Beirut AI
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Beirut AI

Beirut AI Community Recap: April 2021

April’s AI Weekend was packed with unforgettable meetups and workshops.

Delighted by AI Weekend’s Enriching Experience

Everyone was anticipating the event’s kickoff to get a deep dive into the AI world from the eyes of experts in the field. From inspiring meetups to engaging workshops, AI Weekend brought everyone together for a weekend to remember and an optimized skillset embodied through a vision: Join the AI Revolution.

Throughout the valuable learning experience that this event brought, participants were also engaged in different activities and networking sessions so that they get to meet each other as well as different experts and learn more about the unique talents in the audience. Everyone came with an enthusiasm that drove them towards sharing, learning, and growing together.

Technical Workshops: Theory Put to Practice

The weekend’s unique set of workshops kept participants on the edge of their seats as they uncovered a wide variety of topics while given the needed theoretical foundations within various artificial intelligence domains.

The first stop was with Parkinson’s disease detection using Machine Learning. Yasmine Abu Adla introduced participants to the concept of binary classification which was used in building a diagnostic model to detect Parkinson’s disease using speech signals. After this workshop, participants were familiarized with the theory behind Logistic Regression Classifier and understood how to frame and identify the problem at hand as a classification problem.

The next workshop got even more interesting as we got to discover Facial Emotion Recognition using Convolutional Neural Networks. In this workshop with Malak Sayour, Deep Learning for computer vision applications was introduced and further enhanced the experience by completing a step-by-step hands-on exercise to predict emotions based on facial expressions and that was all possible using Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs).

The last workshop introduced something new to the table: Arabic Sentiment Analysis using HuggingFace Transformers with Wissam Antoun. This was coupled with the introduction of different cutting-edge Natural Language Processing (NLP) models such as Transformers and BERT by Google, GPT2 by OpenAI, RoBERTa by Facebook. Participants were able to leverage these models in solving various NLP tasks in any language including Arabic for sentiment analysis. Towards the end of the workshop, participants were able to train and evaluate NLP models while serving these models in a deployment pipeline through a RestAPI and finally use the HuggingFace library on PyTorch and TensorFlow for Arabic sentiment analysis.

Meetups that Inspire

AI Weekend brought more experts to discuss some hot topics in artificial intelligence and they commenced with the meetup on How is AI fundamentally changing the operation of businesses in the 21st century. Jean-Paul Sacy allowed participants to discover how game-changing technologies are accelerating digital transformation across different sectors to become a new vector for differentiation and competitiveness for SMEs as well as large enterprises that are applying AI and IoT with stunning results.

Our second stop was with AI use in trading the financial markets.

Piotr Yordanov highlighted how AI helps in finding trading opportunities in the markets and then acts on them with the hope of making money. Followed by the final stop which brought the participants with AI leaders and Lebanese pioneers in a Discussion Panel that sparked meaningful conversations. Rani Haddad, Rudy Shoushay, and Mohammad Srouji were all part of the discussion, moderated by Alaa on how these leaders are making an impact in their industries every day while implementing AI in their companies’ culture and products.

You can find the YouTube links for all the AI Weekend meetups here:

Business Workshops: AI-Driven Strategies

It all started off with the first workshop, IoT telematics Data: Big Data Insight from the vehicle to the customer, where Moe Saleh highlighted how Oshkosh Corp, the world-leading manufacturer of specialty vehicles, started the journey of connecting its vehicles and streaming the vehicles’ data near real-time to add much value to its customers.

With excitement, we moved forward to the next workshop with Mohammad Makkawi, Marie Abou Khaled, and Jimmy Jarjoura who gave us an insider’s view on how Anghami uses Machine Learning and Data Science to analyze user behavior and drive churn prediction, generate live music recommendations that enhance user listening experience, solve the cold start problem for music and users, automate the model generation processes, and personalize search results.

Ending our event was with Abbas Nasreddine and his workshop on Social Media Analytics for Market Research, which helped participants learn how to use social media analytics in reinforcing the business start-up process. It was wrapped up with analyzing online sentiment based on Twitter data streaming.

These Business AI Workshops brought valuable insights and enhanced the learning experience of our participants by giving them hands-on experience with dissecting business problems, exploring and analyzing business data, and presenting data-driven business solutions.

Audience Overview and Testimonial

More than 75 participants attended the workshops and more than 100 joined the free meetups throughout the weekend. The audience was from different backgrounds which created a vibrant learning atmosphere, and the journey was concluded with all workshop attendees earning their certificates.

After finishing the Beirut AI weekend, I adopted many new skills and got new ideas in the field of AI and Machine Learning. The event made me more excited to continue my AI journey after discovering that AI is used everywhere nowadays. The technical workshops were very fruitful and effective. Furthermore, the business workshops were too and I was surprised how AI can affect the Business Field.“ ~ Elie Antoun

Community Gathering: Research Paper Discussion

Last gathering, Anis Ismail shared with the community a research paper he discovered in his research course. The paper, titled “Multiobjective de Novo Drug Design with Recurrent Neural Networks and Nondominated Sorting” by Jason Yasonik, showcases the intersection of machine learning and drug design.

It was an interesting and enjoyable presentation that equipped the community members with valuable insights about the topic especially through a cheat-sheet summary that Anis prepared.

Join our community today to get to meet AI enthusiasts like you and to attend informative gatherings and events!



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