Cloudera Now, a mini-conference on data, analytics and machine learning, is a good overview

Cloudera held a pretty impressive web event this morning. It was a mini-conference, with keynotes, some breakout tracks and even a small vendor area. The event was called Cloudera Now, and the link is the registration one. I’ll update it if they change once it’s VOD.

The primary purpose was to present Cloudera as the company for data support in the rapidly growing field of Machine Learning (ML). Given the state of the industry, I’ll say it was a success.

As someone who has an MS focused on artificial intelligence (ancient times…) and has kept up with it, there were holes, but the presentations I watched did set the picture for people who are now hearing about it as a growing topic.

The cleanest overview was a keynote presentation by Tom Davenport, Professor of IT and Management, Babson College. That’s worth registering for those who want to get a well presented overview.

Right after that, he and Amy O’Conner, Big Data Evangelist at Cloudera, had a small session that was interesting. On the amusing side, I like how people are finally beginning to admit that, as Amy mentioned, that the data scientist might not be defined as just one person. I’ll make a fun “I told you so” comment by pointing to an article I published more than three years ago: The Myth of the Data Scientist.

After the keynotes, there were three session of presentations, each with three seminars from which to choose. The three I attended were just ok, as they all dove too quickly into the product pitches. Given the higher level context of the whole event, I would have liked them all to spent more time discussing the market and concepts far longer, and then had much briefer pitch towards the end of the presentations. In addition, they seem too addicted to the word “legacy,” without some of them really knowing what that meant or even, in one case, getting it right.

However, those were minor problems given what Cloudera attempted. For those business people interested in hearing about the growing intersection between data, analytics, and machine learning, go to Cloudera’s site and take some time to check out Cloudera Now.

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