Vancouver Python Day

On Saturday 17 November I attended the Vancouver Python Day. There were many interesting talks, the highlight being a talk about using Python to build an internet radio on top of a Raspberry Pi computer. I am new to the Python language so it was great to get introduced to concepts such as decorators and metaprogramming. Still a bit over my head but I know what to aim for. The most useful talk for me was about iPython and the iPython Notebook. This are great tools to build a set of interactive notes while learning Python.

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The start of my industrial career!!!

It has been a while since I last posted on my blog. That is because I have set the first steps in the direction to becoming a data scientist: in October I started an internship as a data scientist at Metafor Software. At the same time we’re going to apply for the NSERC Industrial R&D Fellowship. If the fellowship is approved, then I will be hired for a full-time position!

Metafor Software specializes in anomaly detection and brought me on to build analytics tools for time-series analysis. The main project I will start to work on in the future are automated monitoring tools. Building unsupervised machine learning tools which are able to distinguish anomolous behavior in time series of… well basically anything: CPU, memory but in general any KPI/business metric you would like to monitor for anomalous behaviour.

Besides the time-series analysis I will also help to develop a cohesiveness algorithm. This tool allows to detect servers who behave abnormal in comparison with the majority of the servers in the cluster. The algorithm takes as input all the data per server (like CPU and memory) and then automatically detects which server is acting out of whack in comparison with the overall performance of the cluster. So pretty soon I’ll be doing some happy machine learning!

Resources for learning about databases

A data scientist spends a lot of time dealing with the data and getting it in and out of databases. There are some good resources for learning SQL and MapReduce. On Coursera there is the course Introduction to Databases which mainly deals with relational databases and SQL (queries, normal forms, constraints & triggers, views, etc.). Coursera also offers a Data Science course where, among the many interesting topics, they spend some time discussing MapReduce. If you want to practice with the ideas of MapReduce there is JSMapReduce where you can play around with python or Javascript code.

A visit to McKesson

During the workshop I visited on 15 March (see this post) I met with a Senior Research Engineer and the Imaging Services Manager of McKesson. They kindly offered to give me a tour in their Richmond facility. It was very interesting to see how McKesson Medical Imaging works, from the help desk, software development, hardware to the installation in the hospitals. Thanks so much for the tour! The healthcare industry seems to be a very rewarding work environment.

A Dialogue… Building and Sustaining BC’s Technology Ecosystem

To get inspiration for my career choice I decided to go to this interesting workshop. It turned out to be very interesting starting with the opening word by Premier Christy Clark. Through the presentations and talking to attendees I learned about the wide variety of technology projects which take place in the Lower Mainland: McKessonGenome BCWavefront, etc. Seems there are many interesting projects for a mathematician who studied statistics, probability and has programming skills!