Hosting a NeurIPS 2021 Meetup

Emtiyaz Khan, Louvere Walker-Hannon, Olivia Muza, Jacqueline Forien, Ryuichiro Hataya, Rodrigo Beceiro, 2021 Meetup Chairs.

The Meetup Chairs team would like to tell you about NeurIPS meetups, an initiative pioneered at NeurIPS a couple of years ago that we are excited about building on. NeurIPS meetups are intended to build a remote presence for NeurIPS.

What are NeurIPS meetups?

A NeurIPS meetup is a virtual event focused on the local community hosted during the NeurIPS conference, leveraging conference videos and live local content, with a duration ranging from a few hours to a full week, and bringing together participants from one or more companies, universities, and/or the public. Meetups are governed by the NeurIPS Code of Conduct.

With the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing, safety comes first so we are planning virtual meetups and should the situation develop favourably we will consider social gatherings. We plan on continuing to coordinate with the rest of the organizing committee and provide updates as things evolve. No matter what, meetup organizers will be expected to and have the responsibility of following the government health guidance of their country for events.

NeurIPS Meetups debuted in 2019, with 75 meetups hosted in 35 countries on 6 continents, thanks to hard work by our meetup hosts and supporters worldwide, and the help by Black in AI and WiMLDS, Women in Machine Learning and Data Science. Last year, despite the COVID-19 situation and with the virtual format, we had 48 virtual meetups hosted worldwide. For this year we intend to grow these numbers, being closer to the community and reaching more people. 

Why NeurIPS meetups?

There are many good reasons to bring the NeurIPS experience to local communities:

  • Supporting the growth of AI expertise around the world, including in underrepresented communities in tech, and fueling innovation responsibly 
  • Creating opportunities for researchers and practitioners who cannot physically attend due to constraints on space, immigration/visas, and exposure to large groups
  • Reducing the need for air travel, and the associated time, cost, and environmental impact
  • And finally, in the era of virtual conferences, providing a social venue for the participants in the same time zone to attend the conference together. 

How can you get involved?

We launched the Call for Meetups recently. If you wish to organize a NeurIPS meetup, submit your proposal. If you have any questions, send us an email at neurips2021-meetup-chairs@googlegroups.com.

What do we want NeurIPS meetups to be?

We’d love to encourage awesome events where hosts and participants do the following:

  • Leverage recordings and live videos of NeurIPS sessions to share technical content
  • Host live sessions with local AI researchers and practitioners, including local authors of accepted NeurIPS papers
  • Encourage a connection with collocated affinity groups that might include but not limited to WiML, LatinX in AI, Queer in AI, Black in AI, Muslims in ML, Indigenous in AI, New in ML, {dis}ability in AI, and many more.
  • Gather communities around the same time as NeurIPS, adjusted for their local time zone
  • Have freedom to adapt to local constraints

What is the model for NeurIPS meetups? 

There are conferences like WIDS, Women in Data Science to which we’ve looked for inspiration: WIDS is run out of Stanford University, and is presented through a network of local conferences hosted around the globe. One of the former Meetup Chairs (Anoush) has found WIDS hosted by WPI, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, to be of great value in nurturing the vibrant data science community in the Boston area. We designed NeurIPS meetups to include elements of the WIDS Ambassador program among others.

Previous events have:

  • Broadcasted NeurIPS events
  • Presented and discussed NeurIPS papers
  • Presented relevant work, e.g., by inviting local speakers
  • Organized social and networking events

For this year we are looking forward to similar ideas, including many others that adjust to your local community.

What have we done so far?

We have surveyed our previous NeurIPS meetup hosts. We are talking to many potential partners around the globe… like you!

Check out a map listing NeurIPS 2020 meetups. We’ll update this shortly for NeurIPS 2021 as new meetups are approved.

We hope you like these initiatives. If you have any comments, feel free to send us an email at neurips2021-meetup-chairs@googlegroups.com.

The Meetup Chairs team

Who are we?

The Meetup Chairs team is composed by:

  • Emtiyaz Khan, RIKEN, Tokyo, Japan
  • Louvere Walker-Hannon, MathWorks, Boston, MA, USA
  • Olivia Muza, STEAM Women, Harare, Zimbabwe
  • Jacqueline Forien, Machinelearning.Fr., Paris, France
  • Ryuichiro Hataya, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
  • Rodrigo Beceiro, Marvik AI, Montevideo, Uruguay