We have all been waiting for this year to end, and we cannot believe what a rollercoaster of events it has held. But despite the struggles, Beirut AI continues the path to fulfill its mission and goals, with hopes of preserving the right of the talented to have access to Artificial Intelligence! Here’s what we’ve done this year for that purpose.
In January, back when we didn’t know what lockdown was, Beirut AI held its second AI Bootcamp, sponsored by Zaka, with 60 (!!) AI enthusiasts who gathered and teamed up to learn AI and compete in AI projects, each moving from #ZeroToHero in just a week! 🚀
In February, we held a Business AI workshop entitled “Introduction to Marketing Analytics” with 55 participants from different business backgrounds who got to learn about utilizing AI in the marketing domain!
And then, came COVID, and on March 25, 2020, we held our first technical online workshop “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence” for 45 attendees. In April, our second technical online workshop, entitled “Reinforcement Learning” given by Julia El Zini, was held, where around 35 participants attended and had the chance to dive into the vast field of RL in addition to a hands-on exercise where they coded along with the instructor to learn the different ways of applying Reinforcement Learning on real-world problems.
May held another Business AI workshop “Storytelling with Data” provided by Samer Salameh to around 30 participants who got to learn about the importance of dashboards and discover the metrics they can track by building their custom dashboards!
In June, we hosted our very FIRST University Hackathon, giving the floor to our student community to both expand their skills and put them to the test! We watched 65 students from different backgrounds and different universities come together into 15 teams to collaborate and create impactful solutions for Lebanon in just a couple of days. Their solutions revolved around solving problems related to the current situation facing the Lebanese public. It was truly a weekend filled with hope!
“Using Machine Learning Models for Image Classification”, our third technical online workshop, provided by Abdul Hamid Merii, took place on June 29, 2020, where Abdul Hamid explained the theory behind image classification and the 35 attendees got to code along in an exercise session, to learn the technical and practical aspects of image classification. Abdul Hamid demonstrated the practicality of image classification on a breast cancer detection problem. As a great wrap up, all profits from the workshop, a total of 800,000 LBP, were donated to the Lebanese Breast Cancer Foundation!
With the goal of helping the Lebanese community fight the high unemployment rates, we launched in July our Job Opportunities initiative on our website, where people from different industries can post AI or Data Science job opportunities at their companies and talented individuals can explore the available opportunities. We’re extremely happy to have 15 positions posted on our career site.
We successfully held our third AI Bootcamp this summer in mid-August, which was our first FULLY ONLINE AI Bootcamp, with over 70 attendees who got to receive nothing less than the full Bootcamp experience. The attendees were teaming up, providing creative solutions for some of the most troubling problems during our times, competing during the weekend, and even engaging and socializing through virtual networking sessions and fun games!
As we approached the last quarter of 2020, we began to think of how we can further push our community mission. We agreed to shift our focus from small, focused efforts to larger, higher impact activities. This winter, instead of our monthly technical workshops, bi-monthly business AI workshops, and quarterly gatherings, you got to see our quarterly “AI Weekend”!
AI Weekend was held in November, hosting three technical workshops for AI enthusiasts, three business AI workshops for business-oriented attendees, three meetups with AI professionals, and one discussion panel with experts from different fields who are applying AI in their domains. All in all, the AI Weekend hosted more than 120 attendees who got to learn about the impact AI has left on all industries and how to make use of this AI revolution in their respective fields.
With the AI Weekend, we ended our 2020 events and we’re getting ready for 2021. Stay tuned as the new year’s arrival will bring with it new projects and plans 🚀 We cannot wait to share them with you!
2021, here we come!