Piotr Migdał

My impressions from PyData Berlin 2016

25 May 2016 | by Piotr Migdał

Last week I attended PyData Berlin 2016. It was my first non-academic conference. I was not sure if it was going to be interesting or going beyond things I can see on the Internet anyway. But since I've never been to Berlin, had an open invitation by a friend of mine1, and it's 6.5h by train2 from Warsaw, I decided to go.

td;dr: It was worth my time and I really enjoyed the event.


Talks I have found the most interesting:

Also, these were good:

And talks I missed, but I am sure were great:

If your beloved talk is not there, don't cry - most likely it was in a parallel session. (Also, in general topic selection and quality of presentation was good.)

I had a lightning talk: Teaching Machine Learning. I should write a blog post on it one day (especially on the 5-day data analysis summer school for sociology students and researchers, as now materials are in Polish). As for now, it is implicitly covered in Data science intro for math/phys background.

Other take-home lessons

  • There are so many ex-physicists. I even heard Hey, I saw you... on ICPS3.
  • Many methods are new, so it's crucial to learn them (and how can they be tailored to your tasks); sometimes being an expert with 10-year experience is physically impossible.
  • The number of participants was optimal (200? I hate huge conferences).
  • If other PyData events are of similar quality, it's not my last time there! :)


Thanks to the organizers!


  1. Thanks Skander!
  2. I love traveling by train. And I spend my time in trains more productively than in the office. I work, read or sleep... efficiently. I guess it's mainly because of slow Internet connection, fixed time, and less opportunities for distraction.
  3. International Conference of Physics Students, not International Carnivorous Plant Society. Since ICPS is a very student event (a crazy conference party each night), I got scared. Fortunately, Martina Pugliese remembered me from giving A mathematical model of the Mafia game talk. It was in 2010 in Graz; for a moment of nostalgia, here are my photos.