By Roman Shaposhnik
Earlier this month, I attended Big Data Day LA – a vibrant community gathering of data and technology enthusiasts in sunny Los Angeles. Located on the USC campus, the 5th annual event was organized by local Big Data user groups and volunteers!
Unlike many of the big data industry’s events, Big Data Day LA wasn’t a company-owned conference and registration was fully covered by data-driven sponsors, like Hortonworks, Disney Interactive, WANdisco and more – making the event free for anyone to attend. As such, it wasn’t surprising that it attracted such a big crowd, with more than 1,500 people in attendance!
During the conference, I presented “Big Data on The Rise: Views of Emerging Trends & Predictions from real life end-users” where I offered the audience an overview of key trends emerging in 2017 within the Hadoop and Big Data ecosystem. My session also covered data from the ODPi End User Advisory Board (TAB) and real end-user perspectives on how companies are using Big Data tools, challenges they face and where they are looking to focus investments. My talk was well received by those in attendance and quite a few people approached me following the session to discuss their new understanding of ODPi and how it relates to traditional vendors, the Apache Software Foundation, the Linux Foundation and the enterprise.
The remainder of the conference featured a great selection of talks, especially for data scientists and software developers and, unsurprisingly, the entertainment industry track was a huge hit – featuring talks from Netflix, Warner Brothers, Guitar Center and more.
And, of course, being a Silicon Valley guy I simply had to check out all the startup buzz at the conference as well. Not only did the conference feature an awesome Startup Showcase track, but there were also quite a few presentations pushing the envelope on state-of-the-art machine learning. Just to give you a quick taste, I suggest you go to http://novamente.ai/ and check out the truly SciFi projects these guys are tackling. Their presentation on how to apply AI to producing ever higher grossing movies (think scripts, casting, visual effects and more) had the audience on the edge of our seats.
A few other sessions I particularly enjoyed include one from Bain & Company where they tried to put big data and machine learning in the context of organizational shifts required in any traditional enterprise, in order to realize full value from big data insight. On the flip side, even if you have your organization all lined up for digital transformation, you still have to be mindful of challenges on the technical side of machine learning. The notion of a hidden, growing technical debt in these complex, end-to-end machine learning pipelines is something that we all should keep in mind and Irina Kukuyeva’s presentation did a great job of highlighting some of the same important areas.
Overall, Big Data Day LA was a fun and dynamic event that harnessed the upstream community and showcased the importance data has on each level of business.