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VMblog's Expert Interviews: Mathew Lodge Talks Anaconda Project, Machine Learning, AnacondaCON 2018 and More

interview anaconda 

From the dozens of meetup groups available to the growing tech scene and strong pool of talented technologists, Austin is becoming a hot-bed for data scientists. Technology giants such as Apple, Microsoft, AT&T and Samsung each employ more than 2,000 people in the area, and more and more startups specializing in AI and data science, like Mythic, CognitiveScale and Anaconda, are calling the place home. I was recently able to catch up with Mathew Lodge, SVP of products and marketing at Anaconda to hear more about AnacondaCON, the company's four-day event, taking place in Austin on April 8-11, 2018.

The event serves as an opportunity for their open source community of more than 6 million users and their enterprise customers to come together to discover new trends in the industry, connect and learn how data science teams can extract valuable insights from data. Along with a number of open community and networking events, the conference will feature keynotes, general sessions, tutorials, and three main tracks: Real World Data Science, Anaconda Enterprise, and Open Source Technology.

VMblog:  Tell me about the Anaconda project.  When did it start and how did the community grow to be the largest open source community for Python for data scientists?

Mathew Lodge:  The founders of Anaconda were first-movers in using Python for data science, authoring the first fast matrix math library NumPy and the scientific Python library SciPy. The Anaconda Distribution and Conda package manager grew out of the unique challenges of Python data science package and dependency management, with the encouragement of Python Benevolent Dictator for Life, Guido van Rossum. 

Today, the Anaconda Distribution is used by over 6 million Python and R users in academia, government and companies of all sizes. It's the easiest and fastest way to get started and to manage and reproduce data science and machine learning projects across Windows, Mac and Linux. It's also the foundation of Amazon Web Services' Machine Learning AMIs and Azure Machine Learning.

VMblog:  How has data science evolved in the past two years as we hear more about AI and ML?

Lodge:  In the past 2 years AI and ML have become a major driver for the growth of Python data science. The Python community has developed a particularly rich ecosystem of libraries for cutting-edge ML and AI from the hugely popular Scikit-Learn through MXNet and Google's TensorFlow. All of these libraries contain complex multi-language dependencies and are hard to build from scratch, which is why Conda's quick and simple installations of pre-compiled binaries are so popular. 

With this rich ecosystem, Python has established itself as the de-facto language of machine learning exploration and deployment. While R has maintained a loyal user base of statisticians, all the language usage surveys show that Python is growing at the expense of traditional languages like Java and derivatives like Scala.

VMblog:  What can people expect to see at AnacondaCON this year?

Lodge:  I'm really excited about AnacondaCon, especially the educational and real-world data science sessions. We have some great tutorials on popular cutting-edge technologies like TensorFlow, GPU acceleration and streaming data analysis at scale. We're also going to hear from a wide variety of speakers on how Anaconda is being used for real-world applications from building badass cars to identifying distracted drivers to predictive maintenance. 

I'm also very thankful for great sponsors like Microsoft, NVIDIA, Datacamp, Dremio, NumFocus and Full Spectrum Analytics who don't just make the event viable but also provide great speakers.

VMblog:  What sessions are you particularly interested in?

Lodge:  I really want to see the Badass Car design session, but also DeepFashion: a REST API to detect clothing styles. That sounds like fun! I'm also interested to hear what Wes McKinney from TwoSigma is going to talk about - he's being very coy about the topic but he's done so much for the Python data science community with Pandas, his book and his recent Apache Arrow work.

VMblog:  Anything else you'd like to add?

Lodge:  We're pleased to offer a limited 30% off code for readers of VMblog: ACON30 - but move quickly as some of the tutorials are already full, and the conference is rapidly filling up. We're also offering 1-day tickets for local Austin attendees who can't get away for the full 4 days.

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Published Friday, March 23, 2018 12:27 PM by David Marshall
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