AI Singapore’s AI Technology Summer School (AITSS) 2021 introduced a refreshing lineup of guest speakers and experts from the academia and industry, coupled with exciting competitions and workshops to participate in. Taking place from 2 to 6 August, more than 140 participants from 20 countries gathered virtually to explore the latest AI innovations, applications, and real-world use cases of AI in domains such as fake media, healthcare, e-commerce, social good etc.
Fake Media and Healthcare
This year’s spotlight was on AI in Fake Media and Healthcare – two major areas where AI applications are crucial in tackling increasingly complex challenges.
On Fake Media, A/Prof Chen Change Loy (NTU), A/Prof Terrence Sim (NUS) and A/Prof Liu Ziwei (NTU) delivered lectures on the current state of the art of AI in manipulated media, existing techniques, and future directions in detecting them. Participants were also introduced to the Trusted Media Challenge, AI Singapore’s inaugural prize-based challenge, to learn how we are encouraging AI innovation from the broader community to combat fake media in partnership with CNA and Straits Times.
On Healthcare, participants had the opportunity to engage leading experts such as Dr Pavitra (A*STAR), Assistant Professor Feng Mengling (NUS) and Dr Fu Zhiyan (IHiS) on best practices for translating healthcare data into clinical value, practical considerations and case studies, as well as understand how AI techniques such as Natural Language Processing, Deep Learning and Transfer Learning were applied in a real-world hospital environment.
Inspiring keynote talks from internationally renowned speakers
AI Singapore was honored to welcome three distinguished keynote speakers this year.
AITSS kicked off with an inspiring keynote speech by Professor Milind Tambe from Harvard University on the topic of “AI for Social Impact: Results from Deployments in Public Health and Conservation”. Professor Tambe, who is also the Director for “AI for Social Good” at Google Research India, shared his results of using AI to spread health information effectively and efficiently among vulnerable groups, as well as using AI to predict the placement of illegal traps in wildlife sanctuaries for intervention.
The second keynote speech on “Imitation Learning from One-life Demonstration” was delivered by Professor Ivor Tsang from the University of Technology, Sydney. Professor Tsang is also the Research Director of the Australian Artificial Intelligence Institute (AAII), the largest AI institute in Australia and a world-leading research institute with a vision to develop theoretical foundations and advanced algorithms for AI, and drive progress in related areas such as computational intelligence, machine learning and brain computer interface. Participants deep dived into state-of-the-art techniques in Reinforcement Learning, where current limitations and promising future research areas are.
Returning for this year’s Summer School was Dr Tok Wee Hyong, Principal Data Science Manager at Microsoft, who delivered a captivating talk on “Humans and AI – How we can use AI in Everyday Things”. Dr Tok shared perspectives on the pace of AI innovation and how the international community is leveraging AI to create innovative products and changing the world. Dr Tok, who holds a PhD in Computer Science from the National University of Singapore, has co-authored more than 10 books on product and artificial intelligence including: “Practical Automated Machine Learning”, “Deep Learning on Azure”, and “Predictive Analytics Using Azure Machine Learning” and more.
Hands-on Activities for AI practitioners of all skill levels
Practical experience has always been the cornerstone of the AITSS. With learning being done on a virtual environment, hands-on and interactive activities were emphasised and prioritised for this year’s Summer School to better engage and benefit participants.
A popular activity this year was the “AI for Stock Forecasting Bootcamp”, held in partnership with ai4impact, a global AI community for non-programmers initiated by Terra AI. 100 participants were taught the fundamentals of Deep Learning and collaborated in groups of 5 to create AI models that aimed to predict real-world stock prices. Teams competed against each other until the early hours of the morning during Trading Day, where they put their models to the test on the live trading for 2U, Inc (Ticker: TWOU). During the final day of the AITSS, the top 4 teams were invited to present their model development process and trading strategies used to a panel of judges from AI Singapore, Terra AI and DBS! Awards were presented to the winning team SG Tigers, comprising Matthew Lau, Raymond Harris, Gerald Heng, Partha Pratim Kundu and Gaius Ting – Congratulations!
AITSS also had the opportunity to host 3 other workshops by Assistant Professor Donny Cheng (SIT), Dr Nathaniel Ng (AWS) and Dr Dmitry Soshnikov (Microsoft) that gave participants first-hand experience at various aspects of the AI/ML development workflow, as well as knowledge of the various commercial tools available to them such as Apache Spark, Amazon SageMaker, and Microsoft Azure. As the participants were mainly post-graduate students, academic researchers, or industry practitioners, many have commented that these technical workshops were very practical, providing them with valuable hands-on experience.
New learning platform for students
Zoom, GitHub, Google Colab, Slack… so many different links, where should I go for the next activity? These were some of the feedback we received last year when COVID derailed our plans to host an in-person Summer School and had to be pivoted to a virtual learning environment. To overcome these challenges this year, the AI Singapore team integrated these micro-services into a new online AITSS learning platform, making learning seamless and enjoyable for participants!
While many of us still yearn for the day where we can host a physical Summer School to better facilitate collaboration, networking and learning, we are truly grateful for the support by AWS, SGInnovate, ai4impact, SEA AI Lab, Microsoft, AISG’s staff and most importantly, the participants, in making AITSS 2021 a resounding success!