The missing continent is a known phrase in the Indaba community. It is one of the phrases that sparked the Indaba movement. Those who have attended Deep Learning Indaba are familiar with the initial email thread that went between the founders of Deep Learning Indaba, to address the missing continent. From a few attendees in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2017 to the largest AI summer school in Africa in Ghana in 2023, the Indaba has grown. But beyond the numbers, the impact of Deep Learning Indaba in building scientific research capacity in the continent is perhaps the most impressive. This is evident in the poster sessions at all Indabas which a lot of people remember being held under the trees.  It is these poster sessions that led to the short papers being included in the Indaba program in Ghana in 2023. 

A few weeks before the Deep Learning Indaba 2022 in Tunisia, Vukosi asked me to help with organising posters and poster judging. In one of our lunch meetings, I asked Vukosi, what would happen if we asked for extended abstracts from these posters and gave feedback and the authors would extend to full papers and submit in conferences. Typical Vukosi just said, “let’s do it” . Little did we know that the general chairs would not only embrace this idea, they proposed having short papers. And so the short papers were born at Deep Learning Indaba. 

We received over 80 submissions for the inaugural short papers at the Deep Learning Indaba in Ghana. Despite the tight deadlines, each paper received at least 2 reviews and all the papers were later released publicly. An overwhelming majority of these papers received very good reviews and were candidates for journal extension. But more importantly, it gave a lot of first time authors an opportunity to write and publish a scientific paper and receive reviews. It provided a journey from posters to publications. 

This year, we are going to Senegal. Deep Learning Indaba has at its core, the spirit of experimentation. Many ideas have been tested and worked at Deep Learning Indaba and this year will be no different. We would  like to make one more experiment, the path to journal publication. The resounding success of Deep Learning IndabaI short papers in Ghana is a clear indication that the quality of scientific research within the Indaba community deserves indexed publications. We are partnering with three outstanding journals to give all Indaba publications an opportunity to publish in these top journals. Furthermore, we are partnering with the mentorship program of Deep Learning Indaba to ensure that authors get mentorship and guidance through the publication process from renowned researchers in AI across the globe. 

We have expanded the publications team to bring in diverse experience from Indaba volunteers and support wider reach. 

The call for papers will be shared with accepted attendees, and those interested in mentorship will receive a link to sign up.

This continent was never missing, we were just looking in the wrong place. 

Authored by Albert Kahira