A Meetup Which Was Much More Than The Usual…

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“How was the month of March for you?” In the second week of it, I was at Microsoft office to attend Data Platform Day, a full day event organised by DataPlatformGeeks. There were more than 200 people who attended it and it had some good sessions. The week before that I was at Uber Tech Talk which took us into the details of how Uber works and leverages Machine Learning and Analytics. In the last week of March, I attended Cloud Community program and also Women Techmakers Summit, both events organised by Google. Continuing the same in April, I attended an other meetup yesterday. This one was organised by Machine Learning and AI Foundation. If you read the title of this story, then you must be wondering how this one was different. Hold on, you will get to know it soon.

This meetup has been happening in Bangalore for quite some time. This is the first time I attended it and it went on for more than 4 hours. It was totally packed and there were people who were standing throughout the session. It started with an introduction to neural networks, how the idea was inspired by biological neurons. For the next 4 hours, so much was taught and explained. Every meetup has something to offer, learn and interact with a community of people. But some meetups stand out from the rest in the way the sessions are presented. This one not only had great content explained by the trainers who had answers for every question/doubt but it was also backed up with great illustrations that made understanding the concepts easy.

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Visualisations like above were regularly used throughout the session. How is image processing,done by a human eye different from that of an Artificial Neural Network, what are receptive fields and how they can be used to determine the number of layers in a neural network,how does polling help in reducing complexity of the network, how exactly does convolution happen for an input image with more than one channel, how to take a pre-trained model and use it to work on data/classes that it was not trained on(to achieve Zero-Shot Learning) and finally what is t-SNE and how it helps in dimensionality reduction? These are some of the main things that were discussed. As I already said, all of these were explained using 3D illustrations which were created using Blender 3D. Though I have been reading about neural networks and deep learning, the examples used in the session helped me understand a lot of things better and clear. So now you must be knowing why I said this meetup was much more than the usual. But this is not it.

They have recently launched their own website where they have posted a lot of information — ML explanations, tutorials, code, examples etc. I started going through the content and I find them really good and helpful. All of this and the meetup sessions totally for free. Did I just say free? Well, not really. There is one thing they take charge for all of this. Twenty five photos of number plates — that’s how we pay them. Still a generous fee, isn’t it? Below is the link to their website :

So now I believe you totally agree with me on why I say this meetup is really good. What if I tell you there is one more thing about it? Something which is bigger than all of the things that I shared so far? A summer internship! Yeah, they are doing that too. Can you guess the number of interns they are taking? Maybe a twenty? Not even close. If you are thinking to double that number, even that is not anywhere close. It’s close to 600. Now tell me this meetup is not what I said it is!

Most of the people who enrolled for this internship are working professionals.

It’s wonderful how the availability of education and knowledge has changed so much in the past few years. Technology surely made a big difference. It has made learning and education available and accessible for people more than ever before. Thanks to technology. But a bigger thanks should go to people who openly share their knowledge and help people around them, by building communities that can strive and grow together.

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