July 14, 2018

UTC Hosts National Machine Learning Conference in the Innovation District

Getting the right data at the right time can mean the difference between life and death in the emergency room. Sharing how this is done—and continuing to perfect and research ways to do it better—was the inspiration behind the UTC Smart Cities Initiative’s new conference series that kicked off at The Edney in June. The day-long event focused on how applied deep/machine learning (or Artificial Intelligence) research can impact the advancements of real-world applications in healthcare, smart grids, and city services.

“We had a fantastic discussion about recent progress in using machine learning to understand large databases of digital data, as well as the many challenges—technical and otherwise—that remain,” said Dave Kale, a researcher with the University of Southern California who specializes in extracting insight from digital data in healthcare and other fields.

Industry experts from Volkswagen and Ford National joined national researchers at The Edney to discuss lessons learned and methods for accelerating innovation. The audience included city officials and executives from EPB, Erlanger Health System, Oak Ridge National Lab, TVA and companies like Very, Skuid, and Docity who rely on complex data systems and see the benefits of making the Chattanooga deep learning ecosystem as sophisticated as possible.

Jeff McGehee of Very, a product development company based in Chattanooga, pointed out that, “It is important to launch quickly in the startup world, so we leverage machine learning APIs and pre-trained models to get a product to market. Once we have a model in production, we can go back and investigate custom implementations that may outperform an out of the box solution.” During the mobility discussion, Volkswagen’s Director of State Government Relations Nicole Barranco spoke about the partnerships between research and industry as a major competitive advantage in global markets and the importance of safety testing for mobility in authentic city settings.

Given that the building sector consumes 40% of the energy used in the US, another panel investigated the use of data for increasing energy efficiencies. As an architect, Dominique Davidson of Kansas City’s PlanIT Impact shared the ways the company’s patented process projects 3D Schematics that show the proposed buildings’ environmental impacts.

Attendees walked away with a higher appreciation of Chattanooga’s collective muscle in applying advanced research and incorporating next-generation technologies into business practices and city services. The impressive mix of industry and academic representatives demonstrated that UTC’S Smart Cities & Urban Science and Technology Initiative is becoming a leading presence for steering innovation in Chattanooga. To keep up with the latest breakthroughs in Smart Cities research you can also follow UTC’s blog.