Countdown to ICLR2020

5 min readApr 24, 2020


ICLR2020 begins this weekend! Starting today, the conference portal can be accessed, to help everyone registered prepare for the week ahead. We hope everyone will learn new things, meet new people, and have a productive and fun virtual conference.

To make the conference fit the culture and needs of the ICLR community, we built our own virtual portal that gives you all the elements of the conference that you expect. Access is restricted to registered participants. You can still register at if you want to join us.

Registering allows you participate in all the live components of the conference:

  • Meet all the authors of some of your favourite papers and speak to them live and over chat.
  • Speak to our keynote speakers like Ruha Benjamin, Leslie Kaelbling and Michael Jordan.
  • Hang out at the social for Women in Machine Learning, wine and cheese for lapsed-physicists, or with Rich Sutton to talk about bitter lessons.
  • Speak to our sponsors about full-time and internship opportunities and their work.
  • Most importantly, connect with other participants and meet new people from across our field and around the world.

We know the virtual format will take some getting used to, but you will create the virtual experience along with 3500 other people from 63 countries across the world. This is a quick visual tour of what you’ll find on the conference portal.

Home page. The image is of the Simien Mountains in our originally-planned location in Ethiopia.

🗺️ A Visual Tour of the the Virtual Conference

You will find everything you need to navigate the virtual conference from the homepage and the menu-bar. All content can only be accessed by registered participants and you will need your registration to access the site. Here’s some of what you‘ll find.

Schedule of live events, and daily sets of highlighted papers grouped into different themes.
Search through all accepted papers, or use the tool to visually explore papers and themes.
Visually explore papers to learn about.
For every paper, find all its info, times for live sessions, watch the pre-recorded video, chat about the paper, and find similar paper recommendations at the bottom of the page.
Visit the sponsor hall to meet our sponsors
Get help easily when you need it.

The conference comprises the following elements:

  • Keynote talks. Invited talks are pre-recorded and will be released each day. Each talk has a live Q&A session so we can interact in real-time with the speakers.
  • Papers: 5min talks take the place of posters for all papers and 15mins for longer talks. All are pre-recorded and are also released each day.
  • Poster sessions. You interact with posters by joining a video meeting with the authors. These occur at timezones across the world and several times per day.
  • Socials. You can also meet new people and other participants by using the virtual rooms and socials that are organised throughout the week.
  • Schedule. You can find the times for all the live sessions using the Schedule, where you can choose your timezone and find live sessions that work for you.
  • Sponsors. Meet our sponsors by visiting the virtual sponsor hall.
  • Help. If you have any questions about planning your time or finding information, look under Help for answers to frequently asked questions, and technical support where you can chat directly with some of our on call volunteers.

🧠 Other Considerations

We have taken many steps to support a safe and respectful online conference:

  • Participants must abide by our code of conduct, which has been updated for the virtual conference. We have several reporting mechanisms for unacceptable behaviour.
  • We have restricted settings to prevent phenomena like ‘zoom bombing’.
  • We have done our best to test the site to work in all countries.
  • The structure of the conference is such that much of it can work in any timezone because of its asynchronous nature.
  • Ultimately, we hope that the conference still provides new opportunities to meet with new people and have fun.
  • About two weeks after the conference all the videos will be made available for everyone to watch.

If you want a quick overview, you can watch a short welcome video from the programme committee here. We welcome feedback about the virtual conference and format that will help us improve it in future, so send thoughts to the #virtual-feedback channel in the portal.

Creating and getting the virtual conference to this stage is due to the effort of a large number of people behind the scenes — a huge thanks to them all 💙

🟢 Conference Status and Updates

  • Registration: Still open, go to
  • Virtual Socials/Booths: You can still help shape one of the social-elements of Virtual ICLR. It takes 5 mins to submit a short request
  • Dates: Workshops are on Sunday 26 April. Main conference Monday-Thursday, 27–30 April.

ICLR2020 Organising Committees

Sasha Rush and Shakir Mohamed (General Chair and Senior Programme Chair); Dawn Song, Kyunghyun Cho, Martha White (Programme Chairs); Asja Fischer and Gabriel Synnaeve (Workshop Chairs); Anima Anandkumar and Kevin Swersky (Diversity Chairs); Andrea Brown and Lee Campbell (ICLR Secretariat), and the ICLR Board.

We hope you are safe and in good spirits; and that the virtual conference will be a welcome experience. We wrote this post skittishly testing zoom links and Rocket invites and listening to the Classica Orchestra Afrobeat rendition of Fela Kuti’s No Agreement. 🎧 .




International Conference on Learning Representations