Python North East - The Next Generation

2017-03-01 00:00:00 +0000

Python North East - The Next Generation

This month I officially take the reins of the Python North East user group. Myself and Scott Walton are taking over from Rowan Hargreaves and Kieran Darcy’s fine stewardship.

I’m looking forward to the opportunity to meet many Python people and encourage new members to try the best programming language there is!

We are in the process of refreshing the website and have set up a new chat channel on Gitter. If you want to get in touch the best way is either on Gitter or via our Twitter account @pythonnortheast.

Hacking Happiness

2017-01-18 00:00:00 +0000

Hacking Happiness

Yesterday I took part in a hack-a-thon hosted by the Digital Catapult and the Royal Society. It was based on using data analysis and technology to try and measure and improve happiness. It was a great event, with lots of teams from all different disciplines and backgrounds. I was part of a team from Newcastle University, as well as members from Brighton and Central St. Martins.

Our idea was to create an app that could find the happiest route between two points, avoiding high pollution areas and preferring green spaces. We built a (rather simple) model using crime statistics and air quality data and an app to push route information to a back end service containing the model which would rate several routes on their “happiness” levels.

Another member of our team created a prototype “Happiness Band” to use measures of heart rate and galvanic skin response to gauge a persons happiness as they travelled around the city. We intended to use this data to provide objective measures of stress along the routes we suggested, as well as provide heat maps of stressful areas to augment our happiness model.

The team members from Brighton and Central St. Martins created UI mock-ups and user stories to show how the final app would look and feel.

After several intense hours work:

We had our prototype and gave our presentation to the judges:

There were many innovative and much more functional applications than ours. But in the end the judges liked our combination of machine learning, smart devices and UI he most and declared us the winners!

It was a great experience and I look forward to more hack-a-thons in the future!

Back from DEBS 2016

2016-06-20 00:00:00 +0000

Back from DEBS 2016

I had an amazing time at DEBS 2016! It was great to meet other researchers in my field, discuss my ideas (and have them dissected) and make some new friends.

I was extremely excited to meet Karthik Ramasamy who is the head of real time analytics at Twitter. He gave a very interesting talk about the evolution of Twitter’s new distributed stream processing engine (Heron) and how they use it in production. This included the issues they were having with sizing the resource requirements of their streaming topologies and setting the parallelism of their topology components. This process currently has to be done manually and can take up to a week to complete. As Heron is an evolution of the Apache Storm system I use in my research, I hope that my research could be applied to solving this issue with Heron.

The doctoral symposium paper that was accepted for DEBS 2016 has now been published as part of the proceedings so I am now a published researcher!