To bridge the widening talent gap for new-age technologies, Amazon India is gearing up for the second edition of Machine Learning Summer School (MLSS) in July 2022, followed by the Machine Learning Challenge in August. Launched as pilot programs last year, both initiatives have grown in scope and size to serve a wider pool of students interested in machine learning as a career opportunity.
Over 300 students from 20 colleges participated in ML Summer School last year. This year, the program will welcome over 3000 students from campuses across India. MLSS and ML Challenge will provide students with a 360-degree view of machine learning and equip them with skills to build a long-term career in the new-age technologies. Participants will gain a better understanding of ML through virtual classroom sessions, interactive Q&A sessions with Amazon scientists, and exposure to the Amazon Research Days conference.
High demand for ML skills
The application of ML has become increasingly prevalent in sectors like education, healthcare, and e-commerce, resulting in a big rise in demand for this skill. According to a recent media report, this demand is unmet due to a widening gap in the supply of the niche talent, currently only at 28%. The report further states that this could lead to a shortage of over 140,000 employable tech talent from Indian universities. ML Summer School and ML Challenge hope to fill this void by upskilling college students in the final year of college, and opening doors to new opportunities and innovations.
What to expect at ML Summer School
ML Summer School features eight specially designed modules taught by the best ML scientists at Amazon. The modules extensively cover ML essentials like Supervised Learning, Deep Neural Networks, Sequential Models, Dimensionality Reduction, Unsupervised Learning, Reinforcement Learning, and Causal Inference.
Our aim with ML Summer School is to equip students with the necessary practical experience to prep them for science roles ahead.
Rajeev Rastogi, VP of International Machine Learning at Amazon, says that MLSS will provide students with best-in-class training on a broad range of topics, which are at the core of modern machine learning — from fundamentals to state-of-the-art. "The tutorial sessions covering the right mix of theoretical and practical knowledge will be delivered by our ML scientists who are experts in their field. This program will be a platform to help foster ML excellence and strive towards developing applied science skills in young talent. Our aim with ML Summer School is to equip students with the necessary practical experience and prepare them for science roles ahead."
Vineet Chaoji, a senior Applied Science Manager for machine learning at Amazon adds that a broad spectrum of opportunities are opening up for students in ML. Says Chaoji, "To ensure that students are ready to make the most of these opportunities, Amazon is launching ML Summer School – a skill building program that provides students with the right mix of knowledge to excel."
ML Summer school is designed to build a strong foundation in key ML technologies and is a step towards assisting students to chart out careers in the field.
At the end of each module, the program will host Q&A sessions to ensure students interact with Amazon scientists. The program spans four weekends, covering one module a day. Participants will also have assignments to facilitate hands-on learning.
Underlining the benefits of joining ML Summer School, Suman Yadav - APAC Director of Student Programs at Amazon, says, "Apart from helping students gain hands-on experience, participants will also get access to the Amazon Research Days conference later this year in November. Each year, ARD brings the scientific community at Amazon together with industry leaders and academic researchers in the field of AI/ML, providing students an opportunity to interact with and learn from the best in the field."
What is the ML Challenge about?
Amazon launched the ML Challenge to engage with the best student talent in India. The two-stage competition gives students a unique opportunity to work on an Amazon dataset to build innovative solutions for real-world problem statements.
Sharing his experience from last year's ML Challenge, Naman Khetan — a student from IIT ISM, Dhanbad — says, “The ML Challenge was both fun and intense - truly a one-of-a-kind experience. Participating in such competitions is the best way to learn ML. Amazon did a great job by motivating young minds like us to dive deep into the field of artificial intelligence. I'm looking forward to more such challenges in the future.”
For this year's ML Challenge, teams that place high on the leaderboard will be invited to present their solutions to Amazon's scientists at a livestreamed finale event. Winners of the finale will receive pre-placement interviews for ML roles with Amazon, as well as cash prizes and certificates. (Amazon also recognizes and rewards the top 100 participating teams with certificates and swag!)
Students of ML Summer School can participate in Amazon ML Challenge to practice hands-on application of skills acquired via the learning modules. Says IIT Guwahati student Debarshi Chanda, "It was a great learning experience for me. Dealing with real world data was unusual, but we eventually came up with a strategy to make use of the entire training data. I learned a lot of things and also tried a lot of things!"