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The Grace Hopper Celebration is the world’s largest technical conference for women in computing. The Grace Hopper Celebration, named after the computer scientist Grace Hopper, is organized by the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology and the Association for Computing Machinery. It is designed to bring together women to discuss research and career interests in the field of Computer Science. The conference includes presentations on a variety of topics, professional development activities, an open source day and much more. It also offers ample opportunities for professional networking, given the large number of attendees from various technological fields.

Grace Hopper Celebration India organised this conference in Bangalore from 7th-9th December, 2016. The talks organised during the three-day conference focused on the real world applications of various theoretical concepts. One such talk session, relevant to the field of Machine Learning, was Deep Learning for Real Business Applications. The session had senior engineers from Cisco, IBM, and Visa on its panel. Ms. Hima Patel, Analytics Manager at Visa, started the discussion with a brief introduction of neural network architectures. She laid the foundation of the talk by explaining how a single neuron functions. Mr. Srikanth Narasimhan, an IT Engineer from Cisco, continued the discussion and explained how a network of such neurons can be used to draw amazing context aware inferences!

He discussed how network based algorithms are helping companies in building products based around the user’s daily activities. Taking examples of the Netflix Movie Recommender system, and Cisco’s internal context-aware networking, he conveyed the significance of these networks in product building. The talk was concluded by Mr. Nanda Kambhatla, Leader Cognitive Solutions, Global Business Services, Asia Pacific (IBM). He talked about the importance of deep learning and how it is changing machine’s interaction with humans. He also talked about the hybrid models that combine recurrent neural networks and convolutional neural networks for question answering and image understanding at IBM.

Being one of the largest computing conferences in India, the Grace Hopper Celebration definitely highlighted many innovative ideas that are coming up in the industry today. It emphasised not only on the latest research happening in India but also on its applications to build usable products. The students who attended this conference were motivated to implement unique programs such as computing mentorships. The conference gave a good insight into the current trends in the industry.

A big shout out to Soumya Sharma (final year student at IIIT-D, and a recepient of the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship 2016) for attending the conference and reporting the details of the events on behalf of ML-India.