I attended and gave a short talk at the 2021 G2E event. G2E used to be called the Global Gaming Expo but now the event covers all aspects of entertainment, hotels, sports, and gaming technology so most people refer to it just as G2E. See http://www.globalgamingexpo.com/.
The event ran from October 4-7, 2021 in Las Vegas. Past G2E events, before the covid-19 pandemic, were very large with over 20,000 attendees, speakers, and exhibitors. The 2021 edition of G2E was much smaller — perhaps only half the size, or less, compared to the 2019 event.
Left: The Expo Hall had tons of energy and many interesting companies. I thought I saw “Azure Gaming” (as in the Microsoft Cloud service) but it was “Aruze Gaming”. Right: An attendee gets his photo taken with two girls dressed up as . . . not sure, maybe some kind of witches.
My talk on Wednesday morning was “Predicting Sports Results Using Artificial Intelligence”. I described recent advances in RL (reinforcement learning) and TA (transformer architecture) networks and how they might be applied to sports prediction. My talk was an out-of-band presentation, not available to the general public, sponsored by a company who had bought the use of one of the session rooms.
Unexpected things often happen at conferences. Left: One afternoon, outside my hotel window on the 21st floor of a hotel, I saw a swarm of weird drones with flapping wings that looked very much like birds. The drones flew around using some kind of swarm algorithm for about 15 minutes. It was amazing. Right: There were other conferences going on while G2E was happening. The UIPath Conference had hundreds of attendees (maybe thousands) for the users of work automation software called UIPath.
During my talk on Wednesday, I showed a demo of my Zoltar prediction system for NFL football predictions for the upcoming week. My current version of Zoltar is implemented using the C# programming language. I mentioned that in general I prefer to use Microsoft technologies, such as C# and Azure, but that sports prediction can use open source technologies too, especially Python for deep neural systems. The audience was very knowledgeable and asked good questions.
Attending a big industry conference is a gamble. Most of the things you see and the people you talk to, don’t lead to something actionable. But all it takes is one key interaction to make the time spent at a conference very valuable. Put another way, for me, there are some conferences I really can’t afford to miss — the G2E is one of those events.