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Crunch Conference: Show me your Data or make me Amuse-d!

5 minutes

After the real tech-heavy stream processing conference, Flink Forward in Berlin (you can check out our recap video here), I’ve had the opportunity to participate in Crunch data conference at the Hungarian Railway History Park this time.

If you’ve never heard of Crunch, here’s a quick heads-up for you. The conference is all about Data, featuring talks within two tracks: data engineering and data analytics. Meanwhile, if you are interested in UX Design, Amuse Conference is held at the same time and place, to which you can get access with your Crunch pass. The conference usually kicks in with a day dedicated to workshops to get hands-on experience both in technical and non-technical topics, which then is followed by two conference days filled with talks for an audience of all levels of understanding from 10 am to 6pm.

However, UX Design is an interesting topic and has its own challenges, I was more intrigued by the data sections and tried to learn more about the struggles and successes of each company, and about what problems they face and search solutions for.

Well, it’s really hard to decide which were my favourite talks, but here I go:

Director of the Hugh Kaul Precision Medicine Institute, Matt Might’s speech was maybe the most interesting and touching, especially because his topic was about his son’s sickness and the fight for his life with data. Matt’s son had been diagnosed with a genetic disorder now called NGLY1 deficiency and thus he was the first patient ever known, with no treatment at hand. Looking for the much needed help, Matt turned to precision medicine, which is an approach to patient care that allows doctors to select treatments that are most likely to help patients based on a genetic understanding of their disease. With the amount of data they’ve collected throughout the years with testing, they’ve been able to identify the biomarker of the disease only from urine samples, with no need for expensive genome sequencing for that. However, they’ve done so much more than “just” that. With the help of molecular docking simulation they’ve been able to identify compounds that would possibly be able to help his son and have ultimately led to the finding of the treatment for the deficiency.

If you are interested in his whole story, you can read more about it here.

I was a little bit sceptical about Senior Director of Data Strategy @Domo, Brent Dykes’ ‘Stories beat statistics’ speech, as it seemed to be a bit of a light topic compared to the others (also was labeled as ‘general’ topic), but I was impressed by it in the end. He emphasized the importance of “data storytelling” and how it leaves an impact (or how it does not) on the people you are presenting to. Brent presented some real cases, with which he proved how much it means to have a story to tell. For instance, he spoke about the case of collecting money for a special cause, and how they went from raising $1,14 with stats up to $2,38 per person with a story of a girl. All coming down to the moral of the story that we hear statistics, but we feel stories.

I also had the chance to get a sneak peek, and get Amuse-d by Senior Product Designer @Google AI, Tony Aube‘s  talk and learn a bit more about the struggles of UX Design when it comes to a childrens’ game. Osmo is a combination of an actual physical game set and an app with some computer vision to make it more interactive but also to make the little ones take their hands off the tablet and have contact with the real world around them. Nowadays it’s almost impossible to raise kids without letting them use phones, tablets, PCs et cetera, but with the constant improvement of technology we no longer need to think about them as the devil’s creatures (I mean the devices not the kids of course!). Osmo represents the bridge between using an app to distract our kids while we are cooking dinner or finishing laundry and developing their skills while entertaining them.  

Last but not least, I was probably the most intrigued by the speech on the use of the Jupyter Notebook. Michelle Ufford, former Engineering Manager @Netflix, Founder @noteables.io started up with some sweet details about the individually personalized accounts and also showed us results of the image personalization from different users’ point of view based on the previously watched shows. After the warmup she dived into the use of the Jupyter Notebook by their data scientists. They think that notebooks are more than just an interactive experience and she mentioned that they are in the process to migrate 10 000 workflows running on the Netflix Data Platform to use notebook-based execution, which by the time they finish will most probably be at 150 000 notebooks jobs every single day. They believe that notebooks might help them cross the chasm that exists between technical and non-technical people and by the end, all the different areas will leverage from it.

If you are interested in learning more about Crunch or Amuse, check out their websites here and there!

See you next year!