Speaker Spotlight: Stephen Ashmore

Machine learning has been a huge buzz phrase in the tech space, and for good reason.

Stephen Ashmore #2.png

The ability to automatically apply complex mathematical calculations to big data – over and over, faster and faster - is bringing incredible advancements to a range of industries. We’re excited to announce one of Fayetteville’s own residents, Stephen Ashmore, as one of our expert session leaders. Along with Luke Godfrey (keep an eye for his blog post!), Stephen will be showcasing how to use deep machine learning to create works of art. You won’t want to miss this session.


Bio: Stephen Ashmore is a full-stack engineer focusing on data and machine learning. He studied Machine Learning at the University of Arkansas where he received a Master's Degree in 2015. His research interests include generalized artificial intelligence, robotics, and applications. Stephen has worked on a myriad of different projects, from analytics applications to neural network powered robotics. His other interests include creating his own video games, dabbling in electronic music creation, and writing novels.

Topic: Deep Learning with Artistic Style (Workshop)

The Breakdown: Learn how to use cutting-edge neural network frameworks in Python to convert photographs into works of art! Restyle a selfie as a Picasso portrait, or a picture of your house as Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Whether you have any experience with deep learning or not, this hands-on session will arm you with the knowledge and tools necessary to use state-of-the-art machine learning models. Python knowledge is helpful; however, all the code snippets will be provided so that you can follow along.


We wanted to get to know Stephen a little bit better so we asked him a few questions.

What is your background in?

I have a background in machine learning, robotics, and artificial intelligence. Before I went to graduate school, I worked on various different projects, but at heart I’m a coder who enjoys building new things.


Can you describe what you do at SupplyPike?

I’m a full-stack engineer on SupplyPike Analytics, which means I work on frontend code, backend code, and everything in between. I also work frequently with various special projects such as machine learning apps, interesting visualizations of data, and more.


How did you get into programming?

I started building websites with a friend in middle school. When he moved away in the early 2000's, we kept in touch by working on webapps together.


Can you explain what Machine Learning is for those who aren’t as familiar?

Machine Learning is all about creating and using algorithms that learn or make predictions from data. Neural networks are one of these many different algorithms.


Least favorite programming language?

While I love exploring new programming languages, I've never been able to enjoy using R or perl.


Coolest application of Machine Learning you have seen?

Solo programmers and small teams can create and use all sorts of awesome Machine Learning applications from sophisticated image analysis to attempting to predict the stock market. However, my favorite Machine Learning application is far more complex: Tesla’s self-driving cars. The neural networks powering it use sensor data from cameras, infrared sensors, and more to analyze road conditions, detect cars, switch lanes, and even turn the high beam lights on and off. In the future, I anticipate self-driving cars to be one of the highest profile, and most useful, machine learning applications.


What do you like about Northwest Arkansas?

NWA has a nice mix of rural and urban areas, with a lot of room to grow.


How long has it taken you to grow your beard?

A couple of years! It started as just a thing I was doing for a couple weeks while I was on break, but now it is something much longer than that.


Favorite OS?

I enjoy using different operating systems, as I use each on a daily basis. Mac for ease of use, Windows for gaming, and Linux for the freedom.


Musk or Bezos?

I have a love of space more than I love buying things, so Musk!

Early Bird tickets end Feb 14th.  Buy yours today!

Colleen Vaughan