Reviews and events

Top AI conferences you can’t miss in 2024

After attending them, we present a compilation of honest opinions on AI conferences that will hold new editions in 2024. These conferences cover different topics, allowing you to choose the one that best suits your interests

Every year, we can find a number of AI conferences held worldwide where professionals gather to share their knowledge, insights, and innovative ideas. Our team of highly skilled data scientists has attended some of these AI conferences and chronicled their experiences there. Each of these conferences focuses on specific fields and has its unique features, so we can recommend the AI conferences that best suits your needs. Let’s start!

People waiting their turn to ask at a conference

Are you into the human side of technology? ACM FAccT is your AI conference!

WHEN: June 3-6
WHERE: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Clara Higuera’s opinion

If you’re interested in learning more about the impact of intelligent systems on society and the human side of these technologies, then FAccT is the AI conference for you! This gathering brings together experts from diverse fields, such as computer science, law, social sciences, and humanities, to examine the intricate issues related to intelligent systems.

FAccT is an organization that focuses on studying new challenges arising from technological advancements. They evaluate emerging issues such as potential biases in tech solutions and the crucial question of outsourcing decisions to data-driven systems. FAccT is unique in its approach, committed to identifying challenges and assessing solutions while considering their benefits, risks, and broader impact on economic structures, power dynamics, and welfare distribution.

FACCT offers a unique “Crafts” track, bringing together individuals from diverse backgrounds, such as journalism, art, education, advocacy, and governance, to collaborate on computing systems and engage with the conference. Critique, reflection, and empowerment are at the forefront, offering a refreshing perspective within an academic setting.

FAccT receives contributions from industry experts, enriching the conference with real-world insights and enhancing its practical applications. Expect insightful discussions on fairness, accountability, and transparency grounded in existing legal requirements.

Don’t miss the chance to join FAccT’s interdisciplinary journey, where boundaries are pushed and collaborative solutions are fostered!

Are you interested in Language models? Then you should attend ACL

WHEN: August, 11-16
WHERE: Bangkok, Thailand
María Hernández’s opinion

In my opinion, ACL is THE conference on language: text analysis, NLP, word embeddings, transformers, GPT… When I attended the 2019 ACL conference in Florence, I was a newcomer to the field of natural language processing (NLP). It was a pivotal moment for me, not just because Florence is a stunning city but also because the NLP community was buzzing with new developments. Everywhere I turned, people were discussing exciting advancements such as Transformers, Berts, Attention, and metrics like BLUE or Rouge. It was evident that NLP had entered a new era.

This event is a platform for prominent researchers, organizations, and language users to share their findings, exchange ideas, and discuss their experiences. Although NLP has become a mainstream topic, it is still essential to focus on its specific features, and this event provides a pure vision of those specificities. While other high-level conferences like NeurIPS and ICML also touch on NLP topics, this event remains the best place to explore the nuances of language.

It’s possible that the format changed a bit after the ChatGPT boom, but one of the things I liked the most was the conference’s size and accessibility to researchers and speakers. The conference was limited, making communicating with top people in the NLP world easier. I appreciated that it encouraged interaction and provided a platform to share ideas and ask questions. I think this AI conference offered one of the best opportunities for such interactions.

If you want to know actual use cases where AI is applied, ACM KDD is a top choice!

WHEN: August, 25-29
WHERE: Barcelona, Spain
David Muelas’s opinion

One of the things I like most about it is the applied track, where industrialized solutions are shared. The program is also geared towards the world of data science, featuring participants from top academic institutions and industry.

As is typical in large conferences, sessions overlap, requiring attendees to plan their schedules diligently to avoid missing the most interesting ones.

Every year, I keep an eye out for papers presented in the KDD Workshop on Machine Learning in Finance due to its great variety of workshops. In fact, we presented a paper in this session when I attended.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, attending conferences in 2020 was challenging as many events were canceled. KDD was only held online, which made networking limited and attending sessions challenging due to time differences. However, this year KDD will be held in Barcelona at the end of August. This promises to make the conference even more exciting and interesting.

If you are into AI applications within the financial sector, ACM ICAIF is waiting for you!

WHERE: New York, USA
Ángela Moreno, Ana López and Andrea Falcón’s opinion

If you’re interested in staying up-to-date with the latest advances in finance, attending the International Conference on AI in Finance is a great option. The conference features academic research from esteemed universities such as Oxford, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of California. Additionally, it includes research from industry professionals, with contributions from companies such as IBM, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, and BlackRock.

The conference spans three days, with the first day entirely dedicated to workshops on ethics, explainability, transfer learning, and NLP for financial AI.

We found it helpful to learn from other companies about the solutions they propose and the use cases they address in our industry. Most of these are related to portfolio optimization and investment models, which can provide valuable insights and ideas for our own work.

As it was the conference’s first in-person year, we believed that there was an opportunity to improve the organization. This included having fewer remote speakers and academic talks and instead focusing more on practical aspects.

Are you primarily interested in academic research and applied workshops? IEEE Big Data awaits for you!

WHEN: December, 15-18
WHERE: Washington DC, USA
Alberto Algarra’s opinion

The IEEE International Conference on Big Data is an excellent opportunity to learn about advances in research in different industries. Workshops range from applying Big Data and machine learning techniques in financial areas to security and defense or the food industry, to name a few.

The conferences mainly come from the academic field. However, it is interesting to observe that most workshops tailor their approaches to specific business cases, making them a perfect fit for companies.

The variety of workshops and tight schedules can make it easy to get lost, so prior planning of the conferences you wish to attend is an essential requirement. A special mention should be made of the Keynote Speeches, such as the ones delivered by Jeffrey Ullman, professor emeritus at Stanford, or Qiong Lio, professor at HKUST, in the past edition (where we also presented a paper). Despite the hype surrounding LLMs or advances in neural networks, they focused their lectures on Big Data algorithms that do not include machine learning or optimizing data processing using GPUs.

In conclusion, the IEEE conference offers a truly comprehensive overview of research advances in various fields without forgetting techniques and applications that current trends may overlook.

If you want to live the full AI conference experience, you must attend NeurIPS!

WHEN: December, TBD
Pablo Campos and Álvaro Serrano’s opinion

After attending the conference, it became clear that the in-person experience was only the first step. Subsequent work is needed to deepen and study the content. Overall, attendance has both its pros and challenges.

At NeurIPS you will discover cutting-edge research. Papers, posters, and talks present a wide range of new research findings. Topics covered may become industry standards in the near future, so keep your head up. Also, workshops and tutorials provide deeper dives into specific areas, offering practical insights and training on the latest tools. They are helpful in our day-to-day activities from the first to the last minute. One remarkable aspect of NeurIPS is that leading figures in AI and Machine Learning share their insights and predictions about the future of the field.

Poster sessions offer an excellent opportunity to find hidden gems. This way, we discovered an exciting sample of works in the 2022 edition. In these sessions, researchers present their projects in a more intimate format. We encourage you not to be shy and take the opportunity to discuss directly with the authors and dive into details you may not find otherwise. But even if you only listen to other attendees’ questions and authors’ responses, you can learn a lot, so we recommend being focused and patient: sometimes, attention is all you need.

However, not everything is perfect in NeurIPS. You will have to take into account that, with so many sessions happening simultaneously, choosing which ones to attend is challenging. This is a perfect example of the exploration-exploitation dilemma: do you want to look for the topics you are familiar with, or do you want to have the opportunity to hear about unfamiliar but potentially interesting topics? We suggest you keep an open mind and dedicate some time to exploring new topics. Sometimes a random search could be a good strategy. As one of the best and most popular AI conferences worldwide, NeurIPS can be overcrowded and difficult to navigate through venues or engage with other attendees.

Our commitment to knowledge-sharing: learning from the best AI conferences

At BBVA AI Factory, we firmly believe that sharing is caring. In pursuit of this mission, we are always on the lookout for the best AI conferences to share our knowledge and learn everything that others can teach us. We can only discover new opportunities to improve and grow by actively listening.