We Attended the First-Ever Applied AI Conference

Last week we attended the first ever Applied AI Conference at the Brewery, an elegant events venue in London. The conference gave attendees a choice between two tracks. The first track featured talks centering around AI and its applications, while the second track offered tutorials of databricks and Tensorflow.

The event began with breakfast which provided guests with the opportunity to speak to their fellow attendees and even some speakers. Breakfast was followed by keynote speaker Chris Benson. Benson is an employee of the prominent American company Lockheed Martin and works in their AI division. Benson discussed the digital transformation that is taking place across the globe and how this transformation is synonymous with the advances of artificial intelligence.

After the opening keynote attendees had their choice of tracks, four thirty-minute talks or an Azure databricks tutorial. Popping in and out of sessions was welcomed, although not advised. We at PolyChord chose the ‘talk track’ and were impressed by the enthusiasm and knowledge of all the speakers. The conference also managed to feature speakers from key high-tech companies such as IBM, Veritone, and Google.

An hour lunch break was given and attendees were given a stellar meal complete with sit-down service. The choice of tracks was offered again after lunch, four thirty-minute talks or a Tensorflow tutorial. PolyChord again chose the ‘talk track,’ where a variety of new subjects pertaining to AI were introduced. The talks covered everything from bias in AI to its use in the solar energy field.

The conference concluded with a talk from IBM Power Systems CTO, David Spurway. Spurway discussed IBM’s history of AI innovation and their OPEN Power Foundation. In addition to discussing how IBM has changed machine learning and the AI world, Spurway also discussed IBM’s partnership with Google to create Google POWER9 and how IBM is looking towards the future. Finally, attendees were then invited to a social gathering to meet and network with other delegates and speakers.

We would like to thank all speakers and organizers who put together a seamlessly run event and allowed us to attend a wonderful conference. We hope the Applied AI Conference will become a yearly-event and hope to attend again next year.

An Inside Look into a Food Supply Chain Workshop

Two weeks ago, PolyChord attended the UK Canada Food Supply Chain Collaboration Workshop delivered by Innovate UK and 100% Open in partnership with the High Commission of Canada. This two-day event was a great opportunity to introduce, initiate, and encourage technological collaboration within the food sectors. The workshop created an environment fostering the exchange of ideas and a wonderful team environment.

The three-minute presentations given by each attending member was an excellent way to show the diversity and qualifications of all attending the workshop. Attendees were then split up by table and asked to present a Post-It board of the key issues or challenges experienced within different sectors of the food supply chain industry. For example, problems of nutrition, quality, sustainability and regulation were all addressed.

The workshop took on a blue sky thinking approach, where innovation is encouraged and there are truly no wrong answers. Tables were then asked to brainstorm potential solutions or opportunities while utilising the specialized strengths of each attendee. PolyChord, therefore, demonstrated the use of artificial intelligence in solving food industry-relatedd problems. Tables then moved Post-Its from onto a roadmap marking the challenges and opportunities over a timeline of less than two years to greater than five years.   

The next day attendees placed themselves into their own teams of two and were asked to fill out a pitch template. The teams were asked to identify a major problem, how to solve the problem, draw out a business model, differentiate the innovation from competition, and then identify what is needed from the audience. Filling out this pitch template was a great way to develop a framework for Innovate UK and NRC joint funding competition entitled: UK and Canada: enhancing industrial productivity. This funding competition provides a phenomenal opportunity for innovative research and collaboration.

PolyChord was honoured to have the chance to meet key members and specialists of countless different food sectors, from farm production to consumer goods companies. We are particularly thankful to have met from those in the NRC, the STFC, University of Guelph, University of Portsmouth, Liquid Vision, and Unilever. We look forward to bettering our acquaintance and potential future collaboration. PolyChord would also like to thank Innovate UK for enabling us to attend this prestigious event, we are extremely grateful.