A week in San Francisco at AAAI

This week I'm in San Francisco attending AAAI11 - the 2011 Conference of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.  It's the largest and broadest AI Conference held every year. I'll be trying to post up my thoughts and observations here each day about what I'm seeing at the conference.  For more immediate thoughts I'll probably just post to Google+ (you can find me gplus.to/crowley, if you're not on yet you can join using my invites here.). That would be a great place to discuss what's going on in real time or for people to meet up.

I'm very excited for this year's AAAI because:

a) I'm presenting a paper on my thesis research on thursday (10:20am session - how can you resist a catchy title like "Policy Gradient Planning for Environmental Decision Making with Existing Simulators"? Also, the paper before me is listed as an "Outstanding Paper", so at least you'll see that.)

b) This is a very exciting time for AI research. There are lots of reasons for this but for me two exciting new fields where AI is being applied in new ways which are featured prominently in this year's AAAI conference: Social Media and Sustainability.

I don't know much about AI applied to social media so that will be fascinating to find out about.

There is a special track this year on Computational Sustainability which is a new field which focusses on applying machine learning, probabilistic modeling and optimization techniques to very challenging environmental problems.  This is the track my paper is in. It will be really interesting to meet with lots of people trying to use AI to better the world.

Watch this space.