AFIRM: ACM SIGIR/SIGKDD Africa Summer School on Machine Learning for Data Mining and Search

Call for Participation

We invite African students and researchers to participate in the First Africa Summer School on Machine Learning for Data Mining and Search, sponsored by ACM SIGIR and SIGKDD, hosted at the University of Cape Town, and presented by leading international researchers.

The mission of the school is to enable students to learn about modern research challenges and methods in information retrieval and data mining; to stimulate scientific research and collaboration in these fields; and to grow a community of researchers, students, and industry professionals working on information retrieval and data mining across Africa with collaborations all around the world.

The target audience is junior faculty from institutions across Africa and advanced graduate students in Africa, with the vision that attendees take their new insights back to their home institutions to grow a vibrant research community in information retrieval and data mining. Some travel grants will be awarded to encourage participants who may not otherwise be able to attend.

The workshop will offer a week of lectures and labs for an audience of up to 50 students. Each day will centre around a broad theme in information retrieval and data mining and consist of lectures on aspects of that theme and hands-on lab time. The program will also include keynote addresses, panels, poster sessions and social events.


Speakers include: Daniel Campos, Nick Craswell, Maarten de Rijke, Nicola Ferro, Joshua Kroll, Maria Maistro, Rishabh Mehrotra, Bhaskar Mitra, Alejandro Moreo, Doug Oard, Fabrizio Sebastiani, Ian Soboroff, Grace Yang, and Emine Yilmaz.


Provisional Topics in Summer School

Basic Information Retrieval (IR), Multilingual IR, SOLR; Evaluation Techniques; Fairness in Machine Learning; Text Classification and Sentiment Analysis; Deep Learning and IR

(Detailed programme coming soon)


All participants

  • All lectures, labs and keynotes
  • All lunches and coffee/tea, welcome reception and school reception
Apply to participate / Apply for travel grant



Main Venue

Upper Campus
University of Cape Town
Cape Town
South Africa


Lecture Venue

Hlanganani Junction
Level 5
Chancellor Oppenheimer Library


Lab Venue

iShango Lab
Ground Floor
Computer Science Building