H2O World London 2018: A Report
Find out what happened at H2O World conference and explore day one, day two, the atmosphere, and find out who spoke.
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
At H2O World, the greatest minds in AI, Data Science, and mathematics gather during one huge machine learning-oriented community event. There is a series of training and presentations focused not only at H2O.ai Machine Learning platform but also on theoretical and applied AI and Machine Learning topics in general. This H2O World in London was the biggest one so far. The whole event is organized by countless H2O makers, led by Qybare Pula, Ian Gomez, and Saurabh Kumar.
The very first day was a day of intense hands-on training. After a morning coffee, the Driverless AI Hands-On Training started. There were over eight-hundred people gathered in the beautiful environment of London Hilton on Park Lane, waiting to try various aspects of Driverless AI on their own. The Driverless AI panel lasted for the whole forenoon, with only a small break. After an introduction to the basics of Driverless AI by H2O’s CTO Arno Candel, more advanced blocks on how feature engineering or NLP are handled in Driverless AI by Dmitry Larko and Sudalai Rajkumar. Attendees also observed Kaggle grandmasters Marios Michailidis and Mathias Müller.
After a delicious lunch, it was time for a Deep dive into H2O-3 open source. During this session, the instructor Václav Belák introduced H2O-3 from many perspectives. It was shown how H2O is made to be fast while handling really big data using large clusters and how easy it is to scale H2O. Then, a practical hands-on block where all the Machine Learning algorithms provided by H2O-3 were introduced. Visitors tried using some of them on various datasets right on the spot in just a while.
After a quick break, the audience took a deep dive once again, this time it was a Deep dive into Sparkling water by Jakub Háva. For the whole time, a team of makers helping attendees solve their problems was available.
At the end of the first day, a very special guest arrived. Professor Tanya Berger-Wolf and professor Dan Rubenstein showed us how machine learning is able to save animals (not only) in Africa by greatly enhancing animal tracking capabilities. And as H2O’s CEO SriSatish Ambati stated during the closing remarks: “Don’t be evil is not enough. Being good is the way to go.” And AI saving lives is definitely the good way.
Plans for the second day were big. It wouldn’t be H2O World without H2O’s CEO SriSatish Ambati giving the keynote speech accompanied by many interesting speakers. During keyone, we could hear Shanker Trivedi from NVIDIA, Gary Rapsey from PwC, Jagdish Mitra from Tech Mahindra, Dr. James Tromans from Citi and Paul Zikopoulos from IBM. They were all sharing their experience and success stories with H2O.
There were three stages:
- Mayram-Curie stage
- Godel-Pulling stage
- Ramanujan-Turing stage
Each stage offered a different focus. One was mostly business-oriented, focusing on solving real-world business problems by means of machine learning and of course H2O. Those who attended could observe Mark Landry and Branden Murray talking about business document content handling, or Avkash Chauhan talking about using DriverlessAI for Yield Prediction in Manufacturing. And so many others. There were some impressive talks focusing on machine learning and H2O from a technical perspective. There was Yoann Lechevallier talking about Deploying H2O in Large-Scale Distributed Environments or Ed Dixon and Swastik Chakraborty from Intel with their impressive talk on H2O and the CPU(s). These presentations are not strictly technically oriented, there is always a lot of knowledge regarding machine learning contained. A great talk to point out is on Time Series in Driverless AI by two Kaggle grandmases Marios Michailidis and Mathias Müller. In case you missed the event, the presentations are available on H2O’s Youtube channel.
The opportunity to debate with Kaggle grandmasters has already become a tradition for H2O World. In London, the lineup was full of stars:
- Mario’s (@kazAnova) highest rank #1, currently #3,
- Mathias Mueller (@faron) highest rank #4, currently #25,
- Branden Murray (@brandenkmurray) highest rank #48, currently #61,
- Dmitry Larko (@dmitrylarko) highest rank #25, currently #41,
- SRK (@srk) highest rank #13, currently #122,
- Darragh Hanley (@darraghdog) highest rank #44, currently #98,
- Mikel Bobar-Irizar (@anokas) highest rank #31, currently #36,
- Jean-Francois Puget (@CPMP) highest rank #23, currently #27.
There were numerous interesting questions. A Python vs R debate, thoughts on grandmaster’s favorite tools discussion with nice thoughts on XGBoost, lottery predictions, and many other interesting topics. The whole debate is available on YouTube.
At the end of the second day, SriSatish Ambati entered the stage one last time with powerful messages in his closing remarks. Talking about the democratization of AI and making strong roots for the next generation to learn from our mistakes and build on top of them. Once again, the importance of AI serving good purpose was emphasized
For the whole two days, numerous booths were open with H2O engineers inside ready to answer all your questions:
- H2O-3 (H2O open source)
- Driverless AI
- Sparkling Water
- H2O Academic programs
Hearing the community stories of our users is just awesome. I had the opportunity of talking to mister Sérgio Henriques, a biologist and data-scientist in one person (and much more!). He uses AI to protect wildlife. After Tanya Berfer-Wolf’s and Dan Rubenstein’s talk about preserving wildlife in Africa, the work of Sérgio Henriques is another great example of using H2O to make this planet a better place. We have many users from the financial sector, where the attempts are to detect frauds of all kinds. I was personally speaking to many people using AI in healthcare, literally from all around the world. We had visitors from Germany, Italy, South Korea or even the Czech Republic. Hearing stories about machine learning being used to detect serious health conditions in real-time from sensors and making it possible to help patients in time was heart-touching. This particular project is currently being finished in the Czech Republic. A great part of the discussion was purely technical. Visitors had the opportunity to ask the “how do I do that?” questions.
H2O World is definitely not only for people who already have great experiences with H2O. In fact, there are many newcomers, be it data scientists or businessmen, seeking new ways to improve. During the whole day, H2O makers had the opportunity to introduce countless newcomers to the world of H2O. And for us, H2O World is also inspiring. We’re always keen to learn from the view of our customers and the whole community. After two days of listening to you, the community, we’ve gathered many proposals for improvements and future plans. Many of them are already in our JIRA. You can watch our progress, comment, make new suggestions or even contributions! The sky is the limit!
H2O World also means good food and space for community members to interact and make new strategic partnerships!
See You in San Francisco
Thank you for visiting H2O World in London. It was fun. In case you’ve missed it, there is always H2O World coming soon. The very next one will be held in San Francisco, California. The registration is now open. If you’re not able to attend an H2O World, there are numerous local meetups held all over the world by Jo-Fai Chow. Prague, London, Mountain View. There are more to come. Don’t hesitate to attend.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.