Panel discussion with Dr. Yasantha Rajakarunanayake, Dr. James Shanahan and Dr. Chrisantha Fernando moderated by Virtusa Executive Vice President, CIO and General Manager Madu Ratnayake
Audience at the event
The Sri Lanka Association for Software and Services Companies (SLASSCOM) conducted the first-ever SLASSCOM AI Asia Summit on 7 November at The Kingsbury.
The conference attracted over 300 attendees from the industry and addressed topics relating to AI Applications, Data Science, Analytics and Machine Learning. Participants were able to learn and connect with acclaimed international and local speakers present at the event.
SLASSCOM Chairman Jeevan Gnanam welcomed the attendees and shared his vision for an AI Nation where Data Science and AI become Sri Lanka’s third pillar of IT exports. He also spoke on the opportunity to use this event as a catalyst to drive a national agenda for AI engaging all stakeholders. This was followed by a keynote by DHL Asia Pacific Data Analytics Head Timothy Kooi, who shared examples of AI and Analytics applied in business. Technical sessions were conducted by Dr. Yasantha Rajakarunanayake - Senior Director Technology at MediaTek; Dr. Adam Easton - Chief Executive Officer at SimCentric Technologies; Dr. James Shanahan - Founder and Principal of Boutique Data Consultancy; Dr. Rukshan Batuwita - Data Scientist at Google; Dr. Chrisantha Fernando - Senior Research Scientist at Google DeepMind and Dr. Sadeep Jayasumana - Research Scientist at Five AI, Cambridge. Microsoft Data and AI Senior Solution Architect Christopher Gunawan spoke on the role of AI empowering business transformation. Two research case studies were presented by Prof. Asoka Karunananda and Dr. Subha Fernando from the University of Moratuwa, representing the Sri Lanka Association for Artificial Intelligence (SLAAI). Anzyz Technologies Co-founder Svein Olaf Olsen also shared his experience on building a next-generation, self-learning tool to handle Big Data using AI.
The event also hosted two panel discussions focusing on ‘AI: Where next?’ and ‘Opportunities for AI Startups’. The first panel discussion was moderated by Madu Ratnayake - Executive Vice President, CIO and General Manager - Virtusa and included Dr. Yasantha Rajakarunanayake, Dr. James Shanahan and Dr. Chrisantha Fernando as panellists. The panel discussion on AI Startups was moderated by C.D Athuraliya - Co-founder, Conscient AI with panellists from several local AI/Analytics start-up companies. Ransith Fernando - Managing Director and Co-founder, Forest Pin; Apurva Udeshi – Founder, Zeptolytics; Jerome Perera - Head of Analytics and Data Science, SAKS Global and Nuwan Dehigaspitiya - Founder/CEO and Chief Architect, Boolean Lab contributed as panellists to this session.
The conference concluded with closing remarks from Shevan Goonetilleke - Chief Operating Officer WSO2 and Head of the SLASSCOM Technology Forum. He thanked the conference partners and sponsors, including Innovation Partner GIZ, Strategic Partners IKT Norge and the Royal Norwegian Embassy, Gold Sponsor Microsoft, Silver Sponsor IFS R&D International, Exclusive Enterprise Communications Partner Dialog Enterprise and the Startup Sri Lanka Ecosystem Partner Hatch, Media Partner Daily FT and Digital Media Partner ReadMe.