Strata 2014: Highlights from Keynote Speeches

Highlights from keynote speeches delivered by various eminent big data technology leaders from industry and academia at Strata 2014 Conference held in Santa Clara recently.

Strata 2014O'Reilly's Strata 2014 conference was held from Feb 11-13, 2014 at Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. This conference brought together about 3100 people. Among them were the brightest minds in data science and big data: decision makers using data to drive business strategy, as well as practitioners who collect, analyze, and manipulate it.

Here are the highlights of keynote speeches that were delivered during the conference:

First day of the conference was mostly about tutorials. It had two day-long sessions titled "Hardcore Data Science" and "Data-driven Business day". Overall, all of the tutorials helped the attendees learn and update themselves with the latest technologies. Particularly, the hands-on session during tutorials was well appreciated by the crowd.

Second day of the conference started with keynote welcome by Roger Magoulas from O'Reilly Media and Alistair Croll from Solve For Interesting.

Highlights from keynote speeches on day two (Wed Feb 12):

1. Geoffrey Moore, well known author, speaker and advisor, Geoffrey Moore Consulting delivered a lesson regarding how data will change business in the coming years.

2. Amr Awadallah from Cloudera, Inc. explained the evolution from Apache Hadoop to the Enterprise Data Hub. He insisted on Enterprise Data Hub (EDH) as the new foundation for the modern information architecture.

3. John Schitka from SAP emphasized on the crowd, explaining how we all can make the world a better place by coming together to collect massive data via crowdsourcing.

4. Ramona Pierson from Declara talked on uncapping learning at a massive scale by leveraging the cloud.

5. John Schroeder from MapR Technologies discussed few use cases of Hadoop. One of them was largest biometric database in India under Aadhaar project by Government of India.

6. Farrah Bostic from "The Difference Engine" introduced herself as a refugee from Advertising. She described various aspects involved in Market Research. She emphasized that how we decide what to measure does also matter.

7. Quentin Clark from Microsoft presented on how big data can reach 1 billion people. He mentioned that information can not only change business but people's individual life. He also emphasized on visualization of information as a powerful tool.

8. David Epstein from Sports Illustrated gave a captivating talk on applied sport data analysis and also criticized the 10,000 hour rule in sports.

9. Rodney Mullen from Almost Skateboards talked about learning analytics and how practice makes perfect. Rodney Muller giving speech

Highlights from keynote speeches on day three (Thu Feb 13):

1. Joe Hellerstein (adjunct faculty at UCB) and Tutti Taygerly from Trifacta spoke of two different perspectives - tech and design. They described "Predictive Interaction" as a new model for high-level human-data interaction that radically improves the productivity and accessibility of the most time-consuming work in the analytics lifecycle.

2. Kaushik Das from Pivotal gave a great talk on how creating a digital brain can prevent disasters for a better world. He illustrated with examples how we can build a digital brain by collecting data from a large number of sensors and use the brain to find value in that data.

3. Boyd Davis from Intel announced new Intel Data Platform based on Hadoop. He shared a glimpse into the future of a datacenter-scale open-source operating environment.

4. Matei Zaharia from Databricks (also one of the Apache Spark Committers) presented on how companies are using Spark & where the edge in Big Data will be.

5. Anjul Bhambhri from IBM discussed how In-Hadoop analytics is changing the game through the possibilities of Hadoop.

6. James Burke, a science and technology historian, futurist, and author gave a captivating talk titled "The Future Isn't What it Used to Be". He emphasized that most of the problems come from interdisciplinary and not from particular area of study. During the talk he also quoted Aristotle's principles of science: apply methodical thought & reduce everything to simplest form (but not simpler). His talk ended with a huge applause.

James Burke giving speech Highlights from closing keynote speeches:

1. Megan Price from Human Rights Data Analysis Group discussed about the real count of casualties in Syria, variation in report from different agencies and how big data effects human rights. She emphasized that reporting pattern might be too different than reality.

2. Ben Fry from Fathom focuses on understanding complex data. He used war math to illustrate cognitive bias on luck and survivorship. He also displayed interactive data visualization using example of Connected China, an HTML5 application that uses a custom database to explore the cultural and political factors that shape the dynamics of power in modern China.

3. David McRaney, an author and digital media director gave last and fantastic keynote lecture on “Survivorship Bias and the Psychology of Luck”. He used war math to illustrate cognitive bias on luck & survivorship. He summarized luck as what we call the result of a human being consciously interacting with chance. Regarding survivorship bias he concluded by putting forward that the true business is a monopoly run by survivors and those who fall are rarely paid for advice on how not to fail. McRaney giving speech Following are tweets by @kdnuggets during the conference:

At #strataconf @davidmcraney: beware of "success" advice - it is a monopoly run by survivors. Listen to those who fail on what not to do
At #strataconf @davidmcraney: when looking for advice, look for what not to do, for what is missing
At #strataconf @davidmcraney: beware of the advice from the successful - they were probably lucky. Learn more from failures
At #strataconf @davidmcraney shows many ways how people can be tricked: the science of "stupidity" and Luck
ConnectedChina - amazing visualization of social network and connections in China, from Ben Fry at #strataconf
At #strataconf James Burke predicts a huge revolution based on nanotechnology, everyone to have a fabber which can make ... everything!
At #strataconf James Burke: need to go beyond Descartes reductionism, to integrated systems thinking
At #strataconf James Burke: Major results comes from an unexplored no-man's land between the disciplines
At #strataconf James Burke: You are constrained to predict the future from the past, because it is all there is
At #strataconf: @databricks : #BigData will be standard - what matters is what you do with it. Apache #Spark is a great option
At #strataconf @joe_hellerstein: Trifacta uses predictive interaction, shows users best possible viz, learns from what user does
At #strataconf @joe_hellerstein: cannot get enough data scientist "heroes", masters of coding, stats, biz! Need teams, better SW design
At #strataconf @joe_hellerstein calls for #BigData Moonshots, not incremental projects

Click here to go through YouTube playlist for some keynote speeches and interviews held during the conference.