Amazon's Ralf Herbrich kicked off our second Amazon Academy in Brussels on May 16 with a strong scientific focus built around the theme “Europe’s next generation of innovation: How to enable individual scientists and researchers.”

As Keynote speaker, Herbrich, Amazon’s Director of Machine Learning Science, gave a speech on how Europe can lead innovation in sectors like the Internet of Things and Machine Learning.

Ralf joined Amazon in November 2012 and heads up Machine Learning for Amazon in Europe, based in Berlin. He is a computer scientist with a PhD in Statistics.

Other participants included Pierre-Philippe Mathieu - Earth Observation leader with the European Space Agency and Grega Milcinski - CEO of Sinergise, a company that produces software for advanced geospatial applications. Michela Magas - European Woman Innovator of the Year 2017 and CEO of Stromatolite Design Innovation Lab a place developing futures concepts for international clients including Apple, Nike and Nokia and Maryline Fiaschi, Managing Director, Science|Business which publishes original research and analysis on European innovation policy.

Amazon Academy panel

Ralf Herbrich - Director for Machine Learning Science at Amazon

Ralf Herbrich is currently Director of Machine Learning Science at Amazon. In 2011, he worked at Facebook leading the Unified Ranking and Allocation team. From 2009 to 2011, he was Director of Microsoft's Future Social Experiences (FUSE) Lab UK working on the development of computational intelligence technologies on large online data collections. He holds both a diploma degree in Computer Science in 1997 and a Ph.D. degree in Statistics in 2000 from TU berlin. Ralf's research interests include Bayesian inference and decision making, computer games, kernel methods and statistical learning theory. Ralf is one of the inventors of the Drivatars system in the Forza Motorsport series as well as the TrueSkill ranking and matchmaking system in Xbox 360 Live. He also co-invented the adPredictor click-prediction technology launched in 2009 in Bing's online advertising system.

Michela Magas - European Woman Innovator of the Year 2017 and CEO of Stromatolite Design Innovation Lab

Michela Magas is an innovation catalyst who bridges the worlds of science and art, design and technology, and academic research and industry, with a track record of over 20 years of innovation. In 2017 she was awarded European Woman Innovator of the Year and she was presented with an Innovation Luminary Award for Creative Innovation in 2016.

She is the founder of Music Tech Fest , a global community platform of over 5000 creative innovators and scientific researchers. The platform provides a test case for innovation in areas as diverse as neuroscience, forestry and microcomputing, and has been hosted worldwide by partners including Microsoft Research New England, Centre Pompidou in Paris and the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican in London.

Maga co-founded Stromatolite Design Innovation Lab in 2000, developing futures concepts for a series of international clients including Apple, Nike and Nokia with Peter Russell-Clarke, who is now part of the Apple Industrial Design Team. She has been Innovation Director of #MusicBricks – a European Innovation Action project that placed exclusive tools developed by some of the best music tech research centres in Europe into the hands of creative developers and makers, and has taken them to market. She was Scientific Director of MIReS, a European Commission-funded project investigating the future of music technology, in conjunction with seven of the top music technology research centres in Europe. Her work has received the ‘art meets science’ NEM art award twice: for Songlines (Barcelona 2010) and Synaesthesia (Istanbul 2012), and has been included in the Future of British Innovation at the Science Museum during the London 2012 Olympics. She has also been a jury member of Prix Ars Electronica.

Grega MilcinskiCEO of Sinergise, software for advanced geospatial applications

Born in 1980 in Slovenia. Grega studied Physics and co-founded Cosylab inc. at age 21, a company developing control systems for particle accelerators and large experiments in physics. In 2008 Grega moved to become CEO and co-founder of Sinergise, specialising in software for advanced geospatial applications, helping Europe to efficiently manage and control agriculture policy and introducing land administration systems to developing countries in Africa.

With his colleagues they have recognised the potential of open Copernicus earth observation data early but soon hit a wall trying to use existing technologies to work with these large datasets. Deciding to do something about it, Sentinel Hub was born. A Copernicus Masters award winning service for processing and distribution of satellite data is exploiting AWS Open Public Datasets.

After working with governmental clients in Balkan, Western Europe, Asia and Africa, Grega is now engulfed in building a global Internet business.

Maryline Fiaschi - Managing Director, Science Business

Maryline combines expertise in media, communications and European affairs. After six years managing EU education programmes with the European Commission, Maryline entered the media business in 2007 in Shanghai. She held business development positions at the Shanghai Daily and EU affairs media company EurActiv before joining Science|Business in 2011 where she now leads the company’s operations and growth strategy. She is also an external evaluator for several EU higher education and R and I programmes. Maryline holds degrees from Université La Sorbonne, Università di Bologna and Université catholique de Louvain.

Pierre-Philippe Mathieu - Earth Observation leader with the European Space Agency

With a passion for innovation and a background in Earth Sciences Pierre-Philippe believes that the planet’s beauty, fragility and complex dynamics are all part of an integrated Earth System.

In his current role he helps scientists, innovators and citizens use high-end technology, such as satellite data, to monitor, understand and preserve the planet, by making sustainable use of its limited natural resources.

He has a degree in Mechanical Engineering and M.Sc. from University of Liege (Belgium), a Ph.D. in Oceanography from the University of Louvain (Belgium), and a Management degree from the University of Reading Business School (UK). For more than 20 years, he has been working in environmental monitoring and modelling, across disciplines like remote sensing and weather risk management.

He is now working at the European Space Agency to foster the use of Earth Observation (EO) missions to support science, innovation and development in partnership with user communities, industry and businesses. His particular interest lies in addressing global environmental and development issues related to management of Food-Water-Energy resources and climate change.

You can learn more about the previous Brussels Amazon Academy here.

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