Here’s the idea in a nutshell: A crew of information-hungry data scientists and data engineers decided to self-impose a 7-day challenge and come out as Deep Learning experts. This is all possible thanks to lots of coffee, and fast.ai being a gem of an organization who provides a wealth of accessible information.
"Deep Learning has revolutionized the field of Machine Learning and I believe it should be part of every Data Practitioner’s toolbox. It enables us not only to build models on unstructured data, like we did for RoyalFlora Holland, but also to make fairer predictions."
Cramming 14 Weeks of Training Material Into 7 Days
Let me rewind a little, fast.ai was created in order to make the power of deep learning accessible to all. They believe that for the “full potential [of deep learning] to be met, the technology needs to be much easier to use, more reliable, and more intuitive than it is today". They have two excellent MOOCs: Practical Deep Learning For Coders, Part 1, and Cutting Edge Deep Learning For Coders, Part 2. Traditionally, each of these should take 10 hours a week for 7 weeks, but doing all of this in 7 days (not weeks) is the kind of challenge we thrive on.
As you’ve probably heard, at Xebia Data (and Xebia as a whole), we take this whole ‘Knowledge Sharing,’ thing very seriously. We have our monthly XKEs and Innovation Fridays, where everyone takes a day off of client work to collaborate and work on cool projects. We have our generous training budget, that can be used by every individual on endeavors of their choosing each year. And, we have an objectively open and friendly atmosphere, wherein no one is made to feel ‘less than,’ for needing clarification, and stupid questions don’t exist.
Practicing What We Preach
With all of that in mind, this concept fits right in. The challenge of cramming all of this information into a small time period is thrilling. We are a mix of scientists and engineers of different levels, and this is an excellent opportunity to put into practice what we preach: to help our peers upskill through collaboration and without judgement.
It’s in our DNA to push the limits and keep improving, so you bet we’re going to run with it.
I’ll leave you with another insight from one of the attendees:
It’s great to see how AI is now rapidly finding its way in tech and society. Whereas machine learning was still a niche during my PhD and the years after, it is now becoming readily applicable due to the rise of deep learning. The key for its success now is the ability to build solid production-ready software with which machine learning models can be trained, deployed, and monitored in such a way that business value is attained. I can think of no better company than Xebia Data, with its world class data engineers and scientists, to create these AI solutions for companies in the Netherlands.