Upcoming Events:

Workshop: Intro to Tree Search

Date: 2024/01/30 6:30-8pm

Location: Uvic, ECS 1st floor (room TBD)

Description: In advance of the UTTT tournament, this workshop provides the foundations for choosing optimal moves by simulating a couple steps ahead. Many tree search algorithms exist but this will focus on the core ideas. Open to all skill levels.

Hackathon/Tournament: Ultimate Tic Tac Toe

Date: 2024/02/03

Location: UVic Hickman Building, Room 105

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Description: Join us for a full-day hackathon event, similar in spirit to last year’s Battlesnake tournament. This exciting gathering concludes with a competitive tournament where your programming skills are tested against others. Your goal is to identify and integrate success metrics into a bot, programming it to outperform competing entries.

The challenge centers around Ultimate Tic Tac Toe an advanced variant of the classic tic tac toe, ideal for programming autonomous decision-making agents. Participants will need to create algorithms capable of determining the next best move in this complex version of the game.

Throughout the event, attendees will enjoy complimentary pizza and coffee, along with the opportunity to win cash prizes up to $500. Your programming approach can range from simple decision heuristics to comprehensive tree search strategies, or even advanced AI techniques.

We are hosting preparatory workshops on November 28th and January 30th. These workshops are designed to help participants get a head start in developing their code for the hackathon. Join us to learn, code, and win!

Event: Nerd Nite

Date: 2024/02/06 6:30-8pm

Location: UVic, ECS 1st floor (room TBD)

Description: This is a rapid-fire series of topics surrounding AI. Information to participate can be found here: Google Slides. Topics can include - but are not limited to - personal ML projects, non-Neural Network techniques, interesting datasets, useful libraries, or paper summaries.

Past Events:

Presentation: Time Series Forecasting

Date: 2023/12/05, 6:30-7:30pm

Location: Online (Zoom link to come)

Description: A talk on why, when, and how to build a time series machine learning model for forecasting future events (such as weather, stocks, traffic, health conditions, etc.). Time series forecasting is a major subfield of supervised machine learning with a wide range of applications. Everyone is welcome to join!

Workshop: Ultimate Tic Tac Toe Tournament Preparation

Date: 2023/11/28, 6:30-8:30pm

Location: UVic, ECS 124

Description: This workshop will help people write their first agent to compete in UVic AI’s Ultimate Tic Tac Toe tournament in January. We will introduce the game, basic strategies, and provide starter code to help you build your first autonomous playing agent. There will be free pizza and drinks!

UVic AI Ethics Conference

Date: 2023/11/26, 9:15am-2:30pm

Location: Online (register here)

Description: An online conference featuring 9 speakers from around the world who are working within technical AI alignment, AI policy and governance, and various other fields being affected by rapid AI development. Each talk will conclude with a Q&A, offering you the opportunity to engage with the speakers as well as other audience members. Everyone is welcome to attend (follow the link above to register).

Presentation: Transformers and Computer Vision Applications

Date: 2023/11/21, 6:30-7:30pm

Location: UVic, ECS 124

Description: This presentation will introduce the transformer, a relatively new deep learning model architecture underlying state of the art large language models. There will be a focus on the various applications that transformers have in the field of computer vision.

Presentation: Intro to AI Safety

Date: 2023/10/10, 6:30-7:30pm

Location: UVic, ECS 124

Description: This talk will cover the different types of AI risk (from job loss to existential catastrophe), why these problems are challenging, what efforts are being made right now, and how you can start working to avoid what many experts consider to be humanity’s greatest existential threat. This presentation requires no prerequisite knowledge - we warmly invite everyone to attend and learn!

Presentation: Intro to Large Language Models

Date: 2023/10/03, 6:30-7:30pm

Location: UVic, ECS 124

Description: This presentation will provide an in-depth, technical explanation of large language models, like ChatGPT, delving into their origins and the substantial training investments they require. We’ll begin with basic definitions and gradually progress to more advanced concepts by the end of the presentation.

Presentation: Neural Network Basics

Date: 2023/09/19, 6:30-7:30pm

Location: UVic, ECS 124

Description: A beginner-focused introduction to the foundations of neural networks using very simple examples to build up an intuition of this intimidating field. We’ll carefully explain important terminology then test what we’ve learned using a real-world dataset. The ideas we’ll cover are used throughout machine learning and provide a jumping off point for those who are just getting started. No programming or ML experience is expected or required.

Workshop: Intro to Neural Networks with TensorFlow

Date: 2023/07/29, 2-4pm

Location: Online or In-Person at UVic

Description: A beginner-friendly workshop on building and training neural networks with TensorFlow – one of the most widely used machine learning libraries. Some basic experience with Python is recommended, as attendees are encouraged to code along as we construct a deep neural network, train it on a dataset, and conduct experiments. This is an IEEE SkillDevs workshop that is being presented UVic AI members.

Presentation: Reinforcement Learning for a SENG499 Final Project

Date: 2023/07/17, 6:30pm

Location: UVic, ECS 116

Description: A presentation that covers how a team of UVic students are using reinforcement learning to solve the “course scheduling problem” for their SENG 499 capstone project.

Presentation: Neural Network Pruning

Date: 2023/06/26, 6:30pm

Location: UVic, ECS 116

Description: A presentation on methods of pruning neural networks to reduce model size, improve inference speed, and prevent over-fitting. This presentation was at a more intermediate level, and ended with a live example of pruning a model to show a massive reduction in model size, and even an increase in performance.

Presentation: Reinforcement Learning for Tetris

Date: 2023/06/19, 6:30pm

Location: UVic, ECS 124

Description: A presentation of a SENG 474 final project on training a reinforcement learning agent to play Tetris. This will be great for those interested in RL and/or those who will be doing a SENG 474 final project in the future.

Presentation: Battlesnake Reinforcement Learning Project

Date: 2023/06/12, 6:30pm

Location: UVic, ECS 116

Description: A detailed project presentation on how we built and trained an RL agent to play battlesnake from scratch using an AlphaZero-like self play algorithm.

Workshop: Intro to Autoencoders and Model Visualization

Date: 2023/05/29, 6:30pm

Location: UVic, ECS 124

Description: An interactive introduction to autoencoders and visualizations for testing model quality.

Workshop: Intro to Neural Networks

Date: 2023/03/28

Location: UVic, ECS 116

Description: A beginner-friendly workshop designed to help people with little to no prior machine learning experience build and train their first neural network.

Battlesnake Hackathon and Tournament

Date: 2023/03/10-11

Location: UVic, Hickman Building

Description: We organized and hosted Victoria’s official Battlesnake Tournament, where roughly 250 programmers across the city built their automated snake bots, then competed for over $2,000 in prizes.

Canadian Undergraduate Conference on AI

Date: 2023/03/04-05

Location: Kingston, Ontario

Description: The Canadian Undergraduate Conference on AI, CUCAI, was the largest undergraduate AI conference in Canada. Members from UVic AI attended the conference and presented our reinforcement learning battlesnake project, which we won the most innovative project award for.

Paper Review: AlphaGo Zero

Date: 2023/02/14

Location: UVic, ECS 128

Description: A review of DeepMind’s paper on how they built AlphaGo Zero: Mastering the game of Go without human knowledge.

Presentation: Intro to Proximal Policy Optimization

Date: 2023/02/07

Location: UVic, ECS 128

Description: An introduction to PPO, a type of model-free reinforcement learning algorithm.

Multi-speaker Event: AI Safety

Date: 2023/01/29

Location: Online

Description: We hosted an online AI Safety Event with guest speakers from OpenAI, AI Governance and Safety, and Effective Altruism.

Presentation: Convolutional Neural Networks for Battlesnake

Date: 2023/01/24

Location: UVic, ECS 128

Description: A presentation on how to use a CNN to teach an agent to play Battlesnake by analysing pre-played games for training data.

Presentation: Reinforcement Learning Basics with Battlesnake

Date: 2023/01/17

Location: UVic, ECS 128

Description: A presentation on a basic reinforcement learning method that can be used to play Battlesnake from self play.

Multi-speaker Event: AI in Victoria

Date: 2022/10/04

Location: Online

Description: A series of presentations on AI from active AI researchers and enthusiasts, from technical project showcasings to social impacts of art generating AI.

Workshop: Intro to Machine Learning

Date: 2022/09/22

Location: Online

Description: A beginner-friendly introduction to the 3 main categories of machine learning, followed by a basic reinforcement learning implementation that you can code along to.

Workshop: Intro to Q-Learning

Date: 2022/07/22

Location: Online

Description: A beginner-friendly introduction to the reinforcement learning method of Q-Learning, followed by two implemented projects that you can code along to (shortest path and cart pole).