Reflections From Spark + AI Summit 2018

Data for Breakfast

This month a few members of the Data team attended Spark + AI Summit 2018 in San Francisco. In addition to speakers from Databricks, the keynotes featured speakers from a wide variety of industries, including software, car manufacturing, genomics, and even construction. There were over 200 sessions that were organized into tracks, such as developer, data scientist, AI, technical deep dives, and advanced analytics. We’d like to share our favorite sessions with you!

Carly Stambaugh

I was really intrigued by Luis Leal’s talk about Differential Neural Computers. This model, recently developed by Deep Mind, combines the learning capabilities of a neural network with an external memory store. This one ups recurrent neural nets, by dramatically increasing the scale of memory the network can retain. What’s really fascinating about this though, is that the neural net learns how to manage memory storage and retrieval on its own, in a similar manner…

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Six staff killed by militia at Virunga NP


In 2009 I had the priveledge to walk through Virunga NP tracking Gorillas and spent and incredible day with the Rangers and few hours with our magnificent cousins. It is absolutely tragic to hear about another vicious attack on the hero rangers who put their lives on the line to protect the Virunga wilderness, and in particular the precious Mountain Gorillas it is home to. Our thoughts go out to the rangers, victims, and their families.

“Established in 1925, Virunga is Africa’s oldest national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is best-known for hosting the critically endangered mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei). But it has also been beset by the long-running conflict in the eastern DRC, with armed rebels, militias and poachers encroaching deep into the park. The latest ambush was the deadliest yet in a long list of attacks that have claimed the lives of…

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An Attempt at Blogging

I’ve never been good at keeping a journal or blogging; but, now that I work in the Data team at, I thought I’d give it a whirl.

A little bit about me: I live in Cape Town and wrangle data at Automattic (of, WooCommerce, JetPack etc. fame). A husband to 1 and father of 2. Love spending time outdoors, travelling, singing and hanging out with family and friends!

Not really sure what I’m going to be writing about. Perhaps a bit of code, a few pics, some data science and book/tech/film/music/tv/travel reviews.