ODSC Europe - A two-day adventure

Our employees Marta Villarroya and Christian Lamberty visited the ODSC and explored the latest developments in artificial intelligence, machine learning, programming languages ​​and data visualization. 

Last week, the Open Data Science Conference took place in London. The conference is considered one of the largest and most important in the field of Data Science. In particular, the exchange between decision-makers and operators is encouraged, which makes ODSC a unique platform. We didn’t miss the opportunity to attend the conference and discover the latest developments in artificial intelligence, machine learning, programming languages ​​and data visualization. 

On Thursday morning we arrived at ODSC and were immediately fascinated by the concentrated atmosphere. We noticed that the audience was very international. Surprisingly, many young people were among the visitors. Full of curiosity, we mingled with the crowd and eagerly attended lectures and workshops. Considering the many different offers, the decision was not easy. 

Particularly interesting was an approach of Shiloulin Sam PhD, who researches Cloudera Fast Forward Labs. She introduced Google's BERT open source software, which is helpful in creating new models for natural language processing. She also pointed out, that humans and machines use a completely different approach when grouping datasets. Even though the machines’ approach may not always be intuitive for humans, it can reveal completely different but valuable insights. Her motto: "If you do not know how to group the data, let it be done by a machine first." We want to take a closer look at BERT to find out if the software might be helpful for us in future projects. 

During our visit, we learned a lot and gained many new insights. Especially Marta had an 'aha'-experience: "I was surprised that Artificial Intelligence is already used in so many areas of everyday life. I was not aware that AI is used to regulate the stock market." Nevertheless, Germans are very positive about Artificial Intelligence. A study by Bikom revealed that 7 out of 10 German citizens are convinced that AI will be crucial for prosperity in the future. Undeniable, AI is the future, but it is already essential in daily life! 

At lunch we had a slight setback. Unfortunately, there were far too few tables and chairs, so many visitors had to sit on the floor or stand while eating. Since a fee-based registration was required to attend the conference, the organizer could have better planned according to the expected number of visitors. But that could not tarnish our positive impression or our good mood for long. We were way to excited about the many offers that waited for us to be discovered.  

Christian has already visited the ODSC last year and therefore has the direct comparison: "This year I recognized a little lack on technical lectures. In addition, it’s a little disappointing, when big companies only use their talk to promote their products. On the upside, the flow of visitors was much better controlled this year, which prevented large crowds and congestion. " 

More than once we found that methods and solutions that we have developed at droxIT are used in similar ways by specialists. As a small team, we constantly must step out of our comfort zone and work on new topics and programs. We’re proud to experience that experts are using similar approaches. Now we know, we’re on track which increases our motivation. And of course, we also learned a few tricks! 😉 

While Marta is particularly impressed by the fact that AI is already omnipresent, Christian now considers himself holding a lecture or workshop to pass on his knowledge. All in all, we return to the office very inspired and highly motivated and want to participate in the largest Open Data Science Conference next year. Especially the words of Manuela Veloso, Head of J.P. Morgan AI Research, We assume AI to be that one-shot thing. We do it, we are done. But you're never done" stuck in our memory and seem to be more applicable than ever.

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