Fast Data and a Little Bit of Robot Rock, Paper, Scissors Fun at Strata Hadoop

Talent Analytics

Talent Analytics

Fast Data and a Little Bit of
Robot Rock, Paper, Scissors Fun at Strata Hadoop
Carla Gentry, Data Scientist, Talent Analytics, Corp.


Strata Hadoop NYC 2016, is one of the largest gatherings of big data, machine learning and AI enthusiast I’ve ever been a part of. If the convention had happened 20 years ago the place would have been full of pocket protectors but today’s geek/nerd is a little different. What I saw was an overall environment of solving the world’s problems and making people healthier with a little splash of sales of course.

As always the major players were there Cloudera, SAP, IBM, Intel to name a few but what was really interesting was the amount of open source discussions. Apache Spark, Cloud Foundry, Kafka were part of many lectures and several tutorials complete with examples of how open source can be used to solve problems that involve massive amounts of data.

Some Highlights:

  • I very much enjoyed Penn medicine’s Michael Draugelis’s talk on how AI can predict patient outcome but it was more than just bed counts and probability of return illnesses, it’s so much more involved and very fascinating. There is a terrific article in US News about him
  • John Akred, CTO of Silicon Valley Data Science, discussed combining deep expertise in analytics and data science with business acumen and dynamic engineering leadership. One of John’s tweets from the conference, “The different uses and abuses of elephant stock photography continue to be one of my favorite aspects of #StrataHadoop #strataconf” Giggle, got to love Hadoop and John’s sense of humor!
  • Susan Etlinger from the Altimeter Group talked about understanding the value of computer vision for analysis and decision making.
  • Martin Hall, chief data scientist at Intel, commented that the explosion of interest and activity in big data means that “we now have the data, the analytics and the computing power to deliver more than insights – we can enable intelligence.”
  • Kyle Ambert from Trusted Analytics Platform, an open-source software platform, optimized for performance and security to accelerate the creation of advanced analytics and machine learning solutions, talked about how their TAP project creates a forum for data scientist to collectively work on data sets, think about it, “we” data scientist, can solve more problems as a community than any one of us could ever solve individually. Working together for the greater good and an overall eagerness to learn were a common theme I saw throughout the whole strata Hadoop convention.

One Low Light – How Does this Relate to HR and Workforce Analytics:

One observation I wanted to add, Talent Analytics, Corp. was the only HR / workforce analytics company represented.

I saw no human resource bloggers, no workforce data scientists asking questions (except for me), no workforce vendors representing at all.

This is surprising since this conference is the best Data Science conference in the world.  If the HR / Workforce analytics domain wants to mature alongside other people analytics domains they need to be represented at these.

Now granted this convention was for sales… software, applications, tools of the trade for programmers, developers, data scientist or anyone interested in machine learning, AI and the event even came complete with a robot playing rock paper scissors.

The Big Question I Walked Away With – Adoption, Cost and Moving beyond Being Cool

“We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge” – John Naisbitt. Some major corporations collect data for the sake of collecting data – it’s the cool thing to do – to be in the middle of data science, big data and the like. But this isn’t sustainable.

When businesses glean insight from the massive amount of data they collect and store, it ultimately needs to affect how they do business, in turn changing “gut” feelings into data driven results.

I’m Excited about the Future

The future looks promising according to what I saw at Strata Hadoop, open source, robotics, machine learning, artificial intelligence will be part of the future.  The question remains:  how long will it take before we have implemented things that can save lives, cure cancer and recommend humans are put into optimal work environments.

Businesses need to focus on ROI and move beyond relying on more than just their gut, in many human domains like the medical field, as well as the workforce domain.

The good news is we have a brand new batch of data scientist anxious to learn (including workforce data scientists), willing to put in the time, effort and energy to actually make a difference, so I walked away from this convention with a good feeling knowing the future is data driven and my nerdy “Star Trek” dreams may soon be a reality!

Thanks for a great Strata Hadoop New York City!  And, come on Workforce / HR Data Scientists. I hope to join more of you there next year!


About the Author:

Carla Gentry
Data Scientist
Talent Analytics, Corp.
Twitter:  @TalentAnalytics

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