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Find out what happened at the last Developer Unconference in Zurich, Switzerland. Learn about the topics and labs covered, including quantum computing and neural network…

On June 20, 2019, we hosted the next edition of the Developer unconference in the #IBMStudioZH in Zurich, Switzerland. Developer what? The Developer Unconference is a learning platform to explore topics on leading-edge technologies, and an event where the community can meet, exchange ideas, and most importantly, have fun. This time we had 6 exciting talks and 4 hands-on lab sessions scheduled that were submitted in our Call for Papers. For each of our labs, we also had further rooms and resources for spontaneous labs, demos, and talks, which could be proposed by the unconference attendees.

unconference attendees

We kicked off the day with a short introduction from Youri Böhler – Innovation Architect at the #IBMStudioZH. Ilja Rasin started the talks, discussing agents and evolution strategies versus old school machine learning, followed by an introduction to quantum computing from Roman Malina, our IBM-Q expert. Together, we explored the power of quantum computing systems, the mechanical principles behind them, and how this technology can be relevant for industries.

Following these talks, the participants had to make a hard decision: either go into the Introduction to Deep Learning with Keras and TensorFlow lab or build their first algorithm on a quantum computer.

Returning fully energized from lunch, the participants could then choose between two other labs:

  • Let’s Blockchain! with Markus Stauffiger, CEO 4_eyes and our IBM Blockchain Leader Pierre Kauffmann. The lab participants learned more about the different possible concepts and applications as well as open source technologies like Hyperledger, even trying it out themselves on the Hyperledger Composer Playground, a sandbox. We also saw real-life examples such as IBM Food Trust.

  • Investigating Deep Learning in Vision! Led by Prof. Klaus Zahn and Mirko Birbaumer from Hochschule Lucerne. They gave a glimpse of content that also forms part of their Certified Advanced Studies in Deep Learning at Hochschule Lucerne.


After a break with Kaffee and Kuchen, we looked further into some of the different Meetup groups for the following four talks:

  • Microservices for Edge Computing with (Kubernetes,, which was presented by Marco Reichmuth, Lead Solution Architect at UMB. He shared information about open source technologies such as KubeEdge, which offers containerized application orchestration capabilities with Edge computing.

  • NeuNetS: Automating Neural Network Model Synthesis with Roxana Istrate, a researcher with IBM Research who gave an engaging talk on the automation of neural network architecture search, towards the acceleration of the full data science process in just one click… no coding required!

  • Michael Fetzer, CTO of local start-up Legartis, shared insights into AI in law and automated contract analysis, from automated document and provision classification to automated key data point identification. Great stuff!

  • Andrea Giovannini, a research engineer at IBM Research Zurich, presented one of his current projects that applies AI to Medtech: a Decision Support System for triage. This system interacts with patients and guides them from their initial symptoms to a triage decision. The questions are automatically chosen by the system and are generated dynamically based on historical data (not from decision trees as done by the majority of systems of this kind).

To close and reflect on our day of exciting talks and labs, we took some time to network and mingle with the speakers. A big thanks goes to UMB for our sponsored beers and pizza! As usual, we asked our audience for their feedback. Some of their highlights were:

“The combination of theory and practice”

“Fast, clear, and real hands-on. Good instructions and set-up logistics.”

“Practical examples and walkthroughs were superb”

“I found the conference a very interesting blend of IT, data science, and research. It’s a rare find because usually conferences are much more focused. I’ve been to many academic conferences and to some developer conferences, and this one was a completely new feel.”

If you would like to view some of the slide decks, we are sharing them here.

Group picture

Want to join us?

In January 2019, we hosted a successful developer unconference in Zurich. Stay tuned for our next unconference in 2020! We publish our Developer Unconference Call for Papers via Meetup.

Check out our newest Meetup in Switzerland, Qool Stuff for the latest information on quantum computing!