Describe what the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) does, and how it relates to machine learning.

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is the nonprofit organization charged with protecting and commercializing intellectual property developed by UW-Madison researchers. For nearly a century we have partnered with the University to advance emerging technologies, from agricultural breakthroughs to multidisciplinary innovations in computer and data science across all fields. WARF’s mission is to support scientific research within the UW-Madison community by providing financial support, actively managing assets and moving innovations to the marketplace for a financial return and global impact. These funds not only help support research but help maintain a strong university overall. WARF funding helps UW-Madison recruit and retain faculty, fund campus infrastructure and support entrepreneurship and innovation.

We work closely with our researchers and UW administrative counterparts to help find creative ways to bring University research to market. We assist in evaluating options for release of software or code, models, and other assets, which includes discussing Open Source licenses or academic only releases. In addition, as part of our commercialization efforts, we interface with industrial partners looking not only for cutting-edge technology, but also for particular skills and assets that campus can provide. 

How is WARF engaging with the community around machine learning 

WARF works with UW-Madison faculty, staff, and students to help drive their innovations towards commercialization. We are also looking to engage with the community who may be creating, compiling, or leveraging data and machine learning models in unique ways.

What is something you’re looking forward to in supporting ML+X?

We are always eager to learn about cutting-edge, innovative research, even if it falls outside of the traditional patenting path. Researchers with any questions about commercialization shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to a WARF contact.

What is something in the field of machine learning that that has excited or interested you recently?  

Machine learning and AI are leading to amazing innovation across many different disciplines. No matter what stage your research is in, we’d be happy to discuss if intellectual property protection or other commercialization strategies are available. WARF helps assess novel algorithms, software, models, and data with an eye toward helping transfer these assets off campus to help further drive innovation. 

Why is sponsoring ML+X important to WARF?

We’re pleased to support this inclusive event and participate in growing a dynamic community around machine learning. Over the last decade, WARF has reviewed many new technologies from researchers across a broad spectrum of fields. It’s possible we’ll see new opportunities presented at this event, which if commercialized can help support the university and future research endeavors.

If you want to learn more about WARF, visit their website at www.warf.org.