AI Synergies Conference: 300 Academics and Business People at the Largest Benelux Academic AI Conference

This year the AI Synergies Conference has attracted an unprecedented number of attendees from both the academia and the industry. The Artificial Intelligence Lab Brussels in conjunction with the ULB Machine Learning Group organized the summit with the purpose of bringing together experts from different sectors. AI Synergies combined a B2B conference with two academic conferences, BNAIC and Benelearn. 

The conference kicked off on the 6th of November with a day dedicated to solutions and services available in the market. The day ended with a conversation between Luc Tuymans, Luc Steels and an intervention by Mark Tuters about Memes, Paintings, and AI at Bozar. The next day focused on cross-pollination between business and research. The third day of the conference gave center stage to the academic research community, with plenty of expositions and networking opportunities. 

To AI Lab’s delight, the demo ‘A Motorized Wheelchair that Learns to Make its Way through a Crowd’ has been awarded with the title of ‘Best Demo’ during the awards.  This demo shows how Reinforcement Learning can be applied on physical objects, in this case a self-driving wheelchair. The innovative aspect of this demo is the algorithm. Conventional Reinforcement Learning algorithms require many interactions with the environment before learning anything meaningful. In this demonstration, the wheelchair learns the complicated task of avoiding obstacles in only two hours. The project has been developed by Héléne Plisnier and Denis Steckelmacher who are currently completing their PhDs at the AI Lab. Their work has been supervised by Ann Nowé, the current director of the AI Lab.

We hope to see you at next years’ BNAIC/ Benelearn conference,  organized by the University of Leiden, Netherlands , November 2020.