DTC/CDT Joint Journal Club – Friday 25th November 2016

Speaker: George Papamakarios

CDT in Data Science

Title:  The inference engine

Abstract:  Probabilistic programming promises to revolutionize machine learning.

But without the ability to do general-purpose inference, probabilistic programming is just a beautiful car without an engine. But what is probabilistic programming anyway? What amazing things can it do? Why do we need an inference engine so badly? How far are we from having one?

These questions (and more!) will be discussed in this talk. There will be demos. No equations, I promise.

Speaker: Florian Fiebig

KTH Stockholm EuroSPIN student

Title: “Ignorance” – How it drives science and why we need to get much better at it

Abstract:  While the title is slightly polemic of course, I hope to make every listener much more ignorant after this talk.  I will explain the immense value of ignorance, why it is much more important than knowledge for the overall progress of science. The talk is largely based on a book by Howard Firestein (Professor and Chair, Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University, USA) on this topic. I want to motivate us to ask better questions of our subjects and let ignorance be our guide.

I will be making a concerted effort to de-throne the highly romanticized (and largely unreal) ideal of the so -called scientific method. Real scientific progress rarely comes out of hypothesis driven research. In short, I hope to make you all much more aware of your ignorance through this talk, and maybe help you see your own work in a new light.