Event Review: The Virtual Machine Learning School Hosted by BigML

by David Weaver

Physical conferences, trade shows and other exhibitions cannot be fully replaced. There is something special about the atmosphere: meeting new people, catching up with old colleagues and friends, learning from industry experts and having a discussion with them after their presentations. Sadly, the in-person event world has been brought to a halt. We find ourselves in a situation that has required businesses to be agile and innovative when it comes to hosting and attending events in a time where we are all required to keep 2 meters distance from one another.

I was set to attend the Machine Learning School in Seville, Spain, hosted by BigML on March 26 and 27. After attending a similarly themed machine learning summer school last July, it was clear this was an opportunity that I didn’t want to miss. In fact, a fruitful partnership was formed between INFORM and BigML after last year’s event. This partnership is designed to further ingrain best-practice machine learning algorithms to the daily fight against financial crime with RiskShield.

As a result, INFORM was invited to speak at this year’s machine learning school in Seville to present its innovative Hybrid Artificial Intelligence approach. My colleagues, Roy Prayikulam and Kevin Nagel were tasked with demonstrating the power of combining knowledge-based and machine-learned models in the fight against fraud and financial crime.

Luckily, BigML was quick to shift into a virtual format and turned a potential disappointment into a fantastic opportunity. In the end, more than 2,500 registrations were received from 89 countries representing over 900 different companies and more than 460 education institutions.

The topic of machine learning was brought to a much wider audience than would have been possible at an on-site event in Seville. Yes, the in-person meetings would have been nice, but BigML even created virtual coffee breaks which allowed attendees to meet all the speakers and exchange knowledge.

Another positive side effect of the virtual event is the fact that the presentations are now available to an even wider audience, and I would like to draw attention to two very relevant sessions to the fraud and financial crime fighting community:

A Hybrid AI Approach to Tackling Fraud

Roy Prayikulam and Kevin Nagel, INFORM GmbH


In the video, Roy and Kevin explain how INFORM is using the power of RiskShield and BigML to implement the hybrid approach to fighting financial crime. While theoretical, the practical examples at the end provide insights into how RiskShield has moved beyond theory into practice.

Further highlighting the practical implementation of machine learning in the banking sector was the presentation by Jan Veldsink:

Benefits of Using ML to Monitor Low-Risk Customers

Jan Veldsink, Nyenrode University, Rabobank, Grio


This is an excellent case study from the perspective of a bank that is now using machine learning in various applications, including AML Compliance processes. Jan also provides insights into the organizational structures required to get a machine learning project up and running.

Closing thoughts

There is currently a machine learning summer school planned from July 7-10, 2020 in The Netherlands. Let’s all hope this event can happen in person, not only because it is important to gain knowledge in the field of machine learning, but even more importantly, for the sake of our health, well-being and economies. But if it will not happen, keep an eye out for the virtual version!

For more information on the virtual summit that took place at the end of March, visit the BigML blog.


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About the author

  • David Weaver worked at INFORM GmbH from 2011 to 2022, focusing primarily on fraud prevention and compliance.

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