By Cristopher Patvakanian
Special to the Mirror-Spectator
YEREVAN — This past September, DataFest Yerevan hosted its second annual data science conference at the American University of Armenia (AUA), which co-organized the event through the AUA Akian College of Science and Engineering. DataFest Yerevan brings together Armenian and international data scientists, machine learning companies, students and those generally interested in advanced data science topics for a weekend of lectures, presentations, and networking. Unlike other data science conferences, it covered advanced concepts in machine learning, with a strong focus on engineering and applications. The importance of hosting such events is paramount — data science is among the fastest growing industries of the 21st century, and the application of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analysis is becoming ever-present in all forms of business.
The team behind the event are four Armenian data science professionals, Arsen Yeghiazaryan, Hrant Khachatrian, Zaven Navoyan and Andranik Khachatryan.
Dr. Khachatrian, who holds a doctorate in Graph Theory from Yerevan State University and is the director of the machine learning research lab YerevaNN, explained the rationale for creating their group and the event: “The existing conferences in Armenia lacked the rigor and technical details of advanced machine learning.” Their collective frustration led to the creation of DataFest Yerevan in 2020.
Their first year hosting a conference online was less than ideal, and was a three-day virtual event, while this year it was hosted offline in person at AUA. DataFest Armenia hosted guests from Russia, France, Austria, Iran, and Georgia, bringing together not only local but regional and international experts as well.