Deep Learning Indaba

Since 2017, Deep Learning Indaba has enabled a yearly pilgrimage of students, researchers and developers to meet and share knowledge on ML advances as a community.

The Challenge

Africa has traditionally been marginalised in global science, and progress in science and technology is still dominated by the Global North. In the fields of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), there is still a big disparity in opportunities between Africa and the West. Quality advanced education in AI and ML is concentrated outside Africa. Overcoming this inequality is necessary to support innovation and a growing high-technology industry in Africa. Across the continent, there is immense talent that could be empowered to creatively impact the world using AI and ML.

With recent advancements in AI and its foreseen scale of impact, inequality and bias inadvertently surfaces in creation of real life AI systems. Visible African participation in the AI scene is paramount in efforts to ensure diversity and non-bias in real life AI systems.

The Deep Learning Indaba exists to celebrate and strengthen machine learning in Africa through state-of-the-art teaching, networking, policy debate, and through our support programmes, such as the IndabaX and the Kambule and Maathai awards. We work towards the vision of Africans becoming critical contributors, owners, and shapers of the coming advances in AI and ML.
With the IndabaX program currently running events in 27 African countries, the Deep Learning Indaba fosters partnerships between different research and tech communities in Africa. Our communities work together toward reducing inequalities in AI and ML education, and the application of these technologies in industry in Africa.

Deep Learning Indaba - IndabaX 2019

Predicted Outcomes

Since 2017, Deep Learning Indaba has enabled a yearly pilgrimage of students, researchers and developers to meet and share knowledge on ML advances as a community. Through the IndabaX events in 27 African countries, a distributed model of growth and leadership development has been established. Thus far, our efforts have resulted in positive community building within the African machine learning community. Our desired outcomes are:

  • Motivation of scientists and innovators to further their work through recognition of their efforts (Kambule and Maathai Awards);
  • Training and knowledge transfer for over 3000 students and practitioners in AI, ML and data science;
  • Increased African participation, innovation and visibility in the advances being made around AI;
  • Fostering of local ML leadership in individual countries across our continent;
  • Prototyping and proving a carbon-light model of research exchange through the IndabaX model;
  • Realising a self-sustaining African movement, where the Deep Learning Indaba has “broken out of gravity” and the majority of funders come from the African continent.

Support Required

The Deep Learning Indaba invites support in the following ways:

Funding: One of the key values of the Deep Learning Indaba is inclusion. It is especially important the Indaba is affordable, and that no-one is excluded because of their financial background. This manifests in visible and in subtle ways. Visibly, in the provision of scholarships to deserving bright students from across Africa. And subtly, in the provision of common meals for everyone attending the Indaba.

Prizes: In recognition of excellence in research and innovation in Africa, both the Kambule and Maathai Awards 

Mentors and technical expertise: The Deep Learning Indaba meeting, as well as the many IndabaX events, always benefit from creative mentors. Mentors could be speakers, panelists, developer evangelists, data scientists and engineers.

Hardware: We seek hardware partners, who can provide the necessary teaching at the intersection of embedded devices, the “Internet of Things”, intelligent computing and AI.

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