I’ve stepped in to organize the Boulder Deep Learning meetup and get it off to a new start.
Welcome to old and new members! The relaunch will be focused on content that is:
- technical in focus
- for skill levels from intermediate to current practitioners
- community driven
- diverse and inclusive
Technical in Focus
Not every talk has to be about or include detailed code, but the expectation is that the meetup is for and by people who are doing machine learning. Practitioners in the arts are also welcome, with “technical” meaning STEAM rather than just STEM. Content should still be suitable for novice practioners, but there are a few other meetups in the area better suited to absolute beginners. That said, we will happily provide advice and assistance pointing beginners to resources before and after meetups and over Slack.
For Skill Levels from Intermediate to Current Practitioners
I am listing “Intermediate” as a very broad category, if you’re partway through a boot camp or have taken some Coursera or Udacity courses you’re good! This meetup and its activities should feel like a professional get-together or upper division/grad school seminar. We’re a group of practitioners speaking a specialized language about something we all know how to do to some degree.
That doesn’t mean you have to know everything! If you know why to split training vs. test data, have heard the word “overfitting” and sort of get what it means, and/or know the difference between RNNs and CNNs, and also know how to use code or a GUI to do something related to any of those topics, you’re good! The goal here is not to keep beginners out, but to help set expectations about what level at which content will be delivered.
The goal is to keep this meetup self-organized by the community. Selection of content and meetup focus will be driven by the technical interests and needs of group members, some of which are in industry, academia, and some of whom are still mostly on their own. That said, we will need and welcome sponsorship as appropriate for venues, catering, etc. as the meetup evolves, and will happily make announcements re: hiring and sponsor case studies given by different companies in the area.
Diverse and Inclusive
Diversity and inclusivity are primary goals for this meetup group. That means an active focus on including underrepresented groups in giving talks and organizing the meetup. This also means being an open space where academics, self-taught machine learners, and machine learners in industry can all get together and combine their knowhow and perspectives. As an ensemble of learners, we’re all much more effective the less correlated our perspectives are!
IMPORTANT: There will be zero tolerance for sexual or racial harrassment or discrimination.
Schedule and Starting Out
I’m looking to organize a basic meet and greet in the next month, pub or coffee shop (or we can stagger both to hit both crowds). If you’re interested in either presenting content or seeing a particular type of content presented, let me know! If you’re interested but might need some mentorship or assistance on speaking, or want feedback on draft materials, also shoot me an email and I’ll see if I can help or connect you with someone able to do so.
At the moment I’m scoping out a rotating schedule with at least one type of meetup every month:
- informal meet and greets (will try to hit both coffee shops and local pubs/taprooms for people more comfortable in either environment)
- technical presentations
- paper clubs (everyone reads and discusses a deep learning paper)
- hackathons and workshops
I’d love to see other things evolve organically: collaborations on Kaggle competitions, study groups for courses, further paper club discussions. Feel free to set things up over Slack or before/after meetups. If you do have collaborations that arise organically from the group, my one request is to stay as open to others as possible by communicating it publically via Slack and the meetup group, unless you have a good reason for keeping it private (NDA applies, etc.)
For our first technical talks and/or workshops we will need a venue, let me know if you work somewhere that could accomodate us or have any other ideas of where to meet.
Group Kaggle for Charity
Another possibility I’d like to throw out: I’d happily help organize a group for competing on Kaggle, given dataset(s) of interest for which deep learning is appropriate, with any possible winnings donated to charity. Open to hearing thoughts on this, the nonPareil institute is a donation option I’ll put out there.
Join us on Slack!
If you want to contribute, co-organize, or have other thoughts, reach out to me!