Strata 2015: Keynote roundup

February 23, 2015
By

(This article was first published on Revolutions, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

I spent last week at the Strata 2015 Conference in San José, California. As always, Strata made for a wonderful conference to catch up on the latest developments on big data and data science, and to connect with colleagues and friends old and new. Having been to every Strata conference since the first in XXXX, it's been interesting to see the focus change over the years. While past conferences have focused on big data and data science software (and to be sure, Hadoop, Spark, Python and R all got plenty of mentions this year), the focus has shifted to more of the applications and impacts of data science.

If you couldn't attend yourself, many of the keynote presentations are now available online. Follow the links below to watch a few of my favourites:

President Barack Obama introduced the DJ Patil, the US Government's new Chief Data Scientist (and even cracked a half-decent stats joke). DJ reviewed the advances in Data Science over the past four years, with a focus on the rise of open data and current and future open government initiatives.

Solomon Hsiang gave an inspirational presentation on using statistical analysis to quantify influence of climate change on conflict. This research was also the topic of a recent New York Times op-ed. The meta-analysis was conducted with R, and you can find the replication data and scripts here

Eden Medina shared some lessons learned from a fascinating episode in computer history, when the Chilean government created Project Cybersyn in 1971 to create what we'd today call an economic dashboard, using only an obsolete mainframe and a "network" of Telex machines.

Joseph Sirosh described an interesting (and surprising) data science application in dairy farming: using pedometers on cows to detect when they are in heat, and even to influence the sex of their offspring.

Jeffrey Heer showed some examples of good and not-so-good data visualizations, and how he applied recent research in visual perception to the visualization tools in Trifacta.

Alistair Croll made some thought-provoking predictions about our future technological lives, including that digital agents may one day become the start of a new species.

That's just a sampling of the many keynotes from the conference. You can watch many of the others at the link before.

Strata + Hadoop World: Feb 17-20 2015, San Jose CA

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