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February 19-25, 2024



Summer School

USFQ - Quito, Ecuador
In-person event



Samy Bengio
Senior Director, AI and Machine Learning Research, Apple

Samy Bengio is a Canadian computer scientist, Senior Director of AI and Machine Learning Research at Apple and a former long-time scientist at Google known for leading a large group of researchers working in machine learning including adversarial settings.

Sara Hooker
Director, Cohere for AI

Sarah Hooker is a Director at Cohere and she leads Cohere For AI, a research lab that seeks to solve complex machine learning problems. She leads a team of researchers and engineers working on making large language models more efficient, safe and grounded. Prior to Cohere, Sarah was a research scientist at Google Brain doing work on training models that go beyond test-set accuracy to fulfill multiple desired criteria -- interpretable, compact, fair and robust.

Kevin Murphy
Research Scientist, Google DeepMind

Kevin was born in Ireland, but grew up in England. He got his BA from U. Cambridge, his MEng from U. Pennsylvania, and his PhD from UC Berkeley. He then did a postdoc at MIT, and was an associate professor of computer science and statistics at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, from 2004 to 2012. He currently manages a team of 12 researchers inside of Google DeepMind; the team works on generative models, Bayesian inference, and various other topics.

María Lomeli
Research Engineer, Meta

Maria Lomeli is a Research Engineer at Meta. Previously, she was a senior research scientist at Babylon Health, UK. Before that, she was a research associate, working with Zoubin Ghahramani at the Machine Learning group, CBL, University of Cambridge and a member of Trinity Hall college. Maria completed her PhD work at the Gatsby Unit, UC under the supervision of Yee Whye Teh.

Rubén Villegas
Senior Research Scientist, Google DeepMind

Ruben Villega is a Senior Research Scientist at Google DeepMind, where he works on generative modeling, self-supervised learning and multimodal learning in the video domain. Ruben is interested in effectively incorporating the time dimension to learn more general representations towards the goal of compositional generalization. He received his PhD from the Computer Science & Engineering Department at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor under the supervision of Professor Honglak Lee. Ruben also played for Ecuador's national basketball team.

Laura Montoya
Founder, Accel AI

Laura Montoya  is the founder and Managing Partner of Accel Impact Organizations, including Accel AI Institute, Latinx in AI (LXAI), and Research Colab. Her academic background is in Biology, Physical Science, and Human Development. She relocated to the San Francisco Bay area to work at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute before jump-starting her career in software engineering at Intuit revamping their Quickbooks online platform. She is a director with Women Who Code, advisor for Udacity’s AI and Data nano degree, and an affiliate with the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law.

Brayan Impatá
Applied Research Scientist, Amazon Research

Brayan Impatá, originally from Tuluá (Colombia), completed his studies at the University of Alicante (Spain). He earned a PhD on robotic grasping based on visual and tactile sensing. While on his PhD, Brayan carried out a research stay at the Northeastern University (Boston, USA) and an internship at Amazon Robotics AI (Berlin, Germany). Since 2020, Brayan is a full-time Applied Scientist at Amazon (Spain) working on computer vision and machine learning for product understanding.

Felipe Oviedo
Senior Applied Research Scientist, Microsoft Research

Felipe Oviedo works on applying AI to solve problems in the fields of sustainability, energy and health care. His research interests lie at the intersection of science and machine learning, including materials informatics, computational biology, and physics-informed machine learning. Prior to joining Microsoft, Felipe completed his PhD at MIT under the guidance of Prof. Tonio Buonassisi. Felipe’s dissertation title was “Accelerated development of photovoltaics by physics-informed machine learning”. He developed and deployed machine learning algorithms to accelerate the experimental screening, development and optimization of renewable energy materials and technologies.

Thamar Solorio
Professor of NLP, MBZUAI

Thamar Solorio is a professor of Computer Science at MBZUAI and at the University of Houston (UH). She is also the Director and founder of the RiTUAL Lab. She holds graduate degrees in computer science from the Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica, Óptica y Electrónica, in Puebla, Mexico. Solorio is a recipient of an NSF CAREER award, and of the 2014 Emerging Leader ABIE Award in Honor of Denice Denton. She is currently serving a second term as an elected board member of the North American Chapter of the Association of Computational Linguistics and was PC co-chair for NAACL 2019. She is co-Editor-in-Chief for the ACL Rolling Review (ARR) system and member of the ARR advisory board.

Luis Serrano
Developer relations, Cohere

Luis Serrano is the author of Grokking Machine Learning and the creator of the popular YouTube channel Serrano Academy. He is the developer relations lead at Cohere, and has created numerous AI courses in platforms like Udacity and Coursera. Luis worked in ML at Apple and Google, and has a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Michigan.

Pablo Sprechmann
Staff Research Scientist, Google DeepMind

Pablo Sprechmann is currently staff research scientist at Google DeepMind working on various aspects of artificial intelligence including deep reinforcement learning continual learning and memory augmented neural networks.  In 2012 he received the PhD degree in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota under the supervision of Prof. Guillermo Sapiro. He was a postdoctoral researcher with the ECE Department at Duke University in 2013 working with Prof. Guillermo Sapiro. From 2014 to 2016 he was a postdoctoral researcher at the CILVR (Computational Intelligence, Learning, Vision, and Robotics) Lab at New York University working with Prof. Yann LeCun.

José Cordova-García
Assistant Professor, ESPOL

José is an Assistant Professor with the Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering (FIEC) at ESPOL University. He received a MSc (2012) and a PhD (2017) in Electrical Engineering from the State University of New York at Stony Brook under the supervision of Xin Wang where I worked on data-driven monitoring and control of Smart Grids. He was the grantee of a Fulbright Scholarship during my masters studies. His research focuses in optimization and machine learning applications in Smart Grids and data networks.

Mara Fortuny
Research Assistant, USFQ

Mara Fortuny has been a computer scientist and researcher at Universidad San Francisco de Quito since June 2022. In this role, she is a key member of a multidisciplinary team composed of computer science and jurisprudence professors, dedicated to using data science and AI to combat corruption within Ecuador's public procurement system. In recognition of her contributions to the field and her academic achievements, Mara was the recipient of the Google-USFQ For Women in Computer Science Award in March 2023. I

Daniel Riofrío
Head of Computer Science Department, USFQ

Daniel Riofrío received his Master's and Doctorate in Computer Science from the University of New Mexico (USA). He is a full-time professor at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (Ecuador), where he serves as the Head of the Computer Science Program in the College of Sciences and Engineering. His research interests include novel applications of machine learning, computer vision, security, cybersecurity, and optimization techniques in radiotherapy and radiosurgery. He has been involved in electronic government topics with the aim of supporting public procurement processes in the country, through a project accompanied by the German Technical Cooperation GIZ.




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A two-day hands-on event where participants will learn how to specify and identify a Machine Learning task and will work to propose a new task. Participation can be individual or by groups. The hackathon will consist of tutorial sessions and working time with access to experts.

Each group will work torwards specify a problem that can be solved with AI, a bit like creating your own Kaggle competition.


  • Saturday 24, 9:30am - 4pm

  • Sunday 25, 9:30am - 2pm

Where?  USFQ Student Union, 3rd floor of the Hayek Building, right next to the Shakespeare Theater


  1. 3-minute pitch of their task

  2. A task or product specification document (template will be provided during the workshop).

Tasks will be evaluated across four axis:

  • Problem motivation and specification (impact, concreteness, success metrics, etc.)

  • Dataset (novelty, size, etc.)

  • Modelling (algorithms, initial results, baselines)

  • Product potential

There are awards for winning teams, some of the rewards include scholarships for future LATAM-AI conferences like KHIPU.

General FAQs

  • Where will the conference be held?

  • Can you recommend hotels in Quito for the conference?

  • How do I get to and from the venue?​​

    • Uber or taxis ​are quite affordable. If you would like to use taxis, we would recommend booking them through your hotel, for safety.

  • Will food be provided at the event?

    • We will be providing lunch for registered participants, as well as light coffee and snacks during the day.​

  • Will people who have not been registered be able to attend?

    • There is limited capacity in the theater, so unfortunately only people with a valid registration will be able to attend.

  • In what language will the talks be given?

    • Most talks will be in English. We will be able to provide simultaneous translation to Spanish for some.

  • Will the talks be live streamed?

    • We will not be live-streaming the talks. However, we are planning on recording them and ​making them available after the conference.

  • Will I receive a certificate of participation?

    • If required, we can provide a​ certificate of participation after the event.

  • Where can I sign up to present a poster with my work?

    • We will be sending out a call for posters in the next few weeks.

Travel grant FAQs

  • I received a travel grant, what does it cover?

    • Travel grants cover air/bus fare to/from Quito and lodging.

  • Does the travel grant cover food?

    • No. However, we will provide lunch during the conference and there are many hotels which provide breakfast.​

  • Will the travel grant cover taxis/Ubers during the week?

    • If you provide receipts for all of these, they can be covered, as long as they are within the limit provided in the e-mail you received.​

  • When will I receive the refund for the travel grant?

    • Refunds will be provided during the week of the conference. You will need to provide a receipt of all your expenses, as well as your bank​ information. Transfers will be made via PayPal.

  • I have a special situation where I will not be able to easily receive bank transfers, what can I do?

    • Please contact us directly, we will handle these situations on a case-by-case basis.

  • I did not receive a travel grant, is there still hope of receiving one?

    • As much as we would have loved to provide travel grants for everyone, we are working with a limited budget. If more budget arrives, or if some recipients decline the grant, we will go through the waitlist to provide grants for more people.​

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