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Neema’s Blog

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NeurIPS Conference in Vancouver, Canada

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In December 2019, I had an opportunity to attend the 33rd annual conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS) in Vancouver, Canada. The conference brought together researchers and experts in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) from around the world to present and showcase their work through posters, panel discussion and presentations. I also had a privilege to participate in the Black in AI (BAI) workshop which aims at increasing the presence and participation of black people in the field of AI. This time around, I did an oral presentation on “An Ensemble Predictive Model Based Prototype for Student Drop-out in Secondary Schools”.

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Africa Science Week (ASW) celebrations at NM-AIST

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On 06th December 2019, I attended ASW celebrations which was hosted at NM-AIST in Arusha. The event was organized by Next Einstein Forum (NEF) for the third time in Tanzania. The main focus was to encourage people of different age groups to get involved and ignite their passion for science and technology across the continent. This time the ASW engaged STEM stakeholders and students from primary, secondary and university in different exciting activities which included: (i) Panel discussion - The state of STEM careers in Africa; what has been the contribution of women (ii) Launching of STEMi Mentorship and Coaching Platform for Africa (STEMi-Africa) (iii) Awarding Tanzanian Women in Science and (iv) Exhibition from various STEM stakeholders.

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APPPF Forum and STI Conference in Kampala, Uganda

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In October 2019, I participated in the Academia-Public-Private-Partnership Forum (APPPF) and Exhibitions in Kampala, Uganda. The APPPF is an annual forum organized by the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) in collaboration with the East African Business Council (EABC), East African Development Bank (EADB) and East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO). The forum offers a platform for players in the academia, public and private sectors to share information that can enhance complementarity between the sectors for socio-economic transformation of the region. This year, the APPPF also hosted the 1st Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) conference.

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Deep Learning Indaba 2019

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In August 2019, I attended Deep Learning Indaba in Nairobi, Kenya. This annual meeting aimed at strengthening African Machine Learning. The conference brought together about 700 members of Africa’s Artificial Intelligence community at the Kenyatta University for a week-long event of teaching, research and debate around the state of the art in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. The sessions were interactive and interesting. I was very much inspired by the keynote - Beyond Buzzwords: Innovation, Imagination, and Inequity in the 21st Century by Prof. Ruha Benjamin of African American Studies at the Princeton University.

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ACM COMPASS

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In July 2019, I attended the second annual ACM SIGCAS Conference on Computing and Sustainable Societies (COMPASS 2019) in Accra, Ghana. The conference brought together researchers with broad expertise in artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, networking, systems, speech and language processing, computer security, data mining, and computer vision. The focus was to apply this knowledge to solve the diverse problems in sustainable development, spanning health, accessibility, education, agriculture, financial services, job creation and governance.

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