I wanted to tell you guys about Meetup.com, which is a company that helps people form communities to share knowledge and techniques as well as to have pizza and beer. It’s kind of like taking the best from academics (good talks, interested and nerdy audience) and adding immediacy and relevance; I’ve been using stuff I learned at Meetups in my daily job.
I’m involved in three Meetup groups. The first is called NYC Machine Learning, and they hold talks every month or so which are technical and really excellent and help me learn this new field, and in particular the vocabulary of machine learners. For example at this recent meeting, on the cross-entropy method.
The second Meetup group I go to is called New York Open Statistical Programming Meetup, and there the focus is more on recent developments in open source programming languages. It’s where I first heard of Elastic R for example, and it’s super cool; I’m looking forward to this week’s talk entitled “Statistics and Data Analysis in Python with pandas and statsmode“. So as you can see the talks really combine technical knowledge with open source techniques. Very cool and very useful, and also a great place to meet other nerdy startuppy data scientists and engineers.
The third Meetup group I got to is called Predictive Analytics. Next month they’re having a talk to discuss Bayesians vs. frequentists, and I’m hoping for a smackdown with jello wrestling. Don’t know who I’ll root for, but it will be intense.