosting any interesting conferences!