Melissa Santos to speak at Data Day Texas 2017

Melissa Santos will be joining the lineup of speakers for the upcoming Data Day Texas.

Melissa Santos has over a decade of experience working with data, from ETLs and reporting to Hadoop clusters and marketing analytics. In her previous role as Engineering Manager of Etsy, Melissa led her team from being a Hadoop Infrastructure team that was constantly fixing problems and cleaning up messes, to declaring themselves to be a Data Platform team, expanding into investigating new tools, teaching coworkers about big data, and consulting with other teams about how to meet their data needs. Melissa's favorite past projects include implementing a beta-binomial model in SAS, creating neighborhood boundaries from Flickr and OpenStreetMap data, using principal components analysis to detect spam emails, and teaching coworkers to write Scalding jobs. Melissa's professional goal is to make data more accessible to all parts of the business, and to businesses of every size. She has a PhD in Applied Math and is currently the (sole) Data Scientist for Big Cartel.


"DevOps For Data" track at Data Day Texas

Following conversations with Boyd Hemphill and various members of the Austin DevOps community, we have decided to launch a DevOps track for Data Day Texas 2017. More details will follow. However, we are happy to announce the first speaker: Laine Campbell - author of the upcoming O'Reilly book: upcoming O'Reilly book: Database Reliability Engineering:

Laine Campbell (Laine Campbell) @lainevcampbell

Laine Campbell specializes in database architecture and operations, particularly MySQL and Cassandra. Most recently, Laine was the CTO at OrderWithMe. Prior, she was a co-founder at Pythian, where she led the open source database practice. Laine founded and led PalominoDB, then Blackbird for 8 years, where her team of DBAs supported many of the most exciting database infrastructures in the industry. Before that, she designed, built and supported the Travelocity databases for 8 years with her remarkable team. Laine has also supported such organizations as Obama for America, Zappos, Chegg, LiveJournal, Disney Mobile, and Adobe.

Who else would you like to see on the DevOps For Data track? What topics/tools/techniques would you like to see covered? Please send us your thoughts at

Dan Tecuci of IBM speaking at NLP Community Day

Dan Tecuci, NLP Engineer at IBM Watson Health, will be giving the following talk at NLP Community Day: Teaching ChefWatson not to 'skewer the tequila'

Dan graduated from UT Austin with a PhD in Artificial Intelligence. During that time he contributed to the development of several large scale AI projects: Project Halo - knowledge acquisition and question answering in scientific domains (funded by Paul Allen), RKF, and Calo (precursor of Siri). He then moved to Siemens Corporate Research where he led the development and deployment of a natural language QA system for Siemens Energy Service. Also at Siemens, he developed a prototype system for accurately diagnosing heart diseases from patient data. Dan joined IBM Watson in 2014, where he led the development of Question Answering from tables and then moved onto fixing recipes for IBM ChefWatson. His main areas of expertise are knowledge representation and reasoning, question answering, NLP, and complex knowledge indexing and retrieval. He now works for Watson Health where he is applying learning and reasoning techniques to problems in the Life Sciences domains.

Melanie Tosik of WayBlazer at NLP Day Austin

Just confirmed: Melanie Tosik (linkedin), NLP research engineer at WayBlazer, will be speaking at the upcoming Natural Language Processing day in Austin.

Speaker bio: Melanie's team at Wayblazer focuses on developing complex, real-world applications of natural language processing and machine learning. Melanie spends most of her time designing and implementing semantic microservices which accurately extract context, intent and relevant concepts from natural language queries. In addition, Melanie employs a variety of machine learning algorithms to enrich user queries with vast amounts of previously unstructured data. Before she came to Austin, Melanie studied computational linguistics at the University of Potsdam. Rowing and gardening are her favorite free time pursuits.

Details at registration for NLP Day are here: Natural Language Processing day

btw: Wayblazer is seeking to hire an NLP Research Engineer.

Interview with Jonathan Mugan - founder of Deep Grammar

Steve Guzman interviewed Jonathan Mugan, Founder at Deep Grammar. Jonathan gave one of the most popular talks of 2015 at Austin Data Geeks.

Jonathan will be speaking at the upcoming NLP Community Day in Austin, held on June 4.
He will be also be speaking at the upcoming Data Day Seattle, held on July 23.

Check out the video interview.

Interview with Brent Schneeman - Principal Data Scientist

Steve Guzman of Global Data Geeks recently interviewed Brent Schneeman, Principal Data Scientist at HomeAway.
Brent will be speaking at the upcoming NLP Community Day in Austin, held on June 4.
Brent will be also be speaking at the upcoming Data Day Seattle, held on July 23.
Check out the video interview.

GeekAustin Interview - Preetha Appan of

Steve Guzman recently interviewed Preetha Appan, Senior Software engineer for's recommendation team. Preetha gave one of Austin Data Geeks' most highly rated talks for 2015, and was invited to give an encore presentation at Data Day Texas 2016.
Preetha will be also be speaking at the upcoming Data Day Seattle, held on July 23.
Check out the video interview.

Interview with Michelle Casbon - NLP Scientist/Engineer

Steve Guzman of Global Data Geeks interviewed Michelle Casbon, Director of Data Science at Qordoba, and most recently of Idibon, after her talk at Data Day Texas 2016. Michelle will be giving the keynote at the upcoming NLP Community Day in Austin, held on June 4. Michelle will be also be giving the NLP Keynote at the upcoming Data Day Seattle, held on July 23.
Check out the video interview.

NLP Community Day 2016 (Austin)

This event was originally scheduled for Fall 2015, but we were unable to secure a large enough venue for the scheduled date, and our goto venue (the AT&T Conference Center) was already booked, so we had to postpone the event. If you purchased tickets previously, you have received an email with your free ticket code.


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