The Masters Series – Conversational Interfaces
with Dr Robert Ross

Natural spoken conversational interfaces have been the long term goal for AI researchers for many decades. Recently, deep learning has facilitated huge improvements in the quality of supervised learning for speech recognition and synthesis, combined with recent advances in reinforcement learning. These trends taken together have finally brought the conversational interface from the lab and into the office, home and even car. These advances make use of many different machine learning algorithm types, and typically rely on multiple components being brought together smoothly. As a result, one of the biggest challenges for the professional is understanding the range of techniques and platforms that are available and how they relate to specific business goals.

Through code examples, discussion and interaction with working systems, this masterclass will guide the professional through the range of models, techniques and frameworks that come together in building conversational agents of different intelligence levels. The course will allow the professional to understand the role of key components in the conversational interface, and to develop the techniques to apply these components to develop concrete working applications.

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Info and Costs

Date : Tuesday 23rd June and Thursday 25th June

Time : 9.30am – 1 pm

Duration : 1 day

Price : €325
Discounts are available for multi-class passes.

Location : Online Classroom

Should I Attend?

If you are familiar with fundamental concepts in machine learning and data manipulation, as well as the basic principles of database query and want to know more about Conversational Interfaces, this Master Class is for you. Specifically, you should be comfortable building and evaluating classification models and understand the role of training data in supervised learning. Code demonstrations and live systems will be provided in python making use of the Keras wrapper for Tensorflow and scikit-learn. You won’t need knowledge of Deep Learning or Natural Language Processing for this masterclass, though code examples and systems deployed will build on these techniques. A list of specific functionalities with which you should be familiar, and suggested online revision materials, will be sent to you before the workshop.

What will I Learn?

This workshop has been designed to equip you with a working understanding of the most important conversational interface techniques, and the skills to build real-world-relevant solutions that can be customised to specific business needs. After completing the workshop you will be able to:

  • Understand the key components of task-independent and task-dependent conversational systems
  • Build end-to-end task-independent chat oriented systems
  • Differentiate between the roles of supervised and reinforcement learning in conversational system development
  • Deploy a task oriented conversational system
  • Understand the role of transfer learning and customization in conversational systems development

The Master
Dr. Robert Ross

Dr. Robert Ross is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Computer Science DIT. Robert has a BSc and MSc by Research from University College Dublin, and a PhD from the University of Bremen in Germany. Robert’s research interests are primarily in the areas of Dialogue Systems and more recently in the application of machine learning and deep learning techniques to unstructured data including text, sensor data streams and video. Robert is a Funded Investigator in the SFI funded ADAPT Research Centre and a Principle Investigator in the EI Funded CeADAR Centre.