Thanks for letting us interview you Josh, we know you are very busy. Overall, how was PyCon 2016, held in Cebu?
PyCon 2016 was great, and I can say it’s the best conference I’ve ever been to so far. The best thing about the conference was its success in upholding its theme of diversity. Normally you’d expect that a conference about the Python programming language would have topics that are very specific for software engineering or IT people, but PyCon 2016 brought people from various fields.
How many speakers were there?
There were 18 official speakers, and more than 20 if you include the 5 minute lightning talks that come from the audience. We could group the speakers into groups: scientists/engineers (hydro renewable energy, robotics, astrophysics, genomics), data analysts/scientists (Rappler, Savvysherpa), software vendors (AWS, Plone), teachers (teaching Python for kids, building a Python community), IT guys (stock trading engine, server admin, cultural heritage preservation).
Which talks were most interesting for you?
The most interesting talks for me were mostly from the first two groups I mentioned (scientists/engineers and data analysts/scientists) since their work is closer to what I also do. The most interesting among them was Russell Shepherd’s talk of how they’re currently using data science methods for Rappler. He specifically went through examples of Python code that they used to help with building Rappler X and code they used to recommend related Rappler articles for their readers. It was cutting edge data science.
How was the atmosphere at the conference?
The atmosphere felt like a university setting, where a lot of people are excited to share and deliver their ideas and projects. It was very different from the OSRP conference because for every speaker, there was a lot of engagement from the audience. It was obvious that there was a lot of talent residing in the room. There were many legitimate questions that sparked discussion. As for the future of data science, one of the Savvysherpa speakers was actually calling for Cebuanos to organize a data science meetup in Cebu. Other fields such as genomics are also very much interested in data science methods.
Thanks Josh for your time!