Thursday, October 14, 2010

Strangeloop talks day 1


Hilary Mason starts the day with a talk about machine learning and how the technology has evolved. Among the advances that have made machine learning accelerate:

  • Algorithms
  • On-demand (elastic) computing
  • Access to large amounts of data

Analyzing large amounts of data to find either patterns or to identify data trends requires algorithms to disambiguate data that is contextually unrelated.

Data classification through statistical modeling based on characteristics.


And then she went into math and Bayesian probability.

Bitly trick: <-- add a plus to the end of a link to see realtime metrics about a link (statistics about clicks and where they are coming from over time).

Next talk: Riak (Rusty Klophaus @rklophaus) Dynamo-inspired NoSQL key-value datastore

Nosql is being driven by narcissism, voyeurism, and materialism :)

  • Has same interface for single and multiple node deployment
  • Configurable replication for buckets
  • Data relationships can be defined for querying
  • Replicates data across nodes as they are added to a cluster
  • Supports map/reduce operations
  • Can have HTTP interface to introduce caching and streaming
  • Full-text search
  • Riak is slower in virtualized environments.
  • Multi-site replication is an enterprise feature

Upgrading instances doesn't support rolling upgrades, so non-multisite upgrades would mean bringing down the ring to change the software.

Next talk: supporting an open source community (Yahuda Katz)


Rails optimizes for developer happiness. The python community optimizes for explicitness. Focusing on happiness as a primary goal would draw developer attention faster than another more easily measurable metric. Performance or other kinds of optimizations can be attacked later.

Nothing beats adoption. Making your project easy to adopt (friendly licenses, support community) makes a big difference.

Business is good for the ecosystem; projects that allow independent businesses (training, consulting) to be built up around them will create the ecosystem that supports the viability of a project and the community involved in it.

Human beings underestimate the network effect.

MIT is a great license to promote a "network effect" for a project.

PDI (please do investigate): ask the community to fix a problem they care about and then incorporate the change if it makes sense for the larger community.

Market early with good propaganda.

Many, many other points (couldn't keep up). Outstanding talk! (Best talk of the day, actually.)

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