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Speakers

Opening Ceremony

Preslav Nakov

Preslav Nakov

Professor and Department Chair for NLP, MBZUAI

Keynote speaker: Preslav Nakov

Speaker bio: Preslav Nakov is Professor and Department Chair for Natural Language Processing at MBZUAI, the world’s first AI university. He received his PhD degree in Computer Science (AI major) from the University of California at Berkeley. He is a world-leading researcher in fake news and factuality, and part of the core team that developed Jais, the world’s best open-source Arabic-centric large language model.

What to expect: In his keynote, Preslav will share his own AI journey: from competitive programmer to author of the favorite textbooks on algorithms in Bulgaria, to PhD in Computer Science with an AI major at UC Berkeley, and Professor at MBZUAI, the world’s first specialized AI university. He will share advice for young people passionate about programming and AI and will share insights from the main research problems he works on: fake news, factuality, and large language models, especially within the broader LLM research at MBZUAI.

Awards Ceremony

Timur Sitdikov

Timur Sitdikov

Software engineer, Google DeepMind

Keynote speaker: Timur Sitdikov

Speaker bio: Timur Sitdikov, an ICPC World Finals 2014 participant with 14 years of competitive programming experience, is currently a software engineer at Google DeepMind. He applies his expertise in algorithms and data structures to solve challenging AI problems.

What to expect: In his keynote, Timur will cover his own path from the high echelons of competitive programming to Google Deepmind and will do a deep dive into some of the problems he is currently working on. He will show how computer science problems play a pivotal role in engineering and serving AI models and outline some of the key ways Google Deepmind has used AI to improve algorithmics and engineering — AlphaCode 2, FunSearch, AlphaGeometry to name a few.

Conference

Ruslan Mitkov

Ruslan Mitkov

Professor in Computing and Communications at Lancaster University, UK

Debate 1: The evolution NLP: What does the future hold?

Speaker bio: Prof Dr Ruslan Mitkov is a Professor in Computing and Communications at Lancaster University, one of the top-10 UK universities. He has been working in NLP, Computational linguistics, and related areas since the early 1980s and is best known for his seminal contributions to key areas such as anaphora resolution. He has authored more than 320 publications including 15 books, 35 journal articles and 35 book chapters.

What to expect: In this entertaining talk, Ruslan will the sketch the history of Natural Language Processing and Machine Translation and will review latest advances powered by Deep Learning and Large Language Models. He will share his original research which compares LLMs, Deep Learning and rule-based approaches for selected NLP tasks and applications. These studies will serve as platform for a follow-up discission on the future of Natural Language Processing. The speaker will emphasise that he is not a clairvoyant but on the basis of his experience in the field he will attempt to predict the likely future of artificial intelligence as compared to human intelligence taking language as a testbed.

Ivo Emanuilov

Ivo Emanuilov

Founder of I/O Legal
Katerina Yordanova

Katerina Yordanova

Researcher at imec and KU Leuven

Debate 2: Is ethical AI even a thing?

Speaker bios: Ivo Emanuilov is a legal practitioner and information technology expert with over 10 years of international experience as a consultant and legal advisor to large companies in the field of smart manufacturing, telecommunications, and media. In 2024, he established I/O Legal as an informal network of experts and a hub of legal, scientific and technological expertise with a focus on IP, AI and data.

Katerina Yordanova is a legal practitioner and senior researcher at the Belgian nanotechnology company imec and KU Leuven. Her work is focused on artificial intelligence and experimental and anticipatory regulation, regulatory laboratories and human rights protection. Katerina advises small and start-up businesses on data management, privacy protection and ethical issues related to AI systems.

What to expect: Can machines tell good from bad? Whose responsibility is it to develop artificial intelligence that is aligned with basic human values? Is this even possible? Can artificial intelligence replace human ingenuity and creativity? In this talk, Ivo and Katerina will discuss what ethics means in the world of artificial intelligence and will lead an engaging debate with the audience on how to develop technologies that solve people’s real problems.

Workshops

Georgi Kostadinov

Georgi Kostadinov

Cofounder of Kelvin Health
Georgi Kadrev

Georgi Kadrev

Cofounder of Kelvin Health

Workshop 1: Transforming healthcare with Computer Vision AI

Speaker bios: Georgi Kostadinov, a renowned computer vision expert, specializes in developing sophisticated algorithms for image and video analysis and has led the creation of Imagga Cloud AI, processing over 30 billion data points. As co-founder and technical director at Kelvin Health, he develops AI-driven solutions for early diagnosis and preventive medicine using thermal image analysis.

Georgi Kadrev is an innovator in the area of visual AI, pioneering concepts such image recognition API and coining terms like image auto-tagging back in 2008. Most recently Georgi co-founded Kelvin Health with the mission to make diagnostics accessible for everyone, in every context. The company has received multiple global innovation awards since its inception in 2020.

What to expect: Join Georgi and Georgi for a dynamic workshop on the groundbreaking applications of computer vision AI in the healthcare industry. Discover how their HealthTech company Kelvin Health leveraged convolutional neural networks (CNNs) to address critical challenges in medical diagnostics and patient care. Through hands-on sessions, participants will learn about the fundamentals of CNNs, their architectural evolution, and real-world applications that are transforming healthcare. Students will gain insights into the future of AI-driven healthcare solutions and how they can improve patient outcomes and operational efficiency.

Todor Davchev

Todor Davchev

Senior Research Scientist at Google DeepMind

Workshop 2: An introduction to Reinforcement Learning

Speaker bio: Todor Davchev is a Senior Research Scientist at Google DeepMind where he works on Robot Learning. Prior to that, Todor completed a PhD at the University of Edinburgh through which he did two Google X AI residencies (project Intrinsic) and a research scientist internship with DeepMind. Broadly, Todor’s interests lie in the intersection of robotics and machine learning. 

What to expect: Reinforcement learning has been widely successful in solving particular tasks defined with a reward function – from superhuman Go playing and refining ChatGPT to magnetic confinement for plasma control and solving complex tasks in Robotics. This is a branch of Machine Learning that allows for our agents to learn from interacting with completely unknown situations when deployed in the real world. In this workshop, students will learn the fundamentals of Reinforcement Learning, the standard learning paradigm allowing for dynamic online acquisition of knowledge, purely through reward signals. Examples relevant to robotics will be shared!

Mareike Hartmann

Mareike Hartmann

PostDoc at Saarland University, Germany

Workshop 3: LLM-based agents as digital assistants

Speaker bio: Mareike Hartmann is a PostDoc at Saarland University, Saarbrücken Germany. Her current research interests are interactive LLM-based agents, e.g. for API orchestration, code generation, or web navigation, and retrieval-augmented generation. Prior to that, she was a researcher at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence in Saarbrücken, and received her PhD from Copenhagen University.

What to expect: Large language models like GPT4 have shown to be useful backbones for goal-directed interactive agents, which perceive their environment and take actions in order to fulfill a task. In this workshop, Mareike will focus on llm-based agents acting as digital assistants by operating common Apps like Spotify or Amazon, given high-level app descriptions, the ability to look up more detailed app documentation, and some examples. Experiments will be based on the tasks + software from the AppWorld engine, with interactive and non-interactive prompting techniques for zero and few-shot in-context learning.

Georgi Kostadinov

Georgi Kostadinov

Cofounder of Kelvin Health

Workshop 4: Google

Speaker bio: Mareike 

What to expect: Large language models like GPT4 have shown to be useful backbones for goal-directed interactive agents, which perceive their environment and take actions in order to fulfill a task. In this workshop, Mareike will focus on llm-based agents acting as digital assistants by operating common Apps like Spotify or Amazon, given high-level app descriptions, the ability to look up more detailed app documentation, and some examples. Experiments will be based on the tasks + software from the AppWorld engine, with interactive and non-interactive prompting techniques for zero and few-shot in-context learning.

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