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The top AI and machine learning conferences to attend in 2020

There are many artificial intelligence conferences to choose from, but here's a look at 11 favorites.

While artificial intelligence may be powering Siri, Google searches, and the advance of self-driving cars, many people still have sci-fi-inspired notions of what AI actually looks like and how it will affect our lives.

AI-focused conferences give researchers and business executives a clear view of what is already working and what is coming down the road.

To bring AI researchers from academia and industry together to share their work, learn from one another, and inspire new ideas and collaborations, there are a plethora of AI-focused conferences around the world. However, it’s not all about researching new algorithms and how to better use big data. There’s a growing number of AI conferences geared toward business leaders who want to learn how to use artificial intelligence and related machine learning and deep learning to propel their companies beyond their competitors.

So, whether you’re a post-doc, a professor working on robotics, or a programmer for a major company, there are conferences out there to help you code better, network with other researchers, and show off your latest papers. And if you are a CEO or chief innovation officer looking to deploy smart bots to engage with your customers or use predictive algorithms to help customers find your products, there are events to help you do that, too.

Here is a list of 11 favorite conferences that run the gamut of what AI folks might be looking for, with recommendations from industry experts. Because there is no universal “best” conference, and these are highly specialized conference in many cases, there is no rating implied in the position in the listing.

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NeurIPS: Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems

Twitter: #NeurIPSConf


Dates and location: Dec 8-14, 2019, Vancouver

Cost: TBD

Submission deadline: May 23, 2020

Founded in 1987, the Conference and Workshop on Neural Information Processing Systems, formerly known as NIPS and now known as NeurIPS, is the big dog on the block when it comes to AI-focused conferences. Fueled by big data and increasingly fast computers, there is even more interest in this area in recent years, leading to major advances in speech and image recognition and language translation.

Bart Selman, a professor of computer science at Cornell University, says he appreciates NeurIPS because it’s “more focused on the theory and development of machine learning techniques themselves” than other AI conferences are.

Run by the nonprofit Neural Information Processing Systems Foundation, the annual conference is focused on machine learning and neuroscience, along with cognitive science, psychology, computer vision, statistical linguistics, and information theory.

“It’s probably the largest AI conference in the world,” says Sergey Serebryakov, a research engineer at Hewlett Packard Labs, where he works on deep learning and natural language processing. “They have very strong publications on new algorithms for various problem domains.”

The conference fosters the exchange of research, bringing together information from a range of fields, including computer science, biology, physics, and mathematics.

Yoshua Bengio, an A.M. Turing Award winner and one of the pillars of the advancement of deep learning, is on the NeurIPS advisory board.

AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

Twitter: @RealAAAI


Dates and location: Feb. 7-12, 2020, New York

Cost: Starts at $875; student program starts at $525

Submission deadline: Closed

The 34th Annual AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence is set up to promote research in AI and to fuel scientific exchange among researchers, practitioners, scientists, and engineers in all affiliated disciplines.

Set in the heart of New York, the conference is designed to have a diverse technical track, invited speakers, tutorials, workshops, and competition programs, all selected according to the top reviewing standards. AAAI-20 welcomes submissions on mainstream AI topics, as well as novel cross-cutting work in related areas.

AAAI-2020 will have a two-hour event featuring the 2018 Turing Award winners: Yoshua Bengio, a professor of computer science at the University of Montreal; Geoffrey E. Hinton, a distinguished professor emeritus at the University of Toronto, and Yann LeCun, a chief AI scientist for Facebook.

According to Cornell University professor Bart Selman, this, along with the International Joint Conferences on Artificial Intelligence, is one of the best general AI conferences, with a solid and long track record. “They cover almost all areas of AI, with high-quality research papers,” he says. “Also, their invited speakers cover many different areas and represent the very best of each subfield.”

AI World Congress 2020

Twitter: #AIWorldCongress


Dates and location: March 24-25, 2020, London

Cost: Starting at £495 (US$624)

Submission deadline: Closed

While some AI conferences get down into the nitty-gritty that developers and researchers love, this two-day international conference is the one for business executives and decision-makers across the entire AI and machine learning ecosystem. When executives need to figure out how to use AI to advance their companies, this is where they can get the inspiration they need.

AI World Congress is known for focusing on IoT and AI applications for verticals, including automotive, healthcare, business, technology, manufacturing, retail, banking, and robotics.

Sessions include Driving AI Adoption in the Workplace; How Conversational AI Can be Used for the Elderly; Should Your Next Boss be an AI/ML Bot?; and How AI Will Transform Your Business and Your Life in the 2020s.

Keynote speakers for the 2020 conference include executives from IBM, Oracle, Nationwide, Siemens and many more.

O’Reilly Artificial Intelligence Conference

Twitter: #TheAIConference and @OReillyAI


Dates and location: March 15-18, 2020, San Jose, California

Cost: Not yet available

Submission deadline: Closed

How do business executives learn how to best implement artificial intelligence in their companies? They learn by hearing about use cases from business pioneers in the AI field. Run by O'Reilly Media, this conference is geared to offer just that.

This conference is geared to help bring applied AI research into production so companies, governments, and other organizations can use it to stay ahead of their competitors. The conference site says attendees can expect to get “a deep understanding of new and emerging tools, an awareness of the potential risks (and the means to combat them), a detailed look at the use cases with the best ROI, and the opportunity for you—and your entire team—to ramp up the skills you need for enterprise-wide AI implementations.”

The conference is expected to attract engineers, data scientists, software engineers, chief investment officers, product managers, and business strategists.

NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference

Twitter: @nvidia


Dates and location: March 22-26, 2020, San Jose, California

Cost: $75 (one-day exhibit hall pass) to $2,550; extra cost for workshops

Submission deadline: Closed

NVIDIA’s GPU Technology Conference gives attendees pragmatic information on how (and why) to develop high-performance computing solutions, with sessions on artificial intelligence and deep learning, autonomous machines, and virtual reality. For example, in the past, you could attend Accelerate Your Speech Recognition Pipeline on the GPU, Accelerating Data Science Workflows with RAPIDS, or Applying AI to Customer Service. There’s plenty of practical information, whether your interests lie in geosciences, medical image processing, virtual reality and augmented reality, or any other area that needs superfast computation.

In addition to an exhibit hall and hands-on full-day workshops (at an extra cost), there’s the daylong Women’s Early Career Accelerator, designed for women getting started in AI and deep learning. Given Nvidia’s position in the AI business, this conference has perhaps a more hardware-centric view of AI than most.

International Conference on Learning Representations

Twitter: @ICLR


Dates and location: April 26-30, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Cost: Not yet available

Submission deadline: Closed

Launched in 2013, the International Conference on Learning Representations, or ICLR, is a machine learning conference held every spring. This is a serious conference. It’s widely known as the top conference for researchers focused on representation learning, which basically is what people mean when they refer to deep learning.

One researcher notes that his machine learning research wouldn’t go anywhere without learning representation. It’s how a system can translate sets of training images so it can learn to tell the difference between a fish and a child swimming.

Drawing researchers from academia and industry, entrepreneurs, engineers, and graduate students, the conference is focused on cutting-edge research on all aspects of deep learning used in the fields of artificial intelligence, statistics, and data science, as well as important application areas such as machine vision, computational biology, speech recognition, text understanding, gaming, and robotics.

Out of 1,591 paper submissions for the 2019 conference, 24 were invited to make oral presentations of their work.

The AI Summit

Twitter: #AISummit


Dates and locations: June 10-11, 2020, London

Cost: Not yet available; 2019 full conference pass was $1,999

Whether you’re attending the AI Summit in Silicon Valley, Singapore, Cape Town, Hong Kong, London, or New York, this is a global conference series geared to help business leaders figure out how to best use artificial intelligence to engage with their customers and transform their business into a better-operated endeavor.

While many AI conferences are aimed at researchers in industry and academia, AI Business launched these international conferences in 2015 to explore what AI practically means for enterprises. To better focus on the business world, they have partnered with the likes of IBM Watson, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Intel. The conference bills itself as the place where attendees have the opportunity to learn from companies that have already adopted AI applications, as well as hear from the businesses that are advancing the technology.

Sessions include Ethical AI, Building Stronger Customer Relationships with AI, and Building a Data Team of Talent.

International Conference on Machine Learning

Twitter: @icmlconf


Dates and location: July 12-18, 2020, Vienna

Cost: Not yet available

Submission deadline: Opens Jan. 7 and closes Feb. 7

As its name makes clear, this 37th annual conference is all about machine learning. It’s geared to look at all aspects of the field, such as artificial intelligence, statistics, and data science, as well as important application areas such as machine vision, computational biology, speech recognition, and robotics.

“I think this is one of the top conferences for researchers working on machine learning,” says Sergey Serebryakov, a research engineer at Hewlett Packard Labs. “They cover a broad range of topics and have a nice mix of theory and practice.”

Stefano Ermon, an assistant professor of computer science at Stanford University and a founder of Atlas AI, called ICML a “top academic conference for machine learning research.”

ICMLA: International Conference on Machine Learning and Applications

Twitter: #ICMLA


Dates and location: Dec. 14-17, 2020, Miami

Cost: Not yet available

Submission deadline: July 3

A bit confused about ICML and ICMLA? Don’t worry. You’re very likely not the only one.

These are, however, two different conferences.

Much like the similarly named International Conference on Machine Learning, the International Conference on Machine Learning and Applications, ICMLA 2020, is designed to bring together academic and industry researchers. However, ICMLA is less about theory and far more geared to those who have a specific focus on machine learning applications.

The conference is designed to shine a spotlight on international research in machine learning and deep learning with an emphasis on related applications, algorithms, and systems. The 2020 conference will take a special look at the growth of big data and how that will feed machine learning and bolster its applications.

Conference organizers are looking for contributions describing machine learning and deep learning techniques applied to real-world problems and interdisciplinary research involving machine learning, in fields like medicine, biology, industry, manufacturing, security, education, virtual environments, and games.

IJCAI: International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence

Twitter: #IJCAI


Dates and location: July 11-17, 2020, Yokohama, Japan

Cost: Not yet available

Submission deadline: Jan. 21

Interested in artificial intelligence and in seeing the 2020 Summer Olympic Games? If you are, this might be the ideal conference for you.

The International Joint Conferences on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) and the 17th Pacific Rim International Conference on Artificial Intelligence are being held in Yokohama, Japan, this summer. The conferences end a week before the Olympic Games fire up in Tokyo on July 24. With just a 30-minute train ride between the two cities, conference goers also could take in Japanese sites and culture, while also seeing some of the best athletes in the world.

The IJCAI is known for being one of the leading AI-focused conferences in the world. With previous sessions ranging from Artificial Intelligence for Business Security, AI for the Internet of Things, and The Human Brain and Artificial Intelligence, speakers have delivered talks such as “Doing for Our Robots What Evolution Did for Us” and “Reasoning About the Behavior of AI Systems.”

Stanford Univerisity professor Stefano Ermon called this conference one of the “top academic conferences for general AI research, where you get to see a little bit of every subfield of AI”

This, along with the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, is one of the top AI conferences, according to Cornell professor Bart Selman. “In the tutorials, different topics are covered in great depths, allowing students and researchers to quickly catch up on an area,” he says, pointing out the conference’s long track record. “Participating companies provide an opportunity to connect researchers with AI practitioners and commercial applications of AI.”

IROS 2020: International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems

Twitter: #IROS


Dates and location: Oct. 25-29, 2020, Las Vegas

Cost: Not yet available

Submission deadline: March 21

Run by the IEEE, the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) is widely considered to be one of the largest and most impactful international conferences focusing on robotics research. When it comes to smart robots, this is the flagship event.

The 32-year-old annual conference is set up to enable the global robotics research community to connect and share their work in advancing smart machines and robots. The 2020 conference theme is “Consumer Robots and Our Future.” To name just a few research areas, conference administrators are looking for people to present their research into autonomous land, sea, and air vehicles; robot perception; manipulation and grasping; micro/nano systems; and distributed and cloud robotics.

Taskin Padir, associate professor of robotics engineering in the College of Engineering at Northeastern University, called IROS one of his favorite conferences because of its strong focus on both robotics and AI. As a co-founder of the Robotics Collaborative at Northeastern, this kind of conference focus is exactly what he and his students need.

In addition to technical sessions and multimedia presentations, IROS conferences hold panel discussions, forums, workshops, tutorials, exhibits, and technical tours to enrich the fruitful discussions among conference attendees.

Did we miss any conferences or events?

We worked hard to bring you the best conferences and events on artificial intelligence and machine learning, but if we missed a conference or event you find useful for any reason, please share that info with us on Twitter at @enterprisenxt.

This article/content was written by the individual writer identified and does not necessarily reflect the view of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company.