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Monday, May 07, 2018

'When I came to Malmö I didn't want to go anywhere else' | The Local Sweden

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MY SWEDISH CAREER: British particle physicist Abbey Waldron talks to The Local about why it is important to help entrepreneurs and scientists navigate the world of artificial intelligence and machine learning by Emma Löfgren

Abbey Waldron mentoring at a Computer Science Retreat.
Photo: Private

Computer science is growing at lightning speed, with some of the largest strides in recent years being taken in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. But the challenge is to make sure that all tech entrepreneurs, researchers and innovators are able to keep up with and benefit from the breakthroughs.

"I think if there are things in the world holding science back, this is one of them: making sure that people who are doing research have the right skills," Malmö-based particle physicist Abbey Waldron emphasizes.

This hurdle prompted her and her colleague Muriel Grobler to ask the question: well, what if we get people who want to learn these skills and apply them to their research in a room together, and teach them?

"A lot of people want to get into the field of AI but don't really know how, and a lot of the latest developments happened after they left university. There are a lot of things that happened in the past five or six years that you never had a chance to study if you graduated ten years ago," says Waldron.

She got her PhD from the University of Oxford in 2012 and has since worked in the fields of machine learning and education in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and now Malmö, Sweden.

Together with Grobler she set up Computer Science Retreat, a course where developers and scientists can come, bring their own projects and learn how to apply the latest AI tech to them. It is based in Austin, Texas, where Grobler lives, and Malmö, where Waldron moved around a year ago.

The Briton ended up in the southern Swedish city by chance. She had left the Netherlands and was travelling around Europe when she one day went across to Sweden from Copenhagen for the day for an event at Foo Café – a meeting hub for people interested in tech and media. It was love at first sight.

"I had realized Rotterdam wasn't the city for me. So I travelled around, I went to Berlin, Copenhagen and then when I came to Malmö I didn't want to go anywhere else."
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Source: The Local Sweden