When I came to UCLA, I wasn’t a computer science major. In fact, my entire computer science experience could be attributed to a single semester high school class, and I definitely didn’t know a thing about machine learning. Deciding to switch into the major for me felt like joining a race an hour after everyone else had already left the starting line. I felt lacking – both in my knowledge and confidence. But I had the support of my friends and the culture of inclusion among the people I have met, and that gave me a lot of courage. I am so incredibly grateful for that and that’s why I decided to join ACM AI Outreach.
I enjoy being a part of ACM AI for many reasons. I am interested in the field we study, I like to teach others, and I believe in the mission of our club. I am uncertain about what I will pursue beyond college, but right now I have found a couple things I like. I enjoy studying math and machine learning and secondly I really enjoy teaching and I wish to continue following these interests. Additionally, I really like our group of volunteers and how we have a lot of freedom with our work. This way nobody is forced to throw together half effort projects and we are able to keep high standards.
I believe ACM AI has a lot of strengths which makes what we do very important. My reason for continuing in ACM AI is that we are in a privileged position to have a good education and we have the resources to share it with others. If I can share what I learn at UCLA to my community it makes the cost of an education go down and hopefully it increases the level of education for people. Additionally, by teaching a more diverse class of students we can increase the diversity of colleges and academic fields!
It’s hard to believe that less than a year ago, I was sitting in the ACM Clubhouse with nine strangers and no idea what I was getting myself into. I knew I liked AI and I liked teaching, so ACM AI Outreach seemed like a good fit. But, as cheesy as it may sound, the committee I joined went wayyyy beyond AI and teaching.
What I Most Love
The thing you hear most about when you ask anyone on ACM/ACM AI/ACM AI Outreach/Events what they like most about their organization is always the people. I wish I could come up with something more original to say, but it’s true. While at first I was incredibly intimidated by them, Arjun and Sharvani quickly became my UCLA role models. They could do anything—they literally organized a whole high school course and hackathon for the queer community among tons of other things??????? Everyone preaches about inclusivity and accessibility, including myself, but people rarely actually take action to bend our society towards those ideals (including myself). But somehow Arjun and Sharvani found ways to fight for things they’re passionate about while researching in labs and going to parties and getting good (I think?) grades and holding officer positions in other clubs and somehow finding the time to go hiking too, all while maintaining their sanity. It blew my mind that people could be this productive, passionate, and good for the world, and I think this is the 2943039th time I’ve expressed this sentiment, but I’ll never stop because I think everyone needs to be like them.
I can still remember the night I applied to join the Outreach team: 11:50pm in a Hedrick Summit lounge, 9 minutes before the application deadline, hesitating whether or not it was even worth the shot. I thought to myself… You Only
Look Live Once… so I applied on a limb—a decision I am ever so grateful for…
Coming into UCLA, I had no experience with computer science, let alone AI. The math, notation, and coding I had glimpses of in the past were daunting, yet still I was captivated. So I applied to ACM AI Outreach on a whim. I knew there was a chance that I’d be a little foreign to the material, but I just went for it. And I am beyond glad that I did.
After a year with ACM AI Outreach + Events, there are a few things that stick out to me most. Firstly, I love how passionate everyone is about not just AI but also mentoring younger students who otherwise might not feel welcome to explore CS, let alone ML. I’m grateful to the senior officers for being patient with me as I struggle to understand the concepts I’m supposed to be teaching (whoops). Furthermore, I’m continually inspired by the dedication of my fellow officers to producing quality educational content—like c’mon, have you SEEN the slides on supervised learning or convolutional neural networks? They’re beautifully done presentations: memes, basketballs, and all.
Aaaah it’s been a whole year since Outreach started, and I’m still shocked by how large it has grown in such a short time! All of this started in Summer 2019 with just Sharvani and I really trying to shoot for the moon. We were both passionate about making an AI education accessible to everyone, i.e. non-CS majors, youth in the Greater LA area, etc. We met multiple times a week that summer, making as much content as possible for the NHHS AI/ML course and Demystifying AI course. But, we were just two people… Organizing and sustaining the high school course began devouring our time, which led to a subpar, yet respectable, Demystifying AI on the ethics and AI behind self-driving car. We found ourselves unable to achieve all our ideas.
I arbitrarily applied for an interview with ACM AI outreach because I enjoy teaching concepts and I had recently been introduced to machine learning, and that decision has helped me grow a lot in my first year at college. Learning topics on my own and then discussing my doubts and ideas with likeminded people has been a very productive experience.
Have a deep neural network that is suffering from overfitting? Check out this fantastic technical blog post on Dropout regularization, written by the talented Nisha McNealis and Aman Oberoi (Outreach Officers 2020-2021).
Got a deep neural network whose internal covariate shift is ruining your day? Check out this awesome technical blog post on Batch Normalization, written by the amazing Jason Jewik and Maya Raman (Outreach Officers 2020-2021).
Calling all optimization-curious individuals! Check out this interesting technical blog post on the Adam optimizer, written by the brilliant Kai Tota and Mat Ruíz (Outreach Officers 2020-2021).
Hi, everyone! UCLA ACM AI’s technical blog has been revived 😃 Check out our first technical blog post on Learning Neural Templates for Text Generation, written by Arjun Subramonian (Outreach Director 2020-2021).
It’s October, which means attending your first classes, making new friends, and of course, finding what to get involved with on campus! A warm welcome from UCLA ACM AI to all of our freshmen, transfers, and returning students; we just wanted to take a moment to introduce our organization.
Our first reading group met on Week 2 of Winter Quarter 2018, and we wanted to go over some of the key papers regading recent advancements in Convolutional Neural Networks. To this end, we read the AlexNet paper, GoogLeNet (Incepetion modules) paper, and the ResNet paper. During our discussion, we dove deep into a discussion on the AlexNet paper and the ConvNet architecture in general. These are some notes regarding the important points of the paper, and you can find the corresponding slides here.
Slides for the workshop are available here.
Today, we read a paper that presents a higher level overview of machine learning, the core of the learning problem and makes it difficult, and many valuable insights relating to a model’s ability to generalize and how to prevent overfitting. We thought this paper was valuable because while it did not discuss in detail specific machine learning algorithms or rigorous optimization and probabilility theory, it reminded us of the core problems all of us are trying to solve using machine learning.
A link to the slides given at the workshop is available here. This week’s workshop is best viewed as a downloaded Jupyter notebook, so we’d recomment downloading the Pandas Tutorial and the Kaggle Starter notebooks.
A link to the slides given at the workshop is available here.
Last Week’s Review
Welcome to our website! We are the premiere artificial intelligence and machine learning group here at UCLA, and we’re a committee under the umbrella organization, UCLA ACM.