Montréal: Technology! Language! PyCon!

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:

Isn’t that the coolest darn thing? For the curious, you can see the final linguistic streetmap here, and the code is on her GitHub.

Here a few other talks that I enjoyed:

 

(Previously: I saw the city of Montréal a little bit.)

Montréal: Exploring the City

I just went to Canada! I spent five days there, over the last weekend, attending a conference for work. Despite having managed to find my way to far-flung places like South Africa and Chile, this was the first time I had ever been to any part of Canada. I am glad to have remedied this.

I was staying in Old Montréal, which is a placidly beautiful part of the city, with handsome, giant old stone buildings scattered around like it ain’t no big deal. My coworkers and I ate splendid food (foie gras, quail, rack of lamb, a wide range of crème brûlées), and were able to see Montréal both shrouded by grey, wintry rain at the start of our visit, and enlivened by comfortable sun on the last day.

Since I was there for a conference, I spent most of my time there traipsing around inside one very, very large building. On the last day there, however, I did get to explore the city itself a tiny bit. We rode the Métro to a quieter part of town, to investigate a shop there, which was a pleasant step off the normal downtown track. We also wandered around Old Montréal itself, by the edge of the Saint Lawrence River, admiring the piles of only-slightly-dirty snow piled up here and there, stumbling upon a maple sugar museum, and enjoying the architecture and the earnestly-posed statuary.

Here are a few photos:

 

I also wrote about the conference itself and all of my favorite technical bits thereof.