• wiml
  • July 7, 2017

The 1st WiML Un-Workshop is co-located with ICML on Monday, July 13th, 2020.

The Women in Machine Learning will be organizing the first “un-workshop” at ICML 2020. This is a new event format to encourage more participant interaction, especially with ICML going virtual this year. The un-workshop is based on the concept of an “un-conference”, a form of discussion on a pre-selected topic that is primarily driven by participants. Different from the workshop, the un-workshop’s main focus is topical breakout sessions, with short invited talks and casual, informal poster presentations.

The overall goal of the un-workshop is to advance research through collaboration and increased interaction among participants from diverse backgrounds. Students, postdocs and researchers in all areas of Machine Learning who primarily identify as a woman and/or nonbinary are encouraged to submit one-page proposal to lead a breakout session on a certain research topic.

While all presenters will identify primarily as a woman and/or nonbinary, all genders are invited to attend.

Important dates

  • May 26th, 2020 – Application form opens
  • June 15th, 2020 – Deadline (anywhere on Earth) to apply for a breakout session, poster, registration fee funding, facilitating or volunteering
  • June 22nd, 2020 – Notification of acceptance of breakout session’s proposals
  • June 30th, 2020 – Notification of acceptance of posters, registration fee funding, facilitators, volunteers
  • July 13th, 2020 – WiML Un-Workshop Day

Various ways of participating in WiML un-workshop

  • Lead a breakout session: submit a proposal to lead a breakout session on a certain research topic.
  • Facilitate a breakout session: assist breakout session leaders by taking notes and encouraging participant interactions and taking attendance.
  • Present a poster: present a poster in a casual, informal setting.
  • Volunteer: help with technical setup and in-event needs.
  • Attend: participate in breakout session discussions.

Breakout session proposals

A breakout session is a 1-hour free-form discussion overseen by 1-3 leaders and with assistance from 1-2 facilitators to take notes and encourage participant interactions. We strongly encourage students, postdocs, and researchers who primarily identify as women and/or nonbinary in all areas of machine learning to submit a proposal to lead a topical breakout session.

A complete proposal consists of a 1 page blind PDF (example here) and the names and bios of leaders submitted separately in the application form. We strongly recommend having at least 2 leaders, with a diverse set of leaders preferred (see selection criteria below). The names of facilitators can also be provided if known at submission time. Otherwise, the organizers will match facilitators to breakout sessions.

Breakout session leaders must identify primarily as women and/or nonbinary; facilitators can be of any gender. Only one proposal submission per leader is allowed. If there are multiple leaders, only one leader needs to submit the proposal. There are no proceedings.

WiML registration fee funding is prioritized for accepted breakout session leaders who fulfill certain eligibility criteria (see details below) and do not have any other sources of funding.

Breakout session guidelines:

  • Role of leaders:
    • Point-out key characteristics of your topic and make connections with other topics.
    • Describe the key challenges in this research area on a high-level.
    • Describe the key approaches on a high-level to provide intuition.
    • Highlight possible points of discussion/goals to achieve during the session.
    • Use graphics/imagery and materials e.g. slides as needed
    • Encourage inclusive (rather than unilateral) discussions
  • Role of facilitators: take notes and encourage participant interactions.
  • Leaders and facilitators should anticipate a small additional time commitment before the un-workshop to receive briefing/training and a possible dry run.
  • While the exact technology is still being determined, we anticipate using video-conferencing software (e.g. Zoom).

Submission instructions for breakout sessions:

  • Proposals must be no more than 1 page (including any references, tables, and figures) submitted as a PDF.
  • Main body text must be minimum 11 point font size and page margins must be minimum 0.75 inches (all sides).
  • Your proposal should stand alone, without linking to a longer paper or supplement.
  • You should provide a brief description of the topics you’d like to discuss, any relevant references, a plan for how you’d organize the time (1 hour) allocated for a session, as well as some ideas on how you’d encourage discussion and participant interaction during the session.
  • The PDF must not include identifying information, as it will be reviewed blind.
  • In particular, the PDF should not contain information of the leaders or facilitators. Instead, submit their information in the application form.

Selection criteria for breakout sessions:

  • The degree to which it is expected that participants will find the topic interesting and valuable.  
  • Diversity of leaders and facilitators, including diversity of experience/seniority, affiliation, race, viewpoint and thinking regarding the topic, etc. 
  • Plans for encouraging discussion and participant interaction during the session.


If you are interested in facilitating a breakout session but have not yet connected with anyone submitting a breakout session proposal, you can indicate your interest in the application form. Organizers will match selected facilitators to breakout sessions. Facilitators should anticipate a small additional time commitment before the un-workshop to receive briefing/training and a possible dry run.


If you wish to present a poster, submit EITHER a short abstract (max 1500 characters) OR a PDF of the poster (only if you have it already). The poster may describe new, previously, concurrently published, or work-in-progress research. Posters in theory, methods, and applications are welcome. 

The poster presenter must identify primarily as a woman and/or nonbinary; other authors can be of any gender. The poster presenter does not need to be the first author of the work. Only one poster submission per presenter is allowed.

Accepted posters will be presented in a casual, informal setting. This setting is very different from formal poster sessions, e.g. at WiML Workshop at NeurIPS. While the exact presentation format is still being determined, it may be as simple as a webpage with poster PDF and pre-recorded video. There are no oral or spotlight presentations. There are no proceedings.

Submission instructions for posters:

  • Submitted materials may contain identifying information, as posters for this un-workshop are not reviewed blind.
  • Your submission should stand alone, without linking to a longer paper or supplement.
  • You should convey motivation and give some technical details of the approach used.
  • While we acknowledge that space is limited, some experimental results are likely to improve reviewers’ opinions of your poster.

Registration fee funding

The virtual nature of ICML and this un-workshop allows individuals from all over the world to attend. By funding a number of ICML registrations, WiML hopes to further expand the range of participants at this un-workshop.

To apply for funding, you should:

  1. identify primarily as a woman and/or nonbinary;
  2.  be a student, postdoc, or have an equivalent position (equivalent positions include unemployed recent grads and early career researchers from underrepresented geographical regions).

Accepted breakout session leaders who fulfill the above eligibility criteria and do not have any other sources of funding will be prioritized for WiML funding. Other participants are also encouraged to apply. Priority will be given to individuals from underrepresented regions or groups, first-time attendees of ICML or similar conferences, and individuals who would benefit the most from this funding.

Funding recipients must participate in at least one breakout session as a leader, facilitator, or attendee.

Due to limited funding, we may not be able to support everyone eligible; however, we hope to support as many eligible applicants as possible.

We also encourage you to apply for ICML volunteer and funding opportunities, which are separate and independent of WiML funding. Check the ICML website directly for details.


We are seeking volunteers to help with technical setup and virtual technology testing before the event, as well as help during the event, e.g. letting people into Zoom rooms, etc. We may also need emergency reviewers for breakout session proposals. You can indicate if you can help in any way in the application form here.

Participation instructions

To participate in ANY of the above roles and/or apply for registration fee funding, please fill in this application form by **June 15, 2020**. Selected breakout session leaders, facilitators, poster presenters, volunteers, and funding recipients will be notified individually by the dates mentioned above.

If you only wish to attend, we still recommend you fill in this form to provide your timezone and topic preferences. All participants are required to abide by the WiML Code of Conduct.

Important note: This form does not constitute registration for the WiML Un-Workshop. To attend the un-workshop, you need to register for ICML at https://icml.cc.

Submission is now open!


  • Fariba Yousefi, University of Sheffield
  • Caroline Weis, ETH Zurich
  • Tatjana Chavdarova, EPFL & Idiap Research Institute
  • Mandana Samiei, McGill University and Mila
  • Larissa Schiavo

Questions? Check out the FAQs or reach us at workshop[at]wimlworkshop[dot]org

Copyright © Women in Machine Learning 2020