13 September 2022
Unite! Summer School offered hands-on take on machine learning
The Unite! Summer School on Human-Centered Machine Learning in August 2022 attracted over 60 students for two weeks at Aalto University in Finland. The summer course was taught by a group of professors from Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Politecnico di Torino, Technische Universitat Darmstadt and Aalto University.
AI and Machine learning are the most powerful tools organisations are using today to make informed decisions, attract new customers and find new sources of revenue. The course offered an innovative and hands-on take on current machine learning systems’ main components and combinations.
”The Unite! Summer School is an exciting experience for students and educators. Students learn in an amazing and friendly environment about machine learning from a human-centered perspective. Educators can meet students beyond the classroom and catch better their expectations. Organization of the course was excellent, no words can express my gratitude for that wonderful time. I'm sure all of us are eager to give continuity to this initiative”, states the course teacher Cecilio Angulo, Professor in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics at ​Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC)

What did students think of the summer school?

Responsive imageDidrik Munther from KTH chose this summer school because he had never done anything similar before and it sounded exciting to go abroad. The thing that surprised him was the overall quality of the course. He especially liked the perfectly set up labs, lectures and enthusiastic teachers. ”I had a similar course at KTH, but there was still much to learn since this course is much more human/privacy-centered. The lecture with the Italian professor Luca Vassio taught me some things that I didn't learn at KTH, such as anonymizing data. Also one thing that surprised me was the cheap student prices for the food in the canteens, this does not exist in Sweden. Aalto has also been the nicest university I've visited and I really like the modern design of the houses”, said Didrik.

See what Pablo De Ramon, a student from UPC, thought about the summer school:

Responsive imageKarolina Drobotowicz, a doctoral student at Aalto University, was able to resurrect her machine learning skills and learn about the novelties in the field. ”I wanted to listen to the human-centredness of machine learning from the engineer’s perspective. I talked about it with designers, social scientists or ethicists - but rarely with developers”, said Karolina whose research focuses on the topic of trustworthy AI in the public sector. She liked the interesting questions and practices that the main teacher Alex Jung from Aalto University brought up as well as the lectures on ethics and legal aspects of AI from invited researchers. “I think it is great and well needed to include these any time students are learning about new technologies. I am happy to see how the technology-focused field is switching towards human-centredness, but I would have liked us to dig deeper into the technical trade-offs between eg. transparency and privacy, explainability and
accuracy, and possibility for benefit vs risk”, explained Karolina.

Blended intensive programmes offer new and more flexible forms of mobility

The course was an Erasmus+ funded Blended Intensive Programme (BIP) offered in collaboration with Unite! and Aalto University Summer School. Blended intensive programmes offer new and more flexible forms of mobility, in which physical mobility is combined with virtual learning. The course included one online
lecture, and the lectures were streamed and recorded for students. In addition, students are expected to work on their final project while at their home universities.

"I was very pleased to see the interest this course has generated amongst students in different fields of engineering, not only on the machine learning topic but also in their enthusiasm to apply it to their own projects. We aim to create a truly unique experience for the course participants through diverse perspectives from students and the international teaching team," explained Program Manager Marcela Acosta.

The course teachers were
  • Alexander Jung, Assistant Professor in Machine Learning, Aalto University
  • Shamsiiat Abdurakhmanova, University teacher, Aalto University
  • Cecilo Angulo, Professor in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, ​Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC)
  • Yoonjoo Cho, University lecturer in Intercultural Communication, Aalto University
  • Kristian Kersting, Professor in Machine Learning, Technische Universitat Darmstadt
  • ​Professor Nitin Sawhney, head of the CRAI-CIS (CRitical AI and Crisis Interrogatives) research group, Aalto University
  • Luca Vassio, Assistant Professor of SmartData in the area of Telecommunication and Networking at Politecnico di Torino