Looking back at NeurIPS 2019

The 2019 edition of NeurIPS, the leading conference in machine learning and AI, has come and gone. The conference took place from December 8th to the 14th at the Vancouver Convention Center. The week was filled with insightful papers, workshops and panels/talks that Sportlogiq’s innovation team, SLiQ Labs, was thrilled to attend.

Sportlogiq Presents Panel on Explainable Reinforcement Learning

Sportlogiq has been a proud sponsor of the NeurIPS conference since 2015. This year marked the first time Sportlogiq hosted a panel at the conference. Moderated by our CTO and Co-Founder, Mehrsan Javan, the panel discussed approaches for making reinforcement learning transparent, interpretable, and accepted by industry clients.

The highlight of the panel was about turning models into something that can be understood by the end user. Although different users demand different levels of explanations from the models (doctors and nurses vs patients), at the end when we design the RL systems we need to make sure that the given optimal policy is compatible with the users expectations. This means that the first step for designing explainable RL and inverse RL models is to understand the end user’s utility function and optimize for the same function. This comes down to actively involve the domain experts in the development process which is usually ignored when building AI models.


The panel featured prominent researchers with in-depth industrial experience such as: 

Oliver Schulte: Professor at Simon Fraser University and SLiQ Labs Director of Predictive Analytics Research.

Pascal Poupart: Professor at the University of Waterloo and an internationally recognized expert on reinforcement learning.

Martin Puterman: Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia.


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Sportlogiq opens a new AI lab in Vancouver

We kicked-off the conference with the announcement of the opening of the Sportlogiq AI lab in Vancouver.  As part of our commitment to invest in the Canadian AI ecosystem, Sportlogiq has expanded its network of research centers, SLiQ Labs, to the west coast. The new lab will be focused on machine learning research for descriptive and predictive analytics, with a focus on sports as its first application. Sports are becoming an attractive application for the AI research community to showcase the recent developments of the industry.

Professor Oliver Schulte, an internationally recognized expert in machine learning for sports data modelling from Simon Fraser University’s school of computing science, is leading the lab’s research efforts. He’s joined by Mani Ranjbar, a seasoned industrial machine learning researcher from the quantum computing world, who is leading the applied research team at the lab.

Booth #609

Our SLiQ Labs team had the opportunity to showcase our innovative projects and technology to all fourteen-thousand conference attendees. Various students and company representatives stopped by our booth to learn more about our applied machine learning and computer vision techniques and how our team plans to revolutionize sport in the near future.

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At Sportlogiq, we’re continuing to digest the learnings from NeurIPS 2019, sharing our thoughts with our colleagues and continuing to work on our mission to push this industry forward.  

It’s an innovative and exciting world to be part of, and the conference reinforces that at every turn, the AI industry isn’t standing still.  We look forward to seeing what another year of innovation will bring and where we’ll stand at next year’s conference.

Follow us on Twitter @Sportlogiq to learn more about the SLiQ Labs team’s projects.