On May 1-4th, 2018, data scientists from around the world gathered in Boston, Massachusetts for the fourth annual Open Data Science Conference East. With over 4,500 attendees hailing from academia, business, nonprofit sectors , and government, the conference marked one of ODSC’s largest and most diverse gatherings to date.
The 4-day conference hosted over 200 speakers and presentations as well as numerous workshops on topics ranging from specific concepts in machine learning and artificial intelligence to the application of data science principles in medical research, for-profit enterprise, and humanitarian causes. Dozens of core contributors to the most prominent open source data science tools, libraries, and languages gave practical demonstrations and shared their expertise including Dr. Drew Conway, Professor Gary Marcus and Professor Alex “Sandy” Pentland.
Talks that Matter
Of the hundreds of talks, a series of talks was available via live stream to the global ODSC community. On Thursday, May 3rd, the live streaming talks kicked off with Chief Architect at IBM Watson, Ruchir Puri, as he spoke on recent progress in the use of data science for enterprise, and some of the challenges facing the field going forward. Following Puri’s talk, Catherine O’Neil, data scientist, mathematician, and author of the New York Times bestseller Weapons of Math Destruction, discussed the ethical, social, and political implications of the use of algorithms to influence key decisions that affect our lives. Other talks included Brandon Rohrer, Data Scientist at Facebook, as he described how data from the social network assisted first responders and relief efforts in the wake of natural disasters in New Zealand and Chile.
Friday, May 4th, saw similarly engaging talks. Michael Bell, Senior Data Scientist at Agero, explained how he and his team are using machine learning techniques on mobile sensor data to make self-driving cars safer. Isaac Reyes, Founder of DataSeer, showed how to apply psychological and visual principles to data visualization practices as part of effective data storytelling. Aedin Culhane, Senior Research Scientist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, compared and contrasted different methods for matrix factorization on genomic datasets that she and her team are using to better understand and treat complex cancers.
Stay in the Loop
These presentations, among many others, made for a successful few days in Boston for ODSC East 2018. Be sure to check out opendatascience.com and subscribe to the ODSC newsletter for more coverage and analysis from the conference as well as updates on forthcoming meetups and events.