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Melanie is solo this week talking with Anima Anandkumar, a Caltech Bren professor and director of ML research at NVIDIA. We touch on tensors, their use, and how they relate to TensorFlow. Anima also details the work she does with NVIDIA and how they are helping to advance machine learning through hardware and software. Our main discussion centers around AI and machine learning research conferences, specifically the Neural Information Processing Systems conference (commonly referred to as NIPS) and the reason they have rebranded.
NIPS originally started as a small conference at Caltech. As deep learning became more and more popular, it grew exponentially. With the higher attendance and interest, the acronym became center stage. Sexual innuendos and harassing puns surrounded the conference, sparking a call for a name change. At first, conference organizers were reluctant to rebrand and they used recent survey results as a reason to keep NIPS.
Anima discusses her personal experience protesting the acronym, opening up about the hate speech and threats of which she and others received. Despite the harassment, Anima and others continued to protest, petition, and share stories of mistreatment within the community which helped lead to the name/acronym change to NeurIPS. The rebranding hopes to reestablish an inclusive academic community and move the focus back to machine learning research and away from unprofessional attention.
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