Sunday, February 27, 2011

AI-MAS Winter Olympics

On last Sunday I went to the second day of AI-MAS Winter Olympics conference that took place at the Polytechnic University of Bucharest. The main event on this day was a presentation of the machine learning algorithm that it used for implementing Priority Inbox feature in GMail. They basically use a neural network standard algorithm, but the challenge is keeping a separate model (which might have additional user specific features which are instantiated dynamically from some templates) for each particular user and training it as you also manually sort your email. The other issue is of course scalability and processing in real time of data (for example the algorithm takes into account even the time spent reading a particular message to determine if the user really read it, or just opened it to be marked as read). Apart from the presentations there were on display projects done by students. The one I liked most was the Swim Green project done by a team from Babes-Bolyai University. It was a boat-robot which could navigate based on visual input and also pick-up plastic pieces floating on the water. The goal was to propose an automatic clean-up mechanism that could be used on lakes for example. Overall it was a very nice experience and of course I'm glad these kind of things start happening in Romanian universities.
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