Earlier this month, I was in Montréal for PyCon 2015, a conference about Python. In case you don’t know of it: Python is a very flexible, powerful programming language with amazing support for everything from web development to scientific computing. It is one of my very favorite technologies, so I was genuinely excited to be at this event.
I attended as many talks as humanly possible, because om nom nom Python. Here are the talks that I found the the most interesting and enjoyable. (The full talks list is here, with many of the videos available on YouTube.)
My very favorite talk, hands-down, was Michelle Fullwood’s talk on building a linguistic street map. She is a linguistics grad student who decided to make a map of Singapore color-coded by the linguistic origin of the street names (e.g. Malay, British, Chinese). I loved this talk because, in addition to the topic being fascinating, she struck an excellent balance between theory and example. The talk covers a lot of good machine learning concepts, and it illustrates these very well with bite-sized, effective code snippets. It was great. Even if you haven’t the faintest idea what Python is, it’s worthwhile:
Here a few other talks that I enjoyed:
- Adam Palay – “Words, words, words”: Reading Shakespeare with Python. I get overexcited about anything to do with natural language processing. While this was a more novice-level talk, I enjoyed its approach to the topic.
- Philip James, Asheesh Laroia – Type python, press enter. What happens?. An excellent, condensed technical explanation of what happens under the hood when you start the Python interpreter in a command prompt. Very interesting.
- Mali Akmanalp – Other people’s messy data (and how not to hate it!). A nice set of tools and strategies for dealing with unpleasantly messy or inconsistent datasets, presented with a good dose of humor.
- Sasha Laundy – Your Brain’s API: Giving and Getting Technical Help. This was the only non-technical talk I attended, and it was a lucky choice: an inspiring talk with lots of practical advice on how to find a healthy workplace culture, how to manage self-doubt, and how to communicate about what type of technical help you can give or receive.
(Previously: I saw the city of Montréal a little bit.)