Both Ulrich Paquet and Shakir Mohamed are Commonwealth scholars from South Africa at the University of Cambridge. Their PhDs were in statistical machine learning, studying the probabilistic principles in the topic of ‘supervised’ and ‘unsupervised learning’. It underpins the field that now forms the basis of deep learning and artificial intelligence. Both Ulrich and Shakir have said that the Commonwealth Scholarship helped make many of their dreams come true; one of which was to do research in machine learning, and the other was to build the tools and network to help others achieve their full potential.
Together, they organised the first Deep Learning Indaba in Johannesburg. The Deep Learning Indaba was a team effort to run the largest deep learning summer school worldwide in Africa. For Shakir, these dreams were seeded during his undergraduate and master’s degrees in electrical and information engineering. For Ulrich, the interest in artificial intelligence originated during his computer science studies. They’re grateful that years on, they could see the spirit of the Commonwealth Scholarships in the networking, growth, research and scientific advancement of the next generation that is embodied in continent-wide initiatives like the Indaba. Ulrich and Shakir are both research scientists at DeepMind in London, the world’s leading centre for research in artificial intelligence.