Data Viz Schedule for O’Reilly Strata Conference

A few weeks ago I published details of the O’Reilly Strata Conference event which is taking place in New York, between September 19 and 23. The finalised line up of speakers, sessions and topics has now been confirmed for the main part of the conference, “Making Data Work”, and I thought I would share my thoughts on the ideal schedule from a data visualisation perspective.

** Note that you can still catch the early bird discount registration rates through to August 23rd and receive a further 20% discount by using the code DATA **

Thursday 22nd September


WelcomeEdd Dumbill (O’Reilly Media, Inc. ), Alistair Croll (Bitcurrent)

Opening remarks by the Strata program chairs, Edd Dumbill and Alistair Croll.


KeynoteRachel Sterne (City of New York)

Keynote by Rachel Sterne, Chief Digital Officer for the City of New York.


A Profusion of Exoplanets: NASA’s Kepler MissionJon Jenkins (NASA)

The Kepler Mission began its science observations just over two years ago on May 12, 2009, initiating NASA’s first search for Earth-like planets. Initial results and light curves from Kepler are simply breath-taking, including confirmation of the first unquestionable rocky planet, Kepler-10b, and Kepler-11b, a system of 6 transiting planets orbiting one Sun-like star.


KeynoteJer Thorp (The New York Times)

Keynote by Jer Thorp, Data Artist in Residence, The New York Times.


KeynoteJohn Rauser (Amazon)

Keynote by John Rauser, Amazon


Data Visualization – where normal people fall in love with data - Hjalmar Gislason (DataMarket)

Statistics, math and data analysis would easily make most people’s “Top 10 Most Boring Topics” list. But an effective data visualization can bring new insights, raise awareness and tell a great story. We want to share our insights from efforts to enable data visualizations on top of massive amounts of data, explore good – and bad – examples and share some of the tools and techniques we use.


Humble pie: helping the Guardian chart big stories through small detailsAlastair Dant (Guardian News and Media)

Widespread reaction to the recent phone hacking story prompted the Guardian to capture and visualize Twitter traffic during key events. Find out how we produced interactive interfaces that enable readers to make sense of over 1.5 million tweets in a few minutes.


How to Avoid Some Common Graphical Mistakes - Naomi Robbins (NBR)

Readers and preparers of graphs: Learn to recognize and avoid some common graphical mistakes to understand your data better and make better decisions from data.


The Charts You Want Might Not Be the Charts You Need - Irene Ros (Bocoup)

This talk will introduce the concept of “responsible data visualization” in the context of two distinct uses: exploration and narrative. Using personal and industry examples to show best and worst practices in each approach, this talk will offer practical suggestions to bringing data visualization into one’s data workflow.


Data Science from the Perspective of an Applied EconomistScott Nicholson (LinkedIn)

Economists utilize a data analysis toolkit and intuition that can be very helpful to Data Scientists. In particular, econometric methods are quite useful in disentangling correlation and causation, a use case not well-handled by standard machine learning and statistical techniques. This session will cover examples of econometric methods in action, as well as other economics-related insights.

5:00pm A Startup’s Journey into Big DataDavid Michaels (Intuit Personal Finance Group (

In this session,’s David Michaels will share a case study about Mint’s journey into big data. He will cover: how Mint manages and measures data from million users as well as how the company uses anonymous and aggregated data to improve its products and help users save money.

Friday23rd September


WelcomeEdd Dumbill (O’Reilly Media, Inc. ), Alistair Croll (Bitcurrent)


Doing Good With Data: Data Without BordersJake Porway (The New York Times), Drew Conway (New York University)

Data scientists and technology companies are rapidly recognizing the immense power of data for drawing insights about their impact and operations, yet NGOs and non-profits are increasingly being left behind with mounting data and few resources to make use of it.


KeynoteMark Madsen (Third Nature)

Keynote by Mark Madsen, Third Nature


Health Empowerment through Self-TrackingAnne Wright (CMU)

The BodyTrack Project is building tools, both technological and cultural, to empower more people to embrace an “investigator” role in their own lives.


KeynoteHilary Mason (

Keynote by Hilary Mason,


Calling for a New Paradigm: Machines Plus HumansArnab Gupta (Opera Solutions)

This talk will discuss the pitfalls of the man versus machine premise while underscoring the need for man and machine to work together in order to make the most of Big Data. We will also address the need to create a new, visual language to allow humans and machines to realize the full potential of their collaboration.


Chart Wars: The Political Power of Data VisualizationAlex Lundry (TargetPoint Consulting)

Politically charged data visualization emerged over the last election cycle as a provocative and powerful means of persuasive communication. We’ve seen organizational charts used as protest signs and the White House regularly releases infographics. With these political “chart wars” as a backdrop, this presentation will show you how to be a smart consumer of data visualizations and infographics.


Designing Data Visualizations: Telling Stories With DataNoah Iliinsky (Complex Diagrams)

A jumpstart lesson on how to get from a blank page and a pile of data to a useful data visualization. We’ll focus on the design process, not specific tools. The talk will include discussion of figuring out what story to tell, selecting right data, and picking appropriate encodings. We’ll briefly discuss tools and visualization styles, and look at several examples.


Beyond BI – Transforming Your Business with Big Data AnalyticsSteven Hillion (EMC DCD)

Steven Hillion, VP of EMC Greenplum’s Data Analytics Lab lends insight into emerging technologies to take advantage of the big data opportunity and how big data challenges today’s BI architectures and approaches to data management.


HunchWorks: Combining human expertise and big dataChris van der Walt (United Nations Global Pulse), Dane Petersen (Adaptive Path), Sara Farmer (UN Global Pulse)

United Nations Global Pulse and Adaptive Path have been collaborating on a new global crisis impact tool called HunchWorks that allows experts to post hypotheses about emerging crises and crowd source verification. The presentation will focus on lessons learned from a complex project that combines human expertise and big data algorithms using human-centered design and assistive intelligence.


Gaining New Insights from Massive Amounts of Machine DataJake Flomenberg (Splunk)

This session examines the challenges and approaches for collecting, organizing and extracting value from machine data – the data generated continuously by all IT systems containing a record of all activity and behavior. Harnessing this data can provide valuable new insights for both IT and business users. This session will be hosted by Splunk’s CIO and


Taming Data Logistics – the Hardest Part of Data ScienceKen Farmer (IBM)

While most of the focus in data science is on the rapid analysis of vast volumes of data, the hardest part of most solutions is the data acquisition, movement, transformation, and loading – the “data logistics”. This presentation will describe the common challenges and solutions – including the best and worst practices that can be reused from Data Warehousing.

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