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Nathan Piccini
| December 17, 2019

North America (the USA and Canada) has a crazy amount of data science conferences to choose from. Here are 6 conferences you should consider attending.

There is an abundance of events to attend so make sure to do your homework. I’ve also included resources at the end of the article if you’d like to look at other options.

Maybe North America isn’t the region you’re interested in? Don’t worry, I’ve also written about conferences to attend in other regions of the world:

  • Asia
  • Europe (in progress)
  • Latin and South America (in progress)
  • The Middle East and Africa (in progress)

1. The data science conference

Reverberating from my blog post on data science conferences to attend in 2020, I would highly suggest attending The Data Science Conference.

Vendor free, sponsor free, and recruiter free, this conference isn’t trying to sell you anything. Organizers are just trying to bring together the best data science minds to help attendees learn and grow the field. Obviously, if you’re attending a conference to simply network you should pass on this event, but if you want to learn in a distraction-free environment you should highly consider attending.

Date: May 14-15, 2020

Location: Chicago

VenueGleacher Center

2.  Women in analytics

This conference was also featured in my list for 2020, so it’s no surprise that I also included it here.

Women in Analytics (WIA) is all about providing “visibility to the women making an impact in the analytics space and provide a platform for them to lead the conversations around the advancements of analytical research, development, and application,”. The conference has grown every year since its founding in 2016, now taking 3 days to accommodate all the speakers. People of all genders are welcome to join.

Date: June 3-5, 2020

Location: Columbus, OH, USA

VenueGreater Columbus Convention Center

3. TDWI Las Vegas

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…Okay, that’s completely untrue because you’re going to take away a lot from Transforming Data With Intelligence (TDWI) in Las Vegas.

TDWI is one of the leading data science conferences in North America. Even if you have to travel, you should consider attending. TDWI prides itself in offering full and half-day courses, rather than the traditional 45 – 60 minute sessions, and that’s what really sets this conference apart for me. You actually get time to pick the brain of the instructor rather than running through a session and quickly forgetting what it was about because the next one has already started.

TDWI also has a Sell Your Boss template to help you get those work days off for professional development.

Date: February 9-14, 2020

Location: Las Vegas

VenueCaesars Palace

4. Predictive Analytics World (PAW) Las Vegas

PAW typically comes to Las Vegas every year and doesn’t really need much explaining. The conference is one of the leaders in data science, machine learning, and AI coverage and is also one of the most widely attended. Formerly known as Mega-Paw and being rebranded as Machine Learning Week, you can expect the same great conference.

Machine Learning Week is technically 5 conferences and 10 workshops with 160 speakers and 150+ sessions packed into 1 week. They sell passes for all 5 days or as little as 2. It depends on what you want to get out of the week. Business, Healthcare, Finance, Industry 4.0 (IoT), and Deep Learning are the five conferences taking place during the week.

Keynotes from GM, Lyft, Google, Kennesaw State University, Manulife, and Fidelity Investments highlight the list of speakers at ML Week. If you can’t attend all 5 days, make sure to find the conference that most applies to your industry (or future industry) to get the most out of it.

Date: May 31 – June 4, 2020

Location: Las Vegas

VenueCaesars Palace

5. ODSC East 2020

The Open Data Science Conference (ODSC) is one of the best around the world. It’s 5 days of learning, networking, developing, and building that leaves you exhausted at the end of each day. It includes 8 focus areas spread across 5 days, with 3 of those days strictly for training.

The best conferences don’t earn their title without incredible content. Some of the speakers at ODSC East are from some of the most renowned universities and organizations. Google, Harvard Medical School, Bloomberg, and MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab all have representatives speaking/instructing during the conference. The most difficult part of attending will be choosing who’s talk you should attend. That would require a whole different blog post, so I won’t get into it.

Date: April 13-17, 2020

Location: Boston, MA, USA

VenueBoston Hynes Convention Center

6. Big data and analytics Summit Canada

What I love about the Big Data and Analytics Summit is that it’s not as big as some of the conferences previously mentioned. It won’t be as chaotic, you won’t feel overwhelmed, and you’ll get more networking time with speakers and peers.

The other great thing is the list of speakers still comes from reputable companies in the field. Representatives from McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, UPS, and Sephora will all be in attendance at the 2020 event. One speaker that I would actually like to see is  Sunanda Parthasarthy, Associate Director of  Data Science & Algorithms at Wayfair. Sunanda is joined by Eugene Wen and Niraj Krishna for a panel titled Secure Buy-in for your Big Data Initiatives in a Data-Driven Culture. They’ll be giving tips on visualizations, and value propositions, and talking about their own experience.

This conference looks to give you a real-world outlook of big data and data-driven cultures.

Date: February 12-13, 2020

Location: Toronto, ON

Venue: Hyatt Regency Toronto Hotel

Other Conference Resources

Also, If you want to learn data science for professional development without all the distractions brought by a conference, consider attending a data science Bootcamp taught by Data Science Dojo.

Nathan Piccini
| July 1, 2020

Data Science Dojo is partnered with ODSC West 2020. Here are some of the key things to note.

Whether it’s data science bootcamps, conferences, sporting events, birthday parties, etc… in-person events around the world have had to adjust to COVID-19. Open Data Science Conference and Expo (ODSC) are no different. So how has one of the largest data science conferences adjusted to the current climate and who should we be excited to see speak?

About ODSC West

This year, ODSC is taking a hybrid approach to delivering the conference. Taking place October 27th – 30th, the conference will be held both virtually and in person. It will involve 40 training sessions, forty workshops, two hundred speakers, and three hundred hours of content. If you’re looking for a networking opportunity, they are also expecting 7500 attendees. I don’t think I need to dive deeper to say there’s going to be plenty to do at ODSC West, but what should you prioritize? There are 4 presenters that jump out to me right away:

  • Lisa Amini, Ph.D.: Director, IBM Research – Cambridge at IBM Research AI
  • Yashesh A. Shroff, Ph.D.: AI/ML Partner Ecosystem Manager and Strategic Planner at Intel
  • Suchi Saria, Ph.D.: Director, Machine Learning & Healthcare Lab at Johns Hopkins University
  • Reza Shiftehfar, Ph.D.: Engineering Management & Leadership at Uber

We don’t know what they will be presenting quite yet but based on their experience I’m pretty excited to find out.

Conference focus areas

ODSC West has 8 focus areas:

I won’t go through all these sessions, but as someone who works in marketing, I’m most excited for the NLP track.  To make a long story short, NLP is used as a method for computers to analyze natural language. It has made huge strides in the last couple of years and has seemed to explode in popularity throughout data science as an industry. I see NLP being a necessary technique for the future of marketing, if it isn’t already, which is why I’m personally excited for this track. Watch the video below if you want a short introduction to NLP.

ODSC west

If you’re interested in attending ODSC West, you can use Data Science Dojo’s community discount code (ODSC_VC_DataScienceDojo) to get up to 65% off passes.


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