One Week, Three capitals, Three Conferences

May was an eventful month. In the first two weeks, we were very excited to launch our data science bootcamp Basecamp! Now that the application process is open, all prospects can finally apply and set off on an adventurous journey to becoming qualified data scientists with us. At the same time we concluded our lecture series by delivering a talk on Big Data and Data Science at Charles University in Prague. What an exciting time! But that was just the beginning. In the second half of the month, we visited three different European capitals to attend three conferences: Big Data Universe in Budapest, Big Data & Data Science Conference in Paris, and last but not least Pioneers Festival in Vienna.

Lukas introducing data science to students from IES, Charles University in Prague

Lukas introducing data science to students from IES, Charles University in Prague

On 19th May we went to Budapest to attend Big Data Universe conference. The event took place in Akvárium Klub, where a party venue was turned into a conference space for 300 hundred attendees and 16 speakers (mostly, but not only, Hungarian data science authorities) with two stages, and several exhibitor stands. The conference focused on current trends and interesting use cases from the fields related to Big Data. It was kicked-off by Alexander Bibighaus’ (Cloudera) speech about Hadoop’s impact on the future of data management, followed by Scott Krueger’s (Skyscanner) talk on how the size of data influences the decision quality. Other presentations were about data pipelines, data quality, robot detection, etc. “I enjoyed the conference, it is always nice to see what other people from the field of data science are doing. Personally, I was looking forward to Zoltan Toth’s presentation. I’ve heard Zoltan speaking before at Big Data meetups in Vienna – his presentations are always insightful and fun.” Juraj, CSO of Knoyd.

If you’d like to see some of the presentations, you can download the slides or watch them in the Agenda section here.

Máté Gulyás on designing data architectures

Máté Gulyás on designing data architectures

Four days later, on 23rd of May, the Data ScienceTech Institute (DSTI) hosted Big Data & Data Science Conference in Paris. What really caught our attention was the fact that the keynote speaker for this conference was announced to be no one other than Dr. Gregory Piatetsky-Shapiro, the founder of KDNuggets and co-founder of KDD conferences - also considered by some to be the “founding father” of data science. Although, as he mentioned in his speech, he does not consider himself to be the latter “because then there would be all these awkward questions like ‘Who is the mother?”.

Gregory Piatetsky-Shapiro on Past, Present, and Future of Data Science

Gregory Piatetsky-Shapiro on Past, Present, and Future of Data Science

We could not miss an opportunity to see him in person and it was an inspiring experience. His presentation led through the evolution of data science and the growth of occurrences and usage of various terms related to data science in time. His views on the future of data science were insightful and gave us quite the additional motivation-boot for what we are doing. Besides captivating and inspirational insights from the field of data science, Gregory’s presentation did not lack funny anecdotes (“There was an article about Data Scientist being the sexiest job of the 21st century. When I told my wife, she wasn’t so sure.”). 

The whole conference was rather small-scale, which, however, enabled the attendees to fully immerse, engage in a lively discussion, and have their most intriguing questions about data science answered.

On May 24th and 25th we visited yet another conference, the biggest in volume so far and the most spectacular one as well: Pioneers. Right in the opening speech we learnt that Pioneers is in fact a festival and not a conference. A festival of ideas, innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship,…you name it! From more than 2500 startups that had applied, the 500 most promising ones (and Knoyd among them) were selected to attend this festival taking place in the historical Hofburg Palace in Vienna.

Knoyd was selected among Pioneers 500 most promising startups

Knoyd was selected among Pioneers 500 most promising startups

The agenda promised an unforgettable experience and we were full of expectations… and nobody left disappointed. The two main stages and several other smaller venues offered attendees a fascinating spectrum of latest technologies, priceless advice for startups and entrepreneurs, and loads and loads of fun. The official program was complemented by a huge amount of exhibitor booths. Here entrepreneurs were fighting for the attendees' attention by introducing their inventions – such as flying simulators using virtual reality that enables you experience what it feels like to be airborne or to become a pilot of a jet plane.

The main stage of the Pioneers Festival

The main stage of the Pioneers Festival

One of the many great features of the Pioneers festival was professional matchmaking. Based on preferences and interests, participants could request meetings with one another in advance, which were then, if accepted by the other person, scheduled in 30-minute intervals based on the availabilities of both sides. This way, really anyone could meet anyone. Startups were able to search the Pioneers database for investors, media, corporates (and vice versa) and got a chance to discuss with them anything they considered worthy. We made use of this opportunity as much as possible, which sometimes meant that all you could see of us were blurred figures in the corridors hurrying from one meeting point to another.

One of the most challenging things during the festival was to decide between the almost overwhelming offer of interesting activities – a lot was happening at the same time. However, the organizators anticipated this and, after the conference, published videos from all talks. We can now easily catch up on something we might have missed, while we were flying in the skies, collecting the flyers from stands, enjoying the catering, or playing an exciting mini ping-pong match.

Our CEO Lukas sums up the Pioneers festival: “Pioneers was a great opportunity to meet potential business partners, investors or just run into and catch up with friends from other startups. You just walk around and absorb everything that’s happening. Everything can be a potentially useful idea or opinion. It was great there!!!

If you are interested in the latest trends in virtual and augmented reality, entertainment, media, and many other topics that passed through Pioneers stages, you can watch all the videos here. What can be added? It was amazing and we definitely hope to be able to come back next year!

PS: As a bonus here is a picture of Knoyd and Soley guys (can you guess who’s who?) from Tuesday’s Pioneers' 5th anniversary party so that you can enjoy some Pioneers atmosphere :).

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