Special Seminars

  • What is FinTech and does it matter?

    Date: Monday, 22 May 2017 at 17:30

    Venue: Leslie Commerce Building - LC2B, Upper Campus, University of Cape Town

    Presenter/s: Periklis Thivaios (True North Partners)

    Periklis Thivaios and Dimitri Anagnostopoulos presented recent developments in financial technology (fintech) and critically analysed the opportunities as well as the risks associated with its use. The focus of the discussion was on blockchain technologies and big data, two of the most prevalent and misunderstood developments in the field. They presented the two technologies, including uses and technical challenges. Students were encouraged to critically evaluate their applicability and value to banking operations.
  • Learning to Communicate with Deep Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning

    Date: Friday, 31 March 2017 at 15:00

    Venue: Rise Cape Town, Floor 5, Woodstock Exchange, 66 Albert Road, Woodstock

    Presenter/s: Jakob Foerster (University of Oxford)

    Jakob Foerster discussed the problem of multiple agents sensing and acting in environments with the goal of maximising their shared utility. In these environments, agents must learn communication protocols in order to share information needed to solve the tasks. By embracing deep neural networks, we are able to demonstrate end-to-end learning of protocols in complex environments inspired by communication riddles and multi-agent computer vision problems with partial observability. We propose two approaches for learning in these domains: Reinforced Inter-Agent Learning (RIAL) and Differentiable Inter-Agent Learning (DIAL). The former uses deep Q-learning, while the latter exploits the fact that, during learning, agents can backpropagate error derivatives through (noisy) communication channels. Hence, this approach uses centralised learning but decentralised execution. Our experiments introduce new environments for studying the learning of communication protocols and present a set of engineering innovations that are essential for success in these domains.

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