European AI in the Heart of Paris: ELLIS UnConference Returns with Fresh Perspectives

Five days of lectures, poster sessions and interdisciplinary exchanges: At the end of July, 75 members of the ELLIS community met at the HEC Paris campus for the second ELLIS unConference.

The participant-driven event not only provided the opportunity to delve deeper into cutting-edge AI topics in person, but also offered live connections to ICML 2023 tutorials which took place in Hawaii at the same time.

As an integral collaborator for the second ELLIS unConference, Hi! PARIS played a pivotal role in shaping this engaging event. Renowned for fostering an environment of academic excellence and innovative research, Hi! PARIS’s partnership ensured the conference served as a hub for scientific exploration and open discussions.

The concept of the unConference left enough room for all participants to suggest topics and formats for the five-day agenda, giving them the opportunity to explore groundbreaking ideas and novel approaches in the field of AI and ML. Examples for topics discussed are: Optimal Transport; Kernel Methods and Generative Models; Trustworthy and Frugal ML; and Stochastic Optimization.

In person meeting opportunity and extended discussions

The conference’s flexible format allowed for extended discussions without the typical time constraints of larger gatherings. This facilitated information exchange, providing a vital in-person meeting opportunity for experts usually dispersed across Europe.

“Unconferences like this serve as an incubator for fresh ideas, providing an open platform for intellectual exchanges on a variety of AI and ML topics. The ability to connect with peers in person, share insights, and engage in extended discussions is invaluable to the progress of our field,” noted Eric Moulines, organizer of the ELLIS unConference and Scientific Co-Director of Hi! PARIS.

Thematic Workshops: Exploring New Horizons

In addition to the main program, the unConference will host multiple thematic workshops. These workshops aim to delve deeper into specific AI and ML topics, fostering in-depth discussions and collaborations among attendees.

Live connections to ICML in Hawaii

This year, the International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) – one of the most renowned annual events for the research community – took place in Hawaii in parallel. The ELLIS unConference in Paris offered a special extra for those who couldn’t attend the event in the US in person: Participants had the opportunity to connect live to ICML tutorials during evening sessions to keep up to date with the research presented there.

ELLIS unConference at HEC Paris
ELLIS unConference at HEC Paris
ELLIS unConference at HEC Paris

About the second ELLIS UnConference

The ELLIS UnConference was organized by Hi! PARIS in collaboration with HEC Paris, the ELLIS Institute Tübingen and the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems. It was funded in part by the state of Baden-Württemberg, Germany, and the ANR Chair “ANR 19-CHIA-0002”. The UnConference was the second of its kind, inviting participants to create the agenda themselves by suggesting topics and times for workshops, keynote talks and discussion sessions.


ELLIS is a pan-European AI network of excellence. It builds upon machine learning as the driver for modern AI and aims to secure lasting international leadership of AI made in Europe by connecting top researchers in this field and by creating a multi-centric AI research laboratory. Founded in 2018, ELLIS has grown into a network that counts 39 ELLIS units at world-class institutions in 14 countries, 16 ELLIS programs and a pan-European PhD program. The members of ELLIS are committed to shaping the future of AI in Europe by pushing the scientific and technological boundaries for human-centered, beneficial and safeAI.

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