Rethinc. ML


This collaboration will host its inaugural machine learning symposium at the Kenan Center on UNC-Chapel Hill’s campus November 30, 2018. This event will bring together academic, policy and business leaders to connect the possibilities of cutting-edge research with the realities of practical implementation in enterprise. Infinia ML CEO Robbie Allen, adjunct professor at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, will share best practices for machine learning both in strategy and execution.

Register for the Symposium!


Friday, November 30

8:00 AM-8:45 AM

Welcome Reception & Networking

8:45 AM-9:00 AM

Introductory Remarks


Robbie Allen

CEO, Infinia ML; Adjunct Professor and Research Fellow, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Gregory W. Brown

Professor of Finance and Director of the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School
9:00 AM-9:30 AM

The State of Machine Learning Adoption

In this research-based overview, Reetika Fleming covers the current state of machine learning in enterprise organizations, from its growing prominence to its looming challenges. She’ll explore the speed of adoption, top- and bottom-line impacts, current challenges in execution, and a framework to help companies move forward. She’ll also share quotes and stories from practitioners putting ML into practice today. This talk will serve as a data-driven foundation for the rest of the Symposium.


Reetika Fleming

Research Director, Insurance & Smart Analytics, HFS Research
9:30 AM-10:00 AM

Getting Started with Machine Learning in the Enterprise

For all the hype about machine learning, many organizations are just getting started – and many executives are wondering how to begin. They can learn a lot from RTI, one of the world’s leading research institutes which has the data and desire to make real impact with ML.

In this casual and candid conversation, CFO and Executive Vice President Michael Kaelin reveals his process for turning machine learning interest into a tangible plan of action. Find out how he and his team prioritize projects, contextualize concerns, and keep a decades-old institution on the cutting edge.


James Kotecki

Director, Marketing and Communications, Infinia ML

Michael H. Kaelin Jr.

Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, RTI
10:00 AM-10:30 AM

Demo Booth Pitches

It’s a local lightening round as some of the area’s most exciting tech companies share their machine learning approaches and hype up their booths.
Automated Insights, Diveplane, First, Infinia ML, Tanjo

10:30 AM-11:00 AM

Discussion Break / Demonstration Visits

11:00 AM-11:45 AM

Machine Learning Transformation in Large Organizations

Implementing machine learning is hard enough – but doing it within an enterprise adds its own unique challenges. Moderator Mike Salvino, the former Group Chief Executive at Accenture Operations, joins executives Jesus Mantas of IBM and Vikram Mahidhar of Genpact to talk about the state of machine learning and how ML is driving business impact in their organizations.

Each will share stories from their own experience obtaining and preparing data, working with data scientists, deploying solutions at scale, and, most important, directing these efforts to increase revenue or lower costs.


Mike Salvino

Managing Director, Carrick Capital Partners

Vikram Mahidhar

Senior Vice President, RAGE Frameworks Inc. - A Genpact Company

Jesus Mantas

Managing Partner, Global Strategy, Offerings, Cognitive Assets, M&A and IBV, IBM
11:45 AM-12:15 PM

Finding the Future: Using AI for Superior Search

Learn how machine learning is helping users find what matters most. Lucidworks powers search for Reddit, Red Hat, Moody’s and Verizon. CTO Grant Ingersoll will explain how search is getting smarter and how ML makes it possible.


Grant Ingersoll

Chief Technology Officer,Lucidworks
12:15 PM-1:15 PM

Lunch & Keynote

Keynote: The Innovation Imperative (12:45 pm – 1:15 pm)
As you enjoy your lunch, zoom out from machine learning for an overview of the entire innovation ecosystem through the lens of the venture industry. Scott Frederick of NEA will explore why it’s so important for incumbent industry leaders to embrace technology, and address some of NEA’s investment themes.


Scott Frederick

Partner, Head of Business Development and Federal, NEA
1:15 PM-1:45 PM

MBA Insights

Students from the Kenan-Flagler Business School share investigative insights on real-world ML readiness.
Students from the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

1:45 PM-2:30 PM

What Data Scientists Wish Executives Understood

It’s Team Technical vs. The Executive in an interdepartmental clash of the titans! Just kidding. Kind of.

Machine learning projects bring together business professionals and technical specialists who may talk, act, and think differently. They may have different goals and even a different understandings of what machine learning can or should do. It’s time to bridge the gap.

In this panel, two prominent data scientists join a product development executive for an honest exchange about what “the other side” needs to know about machine learning in practice.


Michael Eagan

Vice President Product Development, Korn Ferry

Brett Wujek

Principal Data Scientist, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Division, SAS Institute Inc.

Ya Xue

Director, Data Science Operations, Infinia ML
2:30 PM-2:45 PM

Discussion Break / Demonstration Visits

2:45 PM-3:15 PM

What’s Next for Natural Language Processing

Alexa, Assistant, Cortana, Siri and other chatbots are reshaping human-robot interaction through natural language processing, generation, and dialogue. In this talk, Dr. Mohit Bansal, the Director of the UNC-NLP Lab, shares insights from the cutting edge of chatbot research. Discover a near future when chatbots leverage common sense knowledge, see surrounding visual information, and respond with personality.


Mohit Bansal

Assistant Professor, UNC Chapel Hill
3:15 PM-3:45 PM

Artificial Intelligence Alter Egos

Robo-advising is a fast-growing application of FinTech solutions to asset and wealth management. UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Professor Eric Ghysels studied robo-investors that make decisions by learning from the investing record of real individuals. He calls these robo-investors Artificial Intelligence Alter Egos, and uses machine learning to study their portfolio return behavior vis-a-vis each of the individuals they shadow. Professor Ghysels will illuminate the characteristics of investors who stand to gain from robo-advising.


Eric Ghysels

Edward Bernstein Distinguished Professor of Economics and Adjunct Professor of Finance, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School
3:45 PM-4:30 PM

Machine Learning’s Near and Distant Horizons

To close out the Symposium, Infinia ML’s CEO interviews Infinia ML’s Chief Scientist about the realistic and revolutionary implications of machine learning in business. Extrapolating on the day’s ideas and surfacing their own insights, the two will seek to answer the question “What’s next?”


Robbie Allen

CEO, Infinia ML; Adjunct Professor and Research Fellow, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Lawrence Carin

Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Duke University
4:30 PM-6:00 PM



Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise

The Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise is a nonpartisan business policy think tank affiliated with the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School. Founded in 1985, the nonprofit institute facilitates collaboration between the private, public and nonprofit sectors to build a greater understanding of how entrepreneurship, economic development and global commerce can work for the public good. It leverages best-in-class research to develop market-based solutions to today’s most complex economic challenges; in doing so, the Kenan Institute aims to better the lives of people in North Carolina, across the country and around the world.



Infinia ML is a team of advanced machine learning experts focused on making business impact. The company helps enterprise clients reduce costs, increase efficiency, and achieve breakthroughs with data science. Infinia ML serves industries from manufacturing and healthcare to marketing and human resources. The company's capabilities include natural language processing, recommendation engines, object detection, 3D image modeling, and anomaly detection.

The Durham, North Carolina company is led by CEO Robbie Allen, an experienced AI entrepreneur, Chief Scientist Lawrence Carin, Ph.D., one of the world's most published machine learning experts and Duke University's Vice Provost for Research, and Executive Chairman and Carrick Capital Partners Managing Director Mike Salvino. Together, the Infinia ML team has produced 31 patents, 11 books, 7 Ph.D.s, and more than 575 published papers.

A Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise Initiative