I attended another great industry event last week courtesy of the LA Machine Learning meetup group – Developer’s Night at Google LA. I always have a great time paying a visit to the local Google campus, so I eagerly took this opportunity to head over to Silicon Beach (LA’s high-tech hub). I wasn’t disappointed. The gathering was held in the campus’ large outdoor patio area where they hold company presentations, parties and other festivities. There is a huge screen where a projector displays the Google logo. Google goes all out for these things, catering food and drinks from the nearby employee cafeteria – everything was well received by the several hundred attendees.
The event was more of a schmooze-fest of like-minded techies from LA’s Westside. I got to chat up all my peeps from the machine learning and R communities. These are pretty high level folks, most with Ph.D.s in computer science, mathematics, statistics, etc. I always learn a lot from talking to them. I even got an invite to speak at the next R meetup to discuss my take on data munging in data science projects.
I also got talk to professionals who are trying to make sense out of the big data craze. For example, I talked at length with a Ph.D. from MIT who is working for a large healthcare provider on a big data initiative. She had a lot of questions about what data science can bring to the table. So I mentioned the now-expired Kaggle machine learning competition sponsored by Heritage Health Network who awarded the winner $3 million. The problem to be solved was to develop the best algorithm able to predict how many days a patient is likely to stay in the hospital. This resonated with her because the problems she’s faced with is of a similar nature.
These social networking events for technologists also are good for teaming up for interesting projects. I met an guru-level iOS developer so I talked with her about a couple of app ideas I’ve had for a while now that combine smart phone technology, taking images and using machine learning algorithms (decision tree classifier) in the cloud along with a cloud-based training-set to process the images. I learned a lot from chatting with her.
I would highly recommend joining a local Big Data Meetup group, they’re great. Be sure to mention that insideBIGDATA referred you!
Daniel — Managing Editor, insideBIGDATA