innovation@amazon

What is it?

Join us for Innovation@Amazon, a technical conference held by Amazon Development Center Poland in Stary Maneż. We will bring together some of Amazon’s leading engineers from around the world, who will take us on a journey through some of the hottest technical topics of the moment, ranging from Amazon Web Services, Machine Learning, IoT, Amazon Game Studios to Amazon Alexa.


The event will take place in the Stary Manez on September 30th. During coffee and lunch breaks you will have the opportunity to meet and chat with speakers and other participants to ask questions and exchange ideas. If you have more questions for our speakers or want to continue discussions, you are invited to join us for drinks after the conference. The participation is free of charge, however due to a limited number of seats, register as soon as you can.

30 SEP 2017

GDAŃSK

SPEAKERS

Keynote speakers

Meet our most valued speakes

David Hardcastle

Sr. Manager Alexa Information

David Hardcastle

Sr. Manager Alexa Information

Dave Hardcastle leads the Evi team in Cambridge, UK, which is responsible for answering questions in English and German on Alexa. He has worked in a variety of industries over the last 20 years, including technology, academia, finance, and the voluntary sector. He has a PhD in Computational Linguistics (specifically NLG) and an interest in NLP and Corpora that dates back to working on the British National Corpus in 1990. He enjoys working at scale, working with diverse teams on seemingly insurmountable problems.

    Vikas Enti

    Sr. Manager, Amazon Robotics

    Vikas Enti

    Sr. Manager, Amazon Robotics

    Vikas is passionate about complex systems, robotics and human augmentation.  He is the Head of International Programs at Amazon Robotics and is responsible for the launch and performance of robotic fulfillment centers in Europe and Japan. Prior to joining Amazon Robotics, Vikas founded a company to distribute bio-resorbable implants in India,  designed low-cost robots for humanitarian landmine detection and was at the forefront for leveraging cloud computing for social robots.

      Jeff Barr

      Director, AWS Evangelism

      Jeff Barr

      Director, AWS Evangelism

        Staszek Pasko

        Principal Engineer for Amazon Alexa

        Staszek Pasko

        Principal Engineer for Amazon Alexa

        Responsible for the elements of the Alexa service dealing with speech recognition (ASR), natural language understanding (NLU) and speech synthesis (TTS). As a Principal Engineer, Staszek supports the development teams in the Amazon Development Center Poland in Gdansk, he is involved with the platform architecture and in the research of new projects connected to Alexa.

        A Computer Science graduate from the Faculty of Mathematics, Informatics and Mechanics at the University of Warsaw. Before joining Amazon in 2015, he was at Google, working on Cloud Platform, Blogger, GoogleTV and AdWords.

          Max Amordeluso

          Senior Manager, Alexa Skills Kit

          Max Amordeluso

          Senior Manager, Alexa Skills Kit

          The Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) team is responsible for adding new skills to Alexa, working with third party developers to ensure that new skills provide the most natural and delightful voice experience possible. Max Amordeluso is part of the ASK team in Luxembourg, from where he led the teams that launched ASK in UK and Germany.  Max is currently focusing on launching new countries in Europe. Originally from Florence, Italy, Max spent the bulk of his 18-year career in the US, covering several technical leadership roles.  Prior to his current Alexa role, Max spent two years leading the Solutions Architects team for Amazon Web Services in Europe. Max holds a Computer Science degree and an MBA from the University of Miami.  His passions include Human Computer Interaction, the Internet of Things and the realization of science fiction predictions.

            Ruhi Sarikaya

            Director of Applied Science

            Ruhi Sarikaya

            Director of Applied Science

            Ruhi Sarikaya joined Amazon Alexa team as the Director of Applied Science in September 2016. With his team that he has largely built from the ground up, he has been building core capabilities around ranking, relevance, natural language understanding, contextual understanding and personalization. Prior to that, he was a principal science manager and the founder of the language understanding and dialog systems group at Microsoft, Redmond, WA between 2011 and 2016. His group has built language understanding and dialog management capabilities of Cortana, Xbox One, Skype (Bots) and the underlying platform supporting both 1st and 3rd party. Before Microsoft, he was a research staff member and team lead in the Human Language Technologies Group at IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY for ten years. Before IBM, he worked as a researcher at the Center for Spoken Language Research (CSLR) at the University of Colorado at Boulder for two years.  He received his BS (1995) degree from Bilkent University, MS (1997) degree from Clemson University and Ph.D. (2001) degree from Duke University all in electrical and computer engineering.  He has published over 100 technical papers in refereed journal and conference proceedings and, is inventor of over 70 issued/pending patents.

              Anandkumar, Animashree

              Principal Scientist, Deep Learning

              Anandkumar, Animashree

              Principal Scientist, Deep Learning

              Anima joined AWS in November 2016, as Principal Scientist on Deep Learning. She is currently on leave from the EECS Department at UC Irvine, where she has been an associate professor since August 2010. Anima has earned several prestigious awards, including the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, the NSF CAREER award, and Young Investigator Research awards from the Army Research Office and the Air Force Office for Sponsored Research. Her research interests include large-scale machine learning, non-convex optimization, and high-dimensional statistics. In particular, she’s been spearheading the development and analysis of tensor algorithms.
              “My mission is to make machine learning accessible to everyone on the planet, and AWS is an awesome place to achieve that.” She went on to explain that she wants to remove the guesswork for launching large-scale machine learning jobs, so that you don’t have to be an expert in machine learning, application domains, or programming, especially because it’s humanly impossible for one person to have all these skill sets.

                Julien Simon

                Principal Technical Evangelist at Amazon Web Services

                Julien Simon

                Principal Technical Evangelist at Amazon Web Services

                Before joining AWS, Julien served for 10 years as CTO/VP Engineering in top-tier web startups. Thus, he’s particularly interested in all things architecture, deployment, performance, scalability and data. As a Principal Technical Evangelist, Julien speaks very frequently at conferences and technical workshops, where he meets developers and enterprises to help them bring their ideas to life thanks to the Amazon Web Services infrastructure.

                  Rafał Kukliński

                  Site Leader

                  Rafał Kukliński

                  Site Leader

                  Rafał Kukliński is a Senior Software Development Manager at Amazon leading the Amazon Text-to-Speech technology team and the Managing Director of the Amazon Development Center in Poland. Rafal has been with Amazon for 5 years working on speech synthesis systems that power a wide range of Amazon products and services, including Amazon Polly (an AWS TTS service), Amazon Fire tablets, Kindle Readers and Amazon Alexa. He works on application of Deep Learning and signal processing techniques for prosody modeling of Speech Synthesis and NP.

                  Prior to Amazon, Rafal held a variety of technical and leadership positions at companies such as General Electric and Lufthansa, working on technologies ranging from flight planning systems to video compression and analysis systems.

                    Schedule

                    09:30
                    ~0.5h

                    Opening

                    10:00 - 11:00
                    ~ 1h
                    Ruhi Sarikaya

                    Alexa Brain: Removing Frictions in Natural Language Interactions

                    There are three fundamental frictions in interacting with the applications and services on computing devices: 1) application/service discovery, 2) learning what these applications can do, and 3) limited information flow into the apps/services. The same set of frictions manifest themselves with Alexa enabled devices as well.  For example, users do not know what skills exists to handle their requests and they also do not know how to interact with those skills in a natural way.  Currently, Alexa also has limited ability for contextual conversational understanding.  Alexa Brain is a collection of new initiatives that targets to solve these problems in a principled and scalable manner. Alexa Brain will enable frictionless conversational interactions with Alexa to serve the customer requests using any 1P domains or 3P skills. Alexa will also use context signals of various forms (e.g. session, personal graph, skill information, etc.) to precisely determine the user’s intent and carry context across turns to serve the best answer to fulfill the user’s request. We will present the new Alexa architecture, key components, underlying algorithms and models as well as metrics to track the progress.

                    11:00 - 12:00
                    ~1h
                    Max Amordeluso

                    Alexa, a 3P developer perspective

                    Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) and Alexa Voice Service (AVS) are the two free sets of tools to enable developers to leverage the power of Alexa. Join this session to learn about ASK and AVS, what developers are doing with them and their latest features. See also a demo of a skill from the ground up and learn some tips and tricks for developers.

                    12:00 - 13:00
                    ~1h
                    David Hardcastle

                    Open-domain question answering at scale

                    Open-domain question answering is a complex problem space. Customer questions take many different forms covering tens of thousands of relations that connect billions of entities. Getting started can be straightforward, but making something that really works for customers at scale is much harder. In this talk I’ll discuss the different dynamics that are introduced as we scale, and talk about some of the new dimensions which high-scale brings to the problem space we operate in. I’ll share some of the approaches we take to these challenges, and explain how we use diverse, cross-functional teams to succeed.

                    13:00 - 14:00
                    ~1h
                    Julien Simon

                    Deep Learning for Developers

                    In recent months, Deep Learning has become the hottest topic in the IT industry. However, its arcane jargon and its intimidating equations often discourage software developers, who wrongly think that they’re “not smart enough”. In this session, we’ll explain the basic concepts of Neural Networks and Deep Learning in simple terms, with minimal theory and math. Then, through code-level demos based on Apache MXNet, we’ll demonstrate how to build, train and use models based on different types of networks: multi-layer perceptrons, convolutional neural networks and long short-term memory networks. Finally, we’ll share some optimization tips which will help improve the training speed and the performance of your models.

                    14:00 - 15:00
                    ~1h

                    Break

                    15:00 - 16:00
                    ~1h
                    Staszek Pasko

                    Building Software at Amazon

                    In the talk we'll tell you how is software developed, though not just on the technical systems level. We'll start from writing and design processes, including the famed 6-pager, Then we'll move  through development practices,  implementation, and systems for code storage, build, and deployment.
                    Finally, we'll talk about what Operational Excellence means, and how are failures handled, again going back to writing - Cause of Error documents this time.

                    16:00 - 17:00
                    ~1h
                    Animshree Anandkumar

                    Large-scale Machine Learning: Deep, Distributed and Multi-Dimensional

                    Modern machine learning involves deep neural network architectures which yields state-of-art performance on multiple domains such as computer vision, natural language processing and speech recognition. As the data and models scale, it becomes necessary to have multiple processing units (either CPU or GPU cores) for both training and inference. Apache MXNet is an open-source framework developed for distributed deep learning. I will describe the underlying lightweight hierarchical parameter server architecture that results in high efficiency. We obtain state-of-art performance: ~90% efficiency on P2.16x AWS instances with 16 GPUs, and ~88% efficiency on multi-node AWS instances with 256 GPUs.  I will also demonstrate how you can quickly start using MXNet by leveraging preconfigured Deep Learning AMIs (Amazon Machine Images) and CloudFormation Templates on AWS.
                    Pushing the current boundaries of deep learning requires using multiple dimensions and modalities. These can be encoded into tensors, which are natural extensions of matrices. We present new deep learning architectures that preserve the multi-dimensional information in data end-to-end. We show that tensor contractions are an effective replacement for fully connected layers in deep learning architectures. They result in significant space savings (more than 65%) with negligible performance degradation. We also introduce tensor regression in the output layer of the networks and establish further space savings. This is because tensor operations retain the multi-dimensional dependencies in activation tensors while fully connected layers flatten them into vectors and lose this information. Tensor contractions present rich opportunities for hardware optimizations through extended BLAS kernels. We propose a new primitive known as StridedBatchedGEMM in Cublas 8.0 that significantly speeds up tensor contractions, and avoids explicit copy and transpositions. These functionalities are available in the Tensorly package with MXNet backend interface for large-scale efficient learning.

                    17:00 - 18:00
                    ~1h
                    Vikas Enti

                    Robotics and the Future of Order Fulfillment

                    The talk discusses the current application of robotics at Amazon and explores on the future scope of robotics in the e-commerce industry. How has robotics changed the nature of work at Amazon? What are the engineering challenges at the system, software and hardware level for large scale robotic fulfillment centers? How has the rapid pace of innovation in Machine Learning, AI and Cloud Computing affected robotics? What is the future of work and order fulfillment? Join this talk to learn more. 

                    18:00 - 19:00
                    ~1h
                    Jeff Barr

                    Keynote Amazon: Customer-Driven Innovation in Action

                    Since the beginning, the design process at Amazon has been “start with the customer and work backwards.” Over the years, this process has inspired and guided the development of many innovative products and services including the Kindle, Alexa, and the Amazon Web Services (AWS). This talk will provide the audience with insights into Amazon’s working-backwards process, with information about leadership principles, narratives, press releases, FAQs, two-pizza teams, and much more.

                    19:15 - 19:45
                    ~0.5h

                    Q&A with Jeff Barr

                    19:45
                    ~0.25h

                    Closing

                    20:00

                    After Party

                    REGISTER TO INNOVATION@AMAZON

                    HE PARTICIPATION IS FREE OF CHARGE, HOWEVER DUE TO A LIMITED NUMBER OF SEATS, REGISTER AS SOON AS YOU CAN. FOR ANY ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CONTACT US AT INNOVATION2017@AMAZON.COM

                    Contest

                    Find the word that is hidden in the audio. Generate MD5 hash of the word. Use the hash as the local part of the following e-mail address: md5_hash@innovation-amazon.com. Hint: if the word was ALEXA then e-mail address would be ccf72b7c940bb79dcb2e6062d5550ed1@innovation-amazon.com. Send your first name, last name and phone number. We will contact you.

                     

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