An Evening Under the Stars at Google LA

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I attended another great industry event last week courtesy of the LA Machine Learning meetup groupDeveloper’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




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  1. A colleague of mine is working on a big data project related to the Affordable Healthcare Act. Unfortunately it looks like there is not a meetup group here in Honolulu. I wonder what it would take to get one started. It sounds like a good way to meet other computer science professionals in your community.

    • Hello Rick,

      If your local area does not have a Meetup group with a specific topic of interest, I’ll be there are others like you who’d be interested in forming one. Anyone can start a meetup group, it just takes some time and fortitude. One good way to start your own group is to take a close look at an equivalent group in another area and see what good elements you can learn from. You might even contact the group’s organizer and ask for tips. I hope you decide to do this, it can be very rewarding.