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Machine Learning India

Fostering data science and machine learning in India

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ML-India is pleased to announce that it has kicked off its Gurgaon chapter and the first meetup was held last Saturday (14 May) . The aim is to hold frequent meetups where machine learning enthusiasts can meet and discuss the latest in the field.

They had around 15 participants and started with some ice-breaking introductions about everyone’s job-experience and interests. There were people from a motley of interest-areas and range of experiences like banking, software development and budding entrepreneurs. In particular, a senior SDE, who showed up, wanted to learn and apply these concepts in his projects. One more guy, who recently graduated college, just wanted to explore Data Science. Another guy, who is an entrepreneur, wanted to apply this knowledge to solve the problem of education and health in India. A banking professional, working in the field for 7+ years, was looking forward to apply this knowledge to decide which stocks to buy/ sell.

After the ice-breaking session, they began with the introduction on machine learning pipeline and its fundamentals. This built the required momentum for everyone to get their hands dirty on the actual machine learning problem. They had a practical hands-on session on data interpretation and analysis followed by simple model building using Linear-Regression.

Some interesting high-level points of discussion were:

  1. We should look at data and try to identify outliers.
  2. There are different visualization tools out there like bar charts, scatter, box plots and quartile ranges to get a sense of your data.
  3. How should we handle sparse data?
  4. The basic machine learning pipeline to build a predictive model.

They stopped there, as per the plan, and decided to extend this to the next meetup to avoid overwhelming the participants. However, the participants were very keen on knowing more and wanted the session to continue. One of the participants said “What follows this is what we really want to learn. It would be great if you can give us an overview of the concepts on cross-val and decision trees”. Others acknowledged his views. They then maneuvered the participants through the concepts of test/train and the importance of cross-val for model selection/ hyperparameters-tuning on decision trees.

A mutual decision to conduct meetups once-a-fortnight was made. Multiple suggestions and ideas were floated for the agenda of next meetup. Some of them were:

  1. Hands-on model building exercises on kaggle data-sets and discussion on the problems faced and results.
  2. Discussion on papers involving real data science and applied machine learning problems.
  3. Discussion on particular interest areas of participants.
  4. Organizing more hand-on session on ipython/ machine learning.

The participation, response and feedback from the participants was very encouraging! The audience enjoyed the discussion. We’ll keep up with having such engaging meetups on ML, and having researchers and practitioners involved in ML to discuss their work and insights. Looking forward to future meetups. Spread the word to your friends from Delhi/NCR to enroll for the meetups.

Click here to join the group.

Earlier, we had also started the Banglore chapter which has conducted multiple interesting meetups. Read about them here.

If you wish to start a chapter of ML-India in your city, we would be more than happy to help you out and get it started. Write us a mail!