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It’s our 1st birthday!

It’s already one year since NAVER LABS Europe was born. This article covers some of our highlights which combine not just lots of machine learning but a lot of learning about NAVER, NAVER LABS, Korean culture and even quite a bit of learning about ourselves as we determined where we want to be and how we’re going to get there.

Summer is a time of celebration

Our inauguration was during the beautiful French summer of 2017. We had a welcome party with NAVER senior executives including Founder Hae-jin Lee and CEO Ms Seong-sook Han here in our LABS in Grenoble.

Although we couldn’t meet all our peers in Korea they sent us a bunch of 'Welcome aboard' cards and made us a fabulously kind welcome video.


CVPR 2017 was our first joint international scientific conference with the Korean and European team together. LABS was a platinum sponsor. Below is a photo of us on the booth. This was the beginning of a whole series of sponsorships where we worked together to tell the world about NAVER LABS and to help grow our teams on both sides of the world. LABS is developing in Korea and internationally.

DEVIEW in the fall

We had our 1st ‘DEVIEW experience’ in Seoul. DEVIEW is Korea’s leading annual tech conference by NAVER where CTO and NAVER LABS CEO Chang Song unveils new ambient intelligence products and technologies in his keynote [Kr] and the rest of the two days is packed with presentations on AI, Ambient Intelligence, machine learning etc. It takes place in Seoul’s massive COEX complex. Tickets are free and the 2500 seat event is generally sold out within a minute of being available online. NAVER LABS Europe gave 4 presentations on computer vision, machine reading and optimization which you can view below. 

 

After DEVIEW we spent the rest of the week visiting our colleagues in LABS and other parts of NAVER in their Green Factory HQ named as such because of its low energy use and eco materials. For the HQ of Korea’s leading internet services portal it has a ground floor open to the general public where people walk in off the streets to grab a coffee and browse freely (in every sense of the word) the thousands of magazines and books in the café and library. It’s a refreshing difference from the top security no entry attitude of many of their foreign counterparts. Here the mantra is ‘knowledge sharing’ :-) We ate lots of Korean BBQ so the vegetarians had a bit of a hard time.

Winter

Michel Gastaldo became director of the LABS at the beginning of the year. It's at that time we changed how we were set up in the LABS to best realise our vision.  Our scientific director, Florent Perronnin talks a bit about this and what kind of place we now are in his article ‘NAVER LABS Europe, the start of something big and an invitation to come join us.

We began to give a series of seminars at start-up collaborative Space Green which is the NAVER/LINE space that now houses about 15 start-ups in the world’s largest start-up campus Station F in Paris.
Station F is the world’s largest startup campus where NAVER LINE is one of the biggest partners with 80 seats. NAVER LABS Europe scientists regularly give seminars that are filmed for the public. Below are some recent talks.

Spring (and summer)

We became a founding member of PRAIRIE (Paris Artificial Intelligence Research Institute). The announcement came right after the French President’s event on AI for Humanity where he presented the country’s the five-year strategy to make France and Europe a leader in ethical AI. As France’s biggest industrial AI research organization it may be obvious why we decided to be part of this but you can read the story by Florent here. 

While we joined PRAIRIE 10 new talented scientists chose to join us and we’re expecting quite a few more in the months to come. If you're interested you can see who we are here or check out our positions.

We started our 2018 sponsorship programme. You may have bumped into us at ECIR or SMAI-MODE both in Grenoble, The Web conference in Lyon or Document Analysis Systems (DAS) at IAPR in Vienna in April. In May we sponsored the SE4COG workshop at ICSE in Sweden. In June we were back at CVPR at the main conference as a silver sponsor but also at the workshops on Embedded Vision and 3D Humans (read the blog series on CVPR). We also sponsored the best paper at ECSCW in Nancy and were gold sponsor at ICML in Sweden at the beginning of July. We had papers at most of these conferences plus others at EclipseCon, ICDAR, IEEE ICTAI, ICDM, ALT2018, AISTATS2018, AAAL 2018, Coria TALN, CHI, LREC and CAp.

With INRIA we co-organized PAISS, the first Artificial Intelligence Summer School of PRAIRIE. With over 200 participants this was quite a bit of work throughout the whole of the spring and right up to the event beginning of July. We had some of the world’s leading personalities in AI speaking at the event which was considered hugely successful thanks to the quality of the lectures but also the opportunities to mingle and discuss at the informal social events.  

 


What’s coming next

In August we'll be giving a paper at the International Ergonomics Association (IEA) in Florence and in early September we’ll be out in force with a dozen of us going to ECCV in September where we’re Platinum sponsor of the conference, Silver sponsor of WiCV and sponsor of TASK-CV. We'll be presenting 2 papers there. Come meet us and discover the surprise French goodie on the booth!

DEVIEW 2018:  We’ll be presenting and demonstrating some of our research work from the past year at this fall’s DEVIEW event. This will be our first on stage presence apart from scientific conferences since we became NAVER LABS last year - no pressure please! We have to keep things under cover until then but we’ll be communicating live from the event in Seoul on October 10th and 11th.

In November we’ll be in Brussels at EMNLP where we’re Platinum sponsor and look out for us in December in Montreal at NIPS where we’re a gold sponsor. We hope we’ll see you there….or even here!