There’s No Place Like Home

The data scientist community finally has a home. The Second Annual Data Science Summit takes place on May 23, creating the ultimate nesting ground for this small population of artful data enthusiasts.  Similar to last year’s First Annual Data Science Summit, the goal this year is to nurture the data scientist community and drive success for these early Big Data practitioners. I had a chance to watch last year’s event keynotes and was thoroughly impressed with the commitment and passion for Big Data.  Watch an excerpt from last year’s keynote by Jonathan Harris.

I can tell you that Big Data is real, and this year’s Data Science Summit will unveil the truth. I spoke with the Event Chairman of the Data Science Summit, Richard Snee, to give my readers a preview of this year’s event.  I’ve registered.  Will I see you there?

What was the impetus for EMC Greenplum to create an annual DSS?

As leaders in Big Data, it is important to foster a community to drive further advancement and innovation. More importantly, it is also our responsibility to engage with the community and discuss what’s real, what’s not real, and the opportunities ahead.

This is a vendor neutral event, with no product endorsements. EMC Greenplum is sponsoring the event, but getting no sales leads from this investment?

Well, truth be told, sometimes the best sales events don’t look like sales events at all! Investing in an event like this in the early stage of Big Data is a way to bring the practitioners and vendors together to answer the tough questions, share knowledge, and collaborate to further evolve the technology and ensure current and future customers get what they need and are successful.

What is the show theme for this year’s DSS?

Prediction. Transformation. And Building A Data Dream Team.

What are the goals for the event this year?

To make sure that questions are asked and that these questions are answered! Often times at events like these, questions can be glazed over or not answered at all. It is my personal goal that attendees get their questions answered so they can move forward with their Big Data goals. We have built our agenda around this goal. For example, we have an ‘under the hood’ session, taking real life use cases and breaking them down to a deeper level to identify the Big Data tools and techniques utilized.

What types of people will benefit from the event?

We believe in order to be successful with Big Data, you need a team – A Data Science team with diverse roles to tackle the multiple dimensions of Big Data. The Data Scientist plays a significant role, but you also need data architects, data engineers, data administrators, business analysts, and a LOB participant. The Data Science Summit takes into account this extended team with an agenda relevant to these diverse roles.

What were some of the highlights from last year’s 1st annual DSS?

When you do an event for the first time for an emerging technology like Big Data, you never really know what to expect and if you were able to bring together people in a positive way. We were very fortunate to have an amazing event. The first highlight was seeing the birth of a new community being formed, celebrating a common passion and creating a home for people with common interests and concerns. The second highlight was the keynote from Jonathan Harris, an artist, programmer and storyteller, who discussed the human aspects of Big Data. With a sole focus on the technology of Big Data, the human aspect can get lost. Rather than focusing just on the number crunching to get results, it is important to think about how best to communicate with others, and be well aware of the impact your work has on poeple.

What are some of the expected highlights or predictions this year? Shall we ask Nate Silver?

There are two highlights I’d like to mention. The first is a keynote delivered by Nate Silver, a statistician, writer and founder of The New York Times political blog Silver is well known for his highly accurate predictions for baseball performance political election outcomes. For example, he correctly predicted the winner of 49 of the 50 states during the November 2008 presidential election. The only state he missed was Indiana, which went for Barack Obama by 0.9%. As such, the focus of Silver’s keynote will be around predictive analytics.

The second highlight is a panel hosted by Jim Frederick, international editor and executive editor for TIME, focusing on social data. There are so many unanswered questions about how social data can be leveraged so this panel will discuss the role social data has in the economy, politics, and society.

See you all at the show! Go to for more information on the 2012 Data Science Summit.

About the Author: Mona Patel