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Building a cutting-edge data processing environment on a budget

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As a penniless academic I wanted to do "big data" for science. Open source, Python, and simple patterns were the way forward. Staying on top of todays growing datasets is an arm race. Data analytics machinery —clusters, NOSQL, visualization, Hadoop, machine learning, ...— can spread a team's resources thin. Focusing on simple patterns, lightweight technologies, and a good understanding of the applications gets us most of the way for a fraction of the cost. These patterns appear underline the design of Mayavi, for interactive 3D visualization, scikit-learn, for easy machine learning, and joblib for out-of-core and parallel computing.

I will present a personal perspective on ten years of scientific data processing with Python. What are the emerging patterns in data processing? How can modern data-mining ideas be used without a big engineering team? What constraints and design trade-offs govern software projects like scikit-learn, Mayavi, or joblib? How can we make the most out of distributed hardware with simple framework-less code?

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