In February 2023 a team of TU Wien and University of Vienna PhD students organized “Community Event for Students of Learning Algorithms in Wien” (C’Est La Wien), a workshop for PhD students in machine learning. In total, 57 people registered for the workshop and at least 42 attended. The goal of the workshop was to bring together PhD students from different universities and institutes in and around Vienna to facilitate cooperation between the different research groups working with machine learning.
The workshop featured four keynotes covering different machine learning topics from theory heavy to applied:
- Alejandra Avalos-Pacheco (TU Wien): “Heterogeneous Large-Scale Bayesian Learning”
- Moritz Schaefer (MedUni Vienna & CeMM): “Protein Diffusion Models for Targeted Antibody Design”
- Sebastian Tschiatschek (University of Vienna): “Learning and Teaching What to Do”
- Marco Mondelli (IST Austria): “Understanding Gradient Descent for Over-Parameterized Deep Neural Networks: Insights from Mean-Field Theory and the Neural Tangent Kernel”
Furthermore, we organized a discussion round with Alejandra Avalos-Pacheco (TU Wien), Marco Mondelli (IST Austria), Moritz Schaefer (MedUni Vienna & CeMM), Petra Kralj Novak (Central European University), Sebastian Tschiatschek (University of Vienna) and Yllka Velaj (University of Vienna). The discussion focused on questions relevant to PhD students such as “What is the most important skill that you did not expect to need in academia?” or “What was the biggest mistake in your career?”.
To give students opportunities to network, attendees could give short presentations about their research and bring posters. Attendees voted for the best student presentation and poster. The best student presentation was “Graph Neural Networks for the Prediction of Sites of Metabolism in Small Organic Molecules” by Roxane Jacob. The best poster was “Solving the Schrödinger Equation using Deep Learning” by Michael Scherbela. The workshop concluded with topic tables where like-minded people could meet each other and network.
We consider the workshop to have been a resounding success, having brought together students from 8 institutes in and around Vienna. The event was well-attended and generated significant interest among the participants. The discussion round proved particularly engaging for us, as the PhD students posed highly relevant questions that sparked lively conversation and further exploration of important topics.