Salesforce Research Asia’s First Sponsorship for AI Summer School 2020

By: Allison Ching

August 3 - 7, 2020. Fully virtual sessions.

At Salesforce Research Asia, we aim to play a more active role in raising awareness to the exciting possibilities surrounding the use of AI in real-world application domains, data innovation challenges and issues, as well as to highlight our work in the AI field to the local and regional community. As such, we’re excited to share our first experience as Gold sponsors of AI Summer School 2020, which happened Monday August 3 through Friday, August 7. This event brought together students, academic researchers, and industrial practitioners across the Data Science and AI communities to educate and foster collaboration among the next generation of researchers.

There were many speakers at the event, and one of them was our Singapore-based researcher Li Junnan. Specializing in Computer Vision, Junnan gave a 60-minute talk on “Self-supervised Deep Learning”, one of the most popular topics in AI with exciting breakthroughs.  

Self-supervised Deep Learning focuses on training deep models using unlabeled data which can be freely acquired. In his talk, Junnan discussed Prototypical Contrastive Learning (PCL) which is proposed by Salesforce Research. PCL bridges contrastive learning with clustering, and achieves state-of-the-art performance for self-supervised learning.

Throughout the conference, participants were introduced to the fundamentals of AI as well as more advanced concepts. The program included lectures, tutorials, hands-on sessions, panel discussions, industry talks, poster sessions, online social events, and many more.

Five of our Salesforce Research Asia team members attended the event. Four of the passes went to our Industrial PhD Program trainees, who are simultaneously pursuing their PhD at top local universities while also doing amazing research work at Salesforce. Our lead applied scientist Soujanya Lanka had the fifth pass. Let’s hear their thoughts on attending this event.

“The AI Summer School program gave me a lot of exposure on various popular topics in AI. The topics not only focused on academic but also application in industry and even job hunting in the field. I benefited a lot from these talks. Overall, it’s a great experience!” - Liu Hualin, IPP trainee

“I learned that apart from model generalization, it is also important to preserve data privacy and model robustness to adversarial attack via differential privacy. Additionally, it was great to see that AI summer school also focused on ethical considerations in AI design. Not having a good governance and policy can harm the AI adoption in sensitive industries such as healthcare. It is interesting to realize that explainable AI can play a role in improving few shot classification accuracy.”- Anthony Tiong, IPP trainee

“What interests me are Ethics and Governance of AI by Prof Leong Tze Yun, Trustworthy machine learning by Asst Prof Reza Shokri, SGInnovate panel with Mila Applied AI: From Academia to Industry. The program is well-run and I like that session recordings were available. It’s good for getting exposure to different topics, but easy to get lost for some of the more technical topics if you’re not already familiar with them.” - Samson Tan, IPP trainee

“Wide topics were covered, they demonstrate the bridge between research and production with good examples. Interesting perspectives on ethics, trustfulness and explainable AI. A 3-4 day workshop related to conference topics will be more beneficial.” - Wang Weishi, IPP trainee

AI Summer School has been unique experience by having lectures that are very relevant to ML practitioners. Like the lectures by Han Qiao or Dr. Trọng-Nghĩa Hoàng, there is ample practical knowledge shared that can help with hands-on ML work. Keynotes from Industry showed the latest norms of the day which makes valuable learning points for any level of practitioner in ML. What I found most interesting is using AI/ML in Healthcare by Dr. Richard Morris. Pretty interesting to see how data is being captured and utilized to build AI agents that can help in preventive measures, chronic monitoring and relapse prediction ahead.” - Soujanya Lanka, Lead Applied Scientist

With the successful conclusion of AI Summer School 2020, Salesforce Research Asia looks forward to supporting more local and regional conferences in the future. To read more about us, please visit