ADS Highlight Event 2019 | Five Year Anniversary

Amsterdam Data Science celebrated its five year anniversary with a packed afternoon of speakers in Pakhuis de Zwijger. A keynote from Spotify and UvA alumni, Henriette Cramer started the event, which included highlights and research pitches from ADS Gold Partners.

There was a full house at Pakhuis De Zwijger on the afternoon of Thursday 12th December to celebrate ADS’s five year anniversary. We welcomed more than 110 guests from academia, industry and government for an afternoon of talks, poster presentations and drinks. Lynda Hardman, ADS director, pointed out that we have good reason to celebrate. More research labs are opening in Amsterdam with an increasing number of academic-industry collaborations being established. With 18 events in the past year, ADS is more visible than ever.

ADS founder Maarten de Rijke reflected on the reasons for setting up ADS & the continued need for the network. Lynda then gave an overview of ADS’s growth in the last year and also made a special announcement: ADS will co-sponsor collaborations between academia and industry. ADS will contribute €5000 for an academic-industry collaboration to hire a research assistant for one day a week for a year; the company will contribute the remainder of the funding. To apply, an academic and company should partner to jointly write a short research proposal. Applications are due Friday 24th January 2020. For more information or to submit an application, please email

Ger Baron, City of Amsterdam CTO, who also emphasised the need for such an ecosystem. Maarten and Ger peaked the audience’s interest with news of a big announcement to be revealed the next day: a coalition of Amsterdam knowledge institutes is investing €1 billion to develop responsible AI technologies. The coalition consists of:

  • Amsterdam Economic Board
  • Amsterdam UMC
  • Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences
  • CWI
  • Antoni van Leeuwenhoek
  • City of Amsterdam 
  • Sanquin
  • University of Amsterdam
  • Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. 

Ger also pointed out that Amsterdam has been at the forefront of data sharing since the 17th century, when it opened the first ever stock exchange. A great tradition to celebrate!

The keynote speaker was Henriette Cramer, Principal Research Scientist at Spotify. She guided us through compelling questions of algorithmic responsibility at the streaming company. For instance, how to prevent (unintended) bias. Challenges that she faces at Spotify include ensuring the music we are recommended does not come from only one part of the world. Nor should it feature artists from only one demographic, for example. The music we listen to can give away a lot about our demographics and cultural identity, and entertainment has a large impact on culture and society, making careful consideration of any algorithmic impact beyond engagement alone extremely important.

After the coffee break, Lynda unveiled the new ADS Strategy, including plans to establish a new blog and white paper. Check out the Strategy

The final element of the event was a series of quick-fire 4-minute flash talks. This included talks from the following ADS Gold Partners. Check our event page for a full list.

  • Nanda Piersma (CWI & HvA) announced the opening of the HvA Expertise Centre for Applied AI, which will start in January 2020.
  • Ivan Ortega (Qualogy) looked back at their recent sport challenge, which resulted in a live system to track footballers in action and figure out their tactics.
  • VodafoneZiggo uses AI to foresee problems in their network and to anticipate unhappy customers. 
  • Paul Groth (IvI, UvA) thinks we need AI to help researchers with tasks that are often overlooked, such as data cleaning and annotating. 
  • Hannes Muehleisen (CWI) promoted DuckDB, database software – and R library – for data management. 
  • Hinda Haned (IvI, UvA) reflected on how to use AI for social good. 
  • Tessel Bogaard (CWI) analysed the search behaviour of users of the National Library Collection.
  • Ilaria Tiddi (CS, VU) demonstrated how web data can be linked up with datasets to help explain unexpected patterns.

Amsterdam Data Science was established to create more participation, collaboration and innovation between academia, industry and society. The ADS Highlight event showcased the achievements of the last five years, bringing together updates and presentations from all our Gold Partners. Thank you to everyone who participated and attended, ADS continues to thrive because of its network of dedicated and passionate partners. 

Written by Astrid van Aggelen

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