All About Machine Learning

By Bhakti Hinduja

Women in Big Data’s North West chapter successfully organized a meetup. “All about Machine Learning,” to educate women about the technical concepts involved in Machine Learning.

The event was held at Intel’s Hawthorne Farm campus in Hillsboro, Oregon, and was extremely well received; around 50 people attended, including four men who constructively participated in the discussions and Q&A.

Not only was the number of women who attended impressive, but I was surprised at the varied backgrounds represented: the audience ranged from leading engineers, leads and managers from Intel, to CEOs of energy, finance and HR firms who eagerly wanted to learn about ways how Machine Learning can add to their businesses growth.

We had around 45 mins of networking before the event began, where the audience actively discussed problems in the fields and how technology and machine learning is attempting to solve it. It was amazing to witness everyone come together–and to put various aspects from their work together. We also had some women who were looking for opportunities to join the technology field after a career break, and we discussed possible opportunities with the leaders there.

Several women stepped  up and asked us to collaborate with their companies to host similar events. Clearly, the community  loved our effort and wanted to be a part of more such events!

Soumya Guptha

The talk was kicked off by Soumya Guptha, Marketing Manager, Software and Solutions Group, Intel Corporation. A founding members of Women in Big Data, Soumya described her journey with the organization and how they aspire to reach to a goal of 25% female representation in leading technologies. It instantly spiked a strong conviction in the audience to do their bit towards the cause.

After that, Dr. Meena Arunachalam, Principal Engineer, Data Center Group, Intel Corporation gave an exemplary talk on Machine Learning. Although ML is a vast topic, Meena expertly broke it into explicit smaller topics, starting from the journey of Machine Learning in the early 1960s to the point of the technology evolution today. She presented simple and lucid examples from daily life to understand complicated concepts like neurons, neural networks, feed forward networks and back propagation–all features that form the basis of the technology. She also discussed how varied industries such as energy, oil and gas, healthcare, and government are leveraging machine learning to accelerate their processes. . As a senior leader in the field, Meena emphasized that adapting and moving quickly as the technology evolves can take us a long way in our careers, and she guided the audience on the steps and learning opportunities that can help them get into this industry. Especially enjoyable was Meena’s explanation of Deep Learning, which holistically covered numerous points on how to create an efficient Deep Learning model. Click here to download Meena’s slides.

Meena Arunachalam

Finally, Kripa Sankaranarayanan, who works in the space of Artificial Intelligence at Intel Corporation, showed the audience a demo on creating a machine learning model using Tensor Flow and Intel’s Neon. She walked through simple steps on installing Tensor Flow and instructed attendees on how they can start making models right on their laptops! The audience was thrilled to have seen the demo of the model and look to building their own models!

Many thanks to Meena and Kripa, who put in a lot of effort to guide us through through a complicated but extremely beneficial topic.

Agata Gruza and me (Bhakti Hinduja), work as Software Engineers in the Big Data space in Intel Corporation and are active members at Women in Big Data, cherished the experience of organizing this event with these wonderful ladies. We were delighted to see the community and will work towards bringing in more events in the future.

Bhakti Hinduja

The author, Bhakti Hinduja, is a Big Data Software Development Engineer with Intel. She works on developing big data and machine learning software 

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