Distinguished Speaker Series

In the ELLIS Distinguished Speaker Series ELLIS Alicante invites top AI researchers from around the world to present their work to the team of ELLIS Alicante. In collaboration with the University of Alicante, the event is open to any student and researcher of the university.


  • AI for social impact

    Abstract: How can data science and AI make a positive impact in our society and our planet? Scientific work across disciplines can have methodological, operational and policy impacts. I´ll share projects and lessons learned through my journey in academia, international organizations and as an entrepreneur where data science, complex systems and AI tools have been used in challenges from many different disciplines including basic biology research, personalized medicine, infodemics, human rights, or humanitarian response. I´ll also discuss in detail the work of Spotlab.ai developing and deploying AI for diagnostics and clinical research in applications from neglected tropical diseases to onco- hematological diseases.

    Short bio: Scientist, entrepreneur, policy advisor and engineering professor passionate about imagining, building and sharing responsible AI for humanity and the planet. Dr. Miguel Luengo-Oroz is the founder and CEO of Spotlab.ai, an AI platform for clinical research and universal diagnosis. Miguel is the former first Chief Data Scientist at the United Nations and has been the head of the data science teams across the network of UN Global Pulse labs. He has worked in many domains including global public health, infodemics, poverty, food security, refugees & migrants, conflict prevention, human rights, privacy, gender, hate speech, and climate. He is also a Professor at the doctoral school and board member at the Telecommunications School of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. Miguel serves on multiple international advisory boards around responsible AI and advises leadership on the impact of macro trends and frontier technologies for their organizations and society. Miguel has been awarded as an Obama Foundation Leader, Ashoka fellow, MIT TR35, EU Responsible Research & Innovation award, FRSA-UK, Red Cross Innovation award and La Caixa fellow. He holds a Ph.D. and MSc.Eng from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and a MSc from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales de Paris.

    Presenter: Dr. Miguel Luengo

    Date: 2024-01-31 14:00 (CET)

    Location: Distrito Digital 5, Muelle Pte., 5 – Edificio D, Alicante 03001, Alicante ES

  • Towards vision based Emotion AI

    Abstract: Emotions play a key role in human-human interactions and become one key focus in future Artificial Intelligence. There is a growing need to develop emotionally intelligent interfaces, which are able to read the emotions of the users and adapt their operations accordingly. Among the areas of application are human-robot interaction, emotional chatpots, health and medicine, on-line learning, user or customer analysis, and security and safety. This talk will provide an introduction to the emotional interfaces, and overviews our progress in related research. The research topics to be covered include facial (micro)-expression recognition, emotional gestures, remote heart rate measurement from videos and potential applications. Finally, some future challenges are outlined.

    Short bio: Guoying Zhao received the Ph.D. degree in computer science from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China, in 2005. She is currently an Academy Professor and full Professor (tenured in 2017) with University of Oulu. She is/was also a visiting professor with Aalto University and Stanford University. She is a member of Academia Europaea, a member of Finnish Academy of Sciences and Letters, Fellow of IEEE, IAPR and ELLIS. She was panel chair for IEEE conference on Automatic Face and Gesture (FG 2023), publicity chair of 22nd Scandinavian Conference on Image Analysis (SCIA 2023), co-program chair for ACM International Conference on Multimodal Interaction (ICMI 2021), co-publicity chair for FG2018, and has served as associate editor for IEEE Trans. on Multimedia, Pattern Recognition, IEEE Trans. on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology, Image and Vision Computing and Frontiers in Psychology Journals. Her current research interests include image and video descriptors, facial-expression and micro-expression recognition, emotional gesture analysis, affective computing, and biometrics. Her research has been reported by Finnish TV programs, newspapers and MIT Technology Review.

    Presenter: Guoying Zhao

    Date: 2023-11-23 11:30 (CET)

    Location: Salón de Grados del Edificio de Óptica, Carretera San Vicente del Raspeig s/n, San Vicente del Raspeig 03690, Alicante ES

    Online: https://vertice.cpd.ua.es/287855

  • Towards Unbiased LLMs from the Roots: Exploring Biases in Language Corpora

    Abstract: In the rapidly advancing field of Natural Language Processing (NLP), driven by the widespread adoption of Large Language Models (LLMs), biases inherent in these models mirror the broader societal biases present in the textual data they are trained on. One of the typical examples is the gender bias. For instance, LLMs inadvertently perpetuate stereotypes by linking certain professions or characteristics more strongly with a particular gender. This talk will examine the entire pipeline associated with biases in textual data sets (language corpora). We will discuss the most prevalent types of biases, investigate the methods to measure them and suggest techniques for debiasing the data. The talk will present relevant related work and provide useful insights into practical strategies for identifying and mitigating biases in textual data.

    Short bio: Erik Derner received his Ph.D. in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence from the Czech Technical University in Prague, Czech Republic, in 2022. Currently, he is an ELLIS postdoctoral researcher at ELLIS Alicante, working on human-centric AI research in the team of Dr. Nuria Oliver. The main objective of his research is to contribute to the development of fair and safe language models, specifically focusing on low-resource languages. His areas of interest comprise human-centric AI, large language models, robotics, computer vision, reinforcement learning, and genetic algorithms. He is a member of the ELLIS network.

    Presenter: Dr. Erik Derner

    Date: 2023-11-08 11:30 (CET)

    Location: Salon de Actos Politecnica IV, Carretera San Vicente del Raspeig s/n, San Vicente del Raspeig 03690, Alicante ES

  • Fast approximate matrix multiplication – theory and practice in AI hardware

    Abstract: Multiplying large, dense matrices is a key ingredient of deep networks, and state of the art architectures may spend more than 99% of time and energy consumption on matrix multiplication. Although fast matrix multiplication algorithms in time o(n^3) are known in the theoretical literature, they are impractical, and not used in the AI hardware and software ecosystem today. In this talk I will survey algorithms and heuristics for faster approximate matrix multiplication, and show the possible impact, as well as limitations, of such approaches on the future of deep learning. The results I will present will cover both academic research, as well as my more recent experience with cutting edge AI industry at deci.ai, where I have discovered a huge gap between the academic research and practical AI.

    Short bio: Nir Ailon is a Computer Science professor at Technion in Haifa Israel. He completed his PhD in 2006 at Princeton University, and then continued as a postdoc at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He has served as faculty at Technion since 2011, and also spent time at Google Research, Yahoo! Research, as well as at other industrial research labs. He is a recipient of an ERC Consolidator Grant. His research spans theory of algorithms, mathematical foundations of big data and machine learning. He is currently involved in research on AI acceleration at deci.ai

    Presenter: Prof Nir Ailon

    Date: 2022-04-07 11:30 (CEST)

    Location: Salon de Actos Politecnica IV, Carretera San Vicente del Raspeig s/n, San Vicente del Raspeig 03690, Alicante ES

  • AI Ethics: a challenging task

    Abstract: -

    Presenter: Prof. Ricardo Baeza-Yates

    Date: 2021-11-08 11:30 (CET)

    Location: University of Alicante, Carretera San Vicente del Raspeig s/n, San Vicente del Raspeig 03690, Alicante ES