If there is one conference I love to follow, it is PyCon! We have been following the PyCon U.S. for last 2 years and I have learnt a lot by watching the videos of the talks and the workshops happening in PyCon. This time I decided to attend the India chapter of PyCon – PyCon India 2015, which happened in Bengaluru from 2nd – 4th October 2015.
Due to some earlier commitments, I could not attend the workshops on 2nd. But, I made sure to make the most of the event in remaining 2 days. Following were some notes and impressions I carried from PyCon India:
Awesome turnout at the event
It was heartening to see the turn out at the event. We got to know later that more than 1500 people registered for the event with ~20% females. This was probably the largest tech event I have personally attended in last 10 years. For the entire 2 days, the event received jam packed auditoriums with people full of enthusiasm and energy. Here is a snippet of 4th morning, I gathered from Twitter:
Profile of the attendees
My initial impression was that the conference had higher presence of students / developers in early stages of career than I had thought. However, I think this was more to do with the fact that it was difficult to reach to venue on the morning of event, if you are coming from outside Bengaluru (the airport was about 2 hours drive from the venue). As the conference proceeded, I could see more senior developers, data scientists and pythonsits making their way to the event.
Keynotes & KG award
I loved the fact that key notes on both the days and KG award were given to people leading and actively involved in Python community. Here are the details about the speakers and their brief profiles:
- The keynote speaker for Day 1 was Dr. Ajith Kumar, who is a M.S. & Ph.D. in in Nuclear Physics from University of Calicut and M.Sc in Accelerator Physics, from University of Manitoba. For last few years, he has been involved in promoting Free Software tools in Education and leading a project for developing open hardware laboratory equipment for teaching science, that uses Python for data analysis and visualization.
- Keynote speaker for Day 2 was Nicholas H. Tollarway a software engineer, classically trained musician, philosophy graduate, teacher and writer! His passion for education stood out and so did his efforts on community building through his work on running Python Dojo. Here is the link to his presentation. I hope that the video of his talk is uploaded on YouTube soon for the benefit of larger audience. He demonstrated use of a small board, he plans to use to teach coding to children which will be open sourced next year. Inspiration, inspiration, inspiration! #PyconIndia starts trending on Twitter on 4th morning.
- The recipient of KG award was Mr. Vijay Kumar. He was again an inspiration for his simplicity and dedication to community building in Chennai. ChennaiPy gets 80 – 100 people attending their meetups and their arrangements and support for the event stands out.
The nominated talks – Let Python-someness begin
Coming to the main part of the event, the talks were nominated and voted by the community. You can see the complete list of talks here. Each of the talk had high quality content and participation from the audience. Here are some of the talks associated with Data Science, which you can watch whenever the videos are up:
- Consuming Government Data with Python and D3
One of the thing which stood out during the event was that the entire event was run on time.
The lightening talks and Shakthimaan
Lightening talks are essentially small 3 minute talks by people to share their work, passion or any thing else (of course related to Python) with the audience. They were crisp talks, some focusing on fun, while other on their hacks and information.
A special mention to the lightening talk from Shakthimaan – he delivered nursery rhymes & yet another lightening talk flawlessly. While I can’t replicate the experience and his skill in delivering the talk, you can still go ahead and read the content.
Since, there was a lot of enthusiasm in the room for data science, we also made a lightening talk about what we do at Analytics Vidhya.
Open Space on Data Science:
Open space was another awesome format, where people could gather outside the talks and discuss about any topic they want with others. These were floated on a board and people could join the open talks on their own. We found one of Data Science and met some of our followers and data hackers here. Here are some stills from the open space on data science:
My Notes and Takeaways:
- It was amazing and quite refreshing to meet other people involved in community building. Some of them leave an inspiration while others lead a helping hand. At then end of the day, it feels like meeting a few alter ego, who enjoy the journey of creating a community more than any output attached to it.
- PyCon India is lucky to have such enthusiastic and relentless volunteers, who made sure the event was a success. The entire event is run by volunteers and the outcome from this group was flawless!
- There was a lot of enthusiasm for data science and machine learning in the room (oops! the hall!). I think all the talks on these topics probably received the most number of questions and engagement from the audience – probably a sign of things to come.
- I was pleasantly surprised by the show of hands from people who knew about Analytics Vidhya during my lightening talk – thanks to all our readers and audience for following us and spreading the word. We will make sure that this awareness increases multi-folds in the years to come!
Like all events, PyCon India came to a close. I walked out refreshed from the event carrying a big smile and lot of warmth from our followers. The event left me inspired and motivated for putting in more efforts in time to come! See you every one again at PyCon India 2016!