Early 2012 has seen the birth of two very interesting data related meetup series in London. The first one (chronologically) is the London Machine Learning Meetup that brings together academic faculty, graduate students and machine learning practitioners from industry. RangeSpan hosted the first meetup with some 30 participants. By now the community has grown to about 150 people, and around 80 people have turned up on the second event organised by PeerIndex. Each week we plan to host one talk reporting academic research, and another one reporting an interesting machine learning project from industry. Last week, we contributed the industry talk about machine learning at PeerIndex, see slides below:
The other new meetup, Data Science London kicked off with an inaugural meetup themed “So What Is Data Science?”. The community has very quickly grown to make this one of the three largest data science meetups on Earth (according to the organisers). In the first meetup we had 6 speakers, among them people from DataSift, Forward, PeerIndex (see our short slides below). Building on this momentum, in April, Londoners are going to organise the London Data Science Week complete with a data hackathlon.
The growing number of communities, activities and meetups in London reminded us what a wonderful place the city is for machine learning and data science. Not only does London have a host of startups and data-driven companies that apply data science in various domains (for example Last.fm, Mendeley, RangeSpan, Forward and of course PeerIndex), it also is home to a world-class academic machine learning community. UCL has an impressive list of machine learning and computational statistics celebrities including John-Shawe Taylor, Yee-Whye Teh, David Barber or Mark Girolami to name only a few, who teach amazing courses. Then there’s Imperial College with a strong tradition in computer science. Royal Holloway’s Computer Learning Research Centre boasts names like Vapnik and Chervonenkis, fathers of learning theory. And if this would not be enough, Cambridge and Oxford are only an hour train ride away. In addition to its illustrous faculty (Zoubin Ghahramani, Carl Rasmussen, David MacKay), Cambridge is also home to Microsoft Research’s machine learning and computer vision research labs, where among others infer.NET and the Xbox kinect are being developed. London, and UK in general, is on its way to emerge as a leading centre for machine learning, and we are very lucky to have our headquarters here.