Anthill Inside 2018

Anthill Inside 2018

On the current state of academic research, practice and development regarding Deep Learning and Artificial Intelligence.

##About the conference and topics for submitting talks:
In 2016, The Fifth Elephant branched into a separate conference on Deep Learning. The Deep Learning Conference has grown in to a large community under the brand Anthill Inside.

Anthill Inside features talks, panels and Off The Record (OTR) sessions on current research, technologies and developments around Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Deep Learning. Submit proposals for talks and workshops on the following topics:

  1. Theoretical concepts in Deep Learning, AI and Machine Learning – and how these have been applied in real life situations / specific domains. In 2017, we covered GANS, Reinforcement Learning and Transfer Learning. We seek speakers from academia who can communicate these concepts to an audience of practitioners.
  2. Latest tools, frameworks, libraries – either as short talks demonstrating these, or as full talks explaining why you chose the technology, including comparisons made and metrics used in evaluating the choice.
  3. Application of Computer Vision, NLP, speech recognition, video analytics and voice-to-speech in a specific domain or for building product. We are also interested in talks on application of Deep Learning to hardware and software problems / domains such as GPUs, self-driving cars, etc.
  4. Case studies of AI / Deep Learning and product: the journey of arriving at the product, not an elaboration of the product itself. We’d also like to understand why you chose AI, Deep Learning or Machine Learning for your use case.

##Perks for submitting proposals:
Submitting a proposal, especially with our process, is hard work. We appreciate your effort.
We offer one conference ticket at discounted price to each proposer, and a t-shirt.
We only accept one speaker per talk. This is non-negotiable. Workshops may have more than one instructor.
In case of proposals where more than one person has been mentioned as collaborator, we offer the discounted ticket and t-shirt only to the person with who the editorial team corresponded directly during the evaluation process.

##Target audience:
We invite beginner and advanced participants from:

  1. Academia,
  2. Industry and
  3. Startups,

to participate in Anthill Inside. At the 2018 edition, tracks will be curated separately for beginner and advanced audiences.

Developer evangelists from organizations which want developers to use their APIs and technologies for deep learning and AI should participate, speak and/or sponsor Anthill Inside.

Anthill Inside is a two-day conference with two tracks on each day. Track details will be announced with a draft schedule in February 2018.

We are accepting sessions with the following formats:

  1. Crisp (20 min) and full (40 min) talks.
  2. OTR sessions on focussed topics / questions. An OTR is 1 to 1.5 hours long and typically has four facilitators including or excluding one moderator.
  3. Workshops and tutorials of 3-6 hours duration on Machine Learning concepts and tools, full stack data engineering, and data science concepts and tools.
    4. Birds Of Feather (BOF) sessions, talks and workshops for open houses and pre-events in Bangalore and other cities between October 2017 and June 2018. We have events open round the year. Reach out to us on should you be interested in speaking and/or hosting a community event between now and the conference in July 2018.

##Selection criteria:
The first filter for a proposal is whether the technology or solution you are referring to is open source or not. The following criteria apply for closed source talks:

  1. If the technology or solution is proprietary, and you want to speak about your propritary solution to make a pitch to the audience, you should pick up sponsored session. This involves paying for the speaking slot. Write to
  2. If the technology or solution is in the process of being open sourced, we will consider the talk only if the solution is open sourced at least three months before the conference.
  3. If your solution is closed source, you should consider proposing a talk explaining why you built it in the first place; what options did you consider (business-wise and technology-wise) before making the decision to develop the solution; or, what is your specific use case that left you without existing options and necessitated creating the in-house solution.

The criteria for selecting proposals, in the order of importance, are:

  1. Key insight or takeaway: what can you share with participants that will help them in their work and in thinking about the ML, big data and data science problem space?
  2. Structure of the talk and flow of content: a detailed outline – either as mindmap or draft slides or textual decription – will help us understand the focus of the talk, and the clarity of your thought process.
  3. Ability to communicate succinctly, and how you engage with the audience. You must submit link to a two-minute preview video explaining what your talk is about, and what is the key takeaway for the audience.

No one submits the perfect proposal in the first instance. We therefore encourage you to:

  1. Submit your proposal early so that we have more time to iterate if the proposal has potential.
  2. Talk to us on our community Slack channel: if you want to discuss an idea for your proposal, and need help / advice on how to structure it.

Our editorial team helps potential speakers in honing their speaking skills, fine tuning and rehearsing content at least twice - before the main conference - and sharpening the focus of talks.

##How to submit a proposal (and increase your chances of getting selected):
The following guidelines will help you in submitting a proposal:

  1. Focus on why, not how. Explain to participants why you made a business or engineering decision, or why you chose a particular approach to solving your problem.
  2. The journey is more important than the solution you may want to explain. We are interested in the journey, not the outcome alone. Share as much detail as possible about how you solved the problem. Glossing over details does not help participants grasp real insights.
  3. Focus on what participants from other domains can learn/abstract from your journey / solution. Refer to these talks, from some of HasGeek’s other conferences, which participants liked most:
  4. We do not accept how-to talks unless they demonstrate latest technology. If you are demonstrating new tech, show enough to motivate participants to explore the technology later. Refer to talks such as this: to structure your proposal.
  5. Similarly, we don’t accept talks on topics that have already been covered in the previous editions. If you are unsure about whether your proposal falls in this category, drop an email to:
  6. Content that can be read off the internet does not interest us. Our participants are keen to listen to use cases and experience stories that will help them in their practice.

To summarize, we do not accept talks that gloss over details or try to deliver high-level knowledge without covering depth. Talks have to be backed with real insights and experiences for the content to be useful to participants.

##Passes and honorarium for speakers:
We pay an honararium of Rs. 3,000 to each speaker and workshop instructor at the end of their talk/workshop. Confirmed speakers and instructors also get a pass to the conference and networking dinner. We do not provide free passes for speakers’ colleagues and spouses.

##Travel grants for outstation speakers:
Travel grants are available for international and domestic speakers. We evaluate each case on its merits, giving preference to women, people of non-binary gender, and Africans. If you require a grant, request it when you submit your proposal in the field where you add your location. Anthill Inside is funded through ticket purchases and sponsorships; travel grant budgets vary.

##Last date for submitting proposals is: 15 April 2018.
You must submit the following details along with your proposal, or within 10 days of submission:

  1. Draft slides, mind map or a textual description detailing the structure and content of your talk.
  2. Link to a self-recorded, two-minute preview video, where you explain what your talk is about, and the key takeaways for participants. This preview video helps conference editors understand the lucidity of your thoughts and how invested you are in presenting insights beyond the solution you have built, or your use case. Please note that the preview video should be submitted irrespective of whether you have spoken at previous editions of Anthill Inside.
  3. If you submit a workshop proposal, you must specify the target audience for your workshop; duration; number of participants you can accommodate; pre-requisites for the workshop; link to GitHub repositories and a document showing the full workshop plan.

##Contact details:
For information about the conference, sponsorships and tickets contact or call 7676332020. For queries on talk submissions, write to

Hosted by

Anthill Inside is a forum for conversations about Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning, including: Tools Techniques Approaches for integrating AI and Deep Learning in products and businesses. Engineering for AI. more

Vijay Srinivas Agneeswaran, Ph.D


Deep Learning Howlers: Downside of Learning only Statistical Regularities

Submitted May 3, 2018

It has been shown in a recent work (, that deep convolutional learning networks do not learn higher level abstract concepts, but only statistical regularities. We investigate this claim by taking open source deep learning libraries and testing them out.

It turns out that deep learning networks (espcially, the neuraltalk2 and img2txt) for image annotation perform howlers - funny mistakes. For instance, an image of goats climbing on trees is annotated with “birds flying in the air”, while an image of rocks is annotated as “elephant standing in the middle of a river”!! This talk outlines a few of these howlers with the actual images fed to these CNNs and what funny annotations they produce.

The intent is to explore deficiencies in existing deep learning networks. We also explore how CNNs cannot capture spatial relationships between objects in the image leading to more funny misclassifications. This talk again outlines some of the misclassifications.

The talk gives a brief overview of capsule networks, which have been recently proposed and which help in capturing spatial relationships between objects in the image. A capsule outputs a vector, as opposed to a neuron which only outputs a scalar. The length of a vector determines the probabalities of a capsule detecting low level objects, while the vector determines abstract internal state of the objects. We show how capsule networks avoid some of the above gaffes of CNNs.

The talk ends with a dive into deficiencies of the Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs) which are mainly computational. RNNs suffer from vanishing gradient problems which are overcome by LSTMs. LSTMs, however, are computationally expensive. We illustrate the use of hierarchical neural attention encoders as an alternative to LSTMs.


  1. convolutional neural networks and their deficiencies
  2. Image annotation howlers produced by neuraltalk2 and img2txt in TensorFlow including, goats climbing trees and being annotated as birds, while people lifting goats being annotated as people with dogs.
  3. Introduction to Capsule Neworks.
  4. Deficiencies of RNNs and how hierarchical neural attention encoders overcome these problems.


Basics of deep learning.

Speaker bio

Dr. Vijay Srinivas Agneeswaran has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science & Engineering from SVCE, Madras University (1998), an MS (By Research) from IIT Madras in 2001, a PhD from IIT Madras (2008) and a post-doctoral research fellowship in the LSIR Labs, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne (EPFL). He is now a Senior Director of Technology and heads data sciences team of SapientRazorfish in India. He has spent the last ten years creating intellectual property and building products in the big data area in Oracle, Cognizant and Impetus. He has built PMML support into Spark/Storm and realized several machine learning algorithms such as LDA, Random Forests over Spark. He led a team that designed and implemented a big data governance product for a role-based fine-grained access control inside of Hadoop YARN. He and his team have also built the first distributed deep learning framework on Spark. He is a professional member of the ACM and the IEEE (Senior) for the last 10+ years. He has four full US patents and has published in leading journals and conferences, including IEEE transactions. His research interests include distributed systems, data sciences as well as Big-Data and other emerging technologies. He has been an invited speaker in several national and International conferences such as O’Reilly’s Strata Big-data conference series. He was an editorial speaker at the Strata Data conference in London in May 2017 and will also be speaking at the Strata Data 2018 conference in San Jose. He is also in the program committee of Strata Data Singapore 2017 as well as Strata Data, San Jose, 2018. He lives in Bangalore with his wife, son and daughter and enjoys researching history and philosophy of Egypt, Babylonia, Greece and India.


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Hosted by

Anthill Inside is a forum for conversations about Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning, including: Tools Techniques Approaches for integrating AI and Deep Learning in products and businesses. Engineering for AI. more