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Thoughts on the SF Bay Data Mining Camp


By David Smith, Nov 2, 2009. I had a great time at the Data Mining Camp hosted by the ACM yesterday. The event was full of energy -- despite original projections of around 100 attendees, in fact more than 200 people from around the region turned up to meet and discuss various aspects of data mining. This was an "unconference" - except for a 30-minute panel discussion (great discussion from folks at Google and LinkedIn, amongst others) there was no pre-set agenda. Instead, people proposed topics for discussion, participants expressed interest with a show of hands, and the talks were allocated to timeslots and rooms accordingly.


I proposed a topic on Data Mining and Machine Learning with R, which with a show of hands about 50 people were interested in. Then someone proposed a topic on Basic R, and more than 80 people signed up for that one. So there was a lot of interest in R at the conference -- lots of people had heard about R but hadn't yet used it. I participated in both those sessions. For the Basics session, I have an introduction to R resources for beginners and the R syntax. For the Machine Learning session, I relied heavily on Josh Reich's machine learning script and other blog posts about predictive analytics. There was also a general session on open-source data mining tools. In addition to R, there was an interesting demo of KNIME (a workflow-based data mining tool that reminded me of Insightful Miner). It was interesting to see that KNIME can run algorithms from R and Weka, too.

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