PyCon 2011: Friday Plenaries (with Hilary Mason)

Introduction with Van

The Official Python Conference days started today, Friday, March 11th, 2011. Van Lindberg started things off with an introductory speech. He spent some time thanking donors and explaining how the rooms would be split up. Then he gave out some door prizes, which appeared to be Python programming books.

Steve Holden’s Plenary

Steve Holden, PSF Chairman, was next and gave a talk entitled “The PSF Year”. The talk seemed to be focused on how the PSF does the background stuff behind PyCon. He said that there were over 1300 (or 1400, depending on how you count, whatever that means) registrations for this year’s conference. He went on to tell the audience about how the PSF has supported other conferences and Python projects. For example, they have funded OpenSSL in Python 3 and the Python Miro community. Holden also mentioned a PSF Python Brochure. He also recognized the PSF board and members. (Convore also has a page on this keynote)

Jesse Noller’s Plenary

Jesse did a “raffle” too, but it was just for the PyPy project. He gave them one of those giant checks for $10,000.

Hilary Mason

Hilary Mason, chief scientist of She talked about what she does at work, like using Python for machine learning. She showed some kind of quine equation with Python that was almost impossible to read. She showed an interesting graph that showed where Python was in StackOverflow’s number of questions. Python was near the top. For some reason, she pointed out that an article from the BBC showed that London taxi drivers have a bigger hippo-campus than other people. She did an informal survey to find the most popular Python construct. The winner? List comprehensions!

Other topics she covered were kinect hacks, security, 1700 equations, favorite books, etc. Then she started talking about machine learning and how we need to build the tools to make machine learning happen. She showed an interesting map showing where people were from who clicked on links related to PyCon. Then she showed the next two sites that the people would go to. One was a “Happy 18th Birthday ro Ruby” and then some kind of naked password website.

She ended her talk speaking a little about the tsunami that hit Japan last night. Then she went into Q&A with the audience. See also the Convore page on the keynote.