April 2020 Meetup!

Ahoy!

The April 2020 Meetup of Columbus App Dev User Group is scheduled for April 20th from 6-8 PM. Instead of our usual in-person meeting @ Improving Ohio Office and for abundance of caution, we’re taking our Meetup virtual temporarily. Please see details below & kindly RSVP.

Topic:
Understanding Probabilistic Data Structures with 112,092 UFO Sightings

Abstract:
There are three reactions to the title of this talk:

  • What the heck’s a probabilistic data structure?
  • UFO Sightings… wha?
  • 112,092 is an oddly specific number.

This is a talk about the first bullet point with the second thrown in just for fun. I like weird stuff—UFOs, Bigfoot, peanut butter and bologna on toast—maybe you do too? As far as the third bullet point, well, that’s how many sightings I have.

Now, if you’re like most developers, you probably have no idea what probabilistic data structures are. In fact, I did a super-scientific poll on Twitter and found that out of 119 participants, 58% had never heard of them and 22% had heard the term but nothing more. I wonder what percentage of that 22% heard the term for the first time in the poll. We’re a literal-minded lot at times.

Anyhow. That’s 4 out of 5 developers or, as I like to call it, the Trident dentist ratio. (It’s actually a manifestation of the Pareto principle but I’m a 70s kid). That’s a lot of folks that need to be educated. So, let’s do that.

A probabilistic data structure is, well, they’re sort of like the TARDIS—bigger on the inside—and JPEG compression—a bit lossy. And, like both, they are fast, accurate enough, and can take you to interesting places of adventure. That last one might not be something a JPEG does.

More technically speaking, most probabilistic data structures use hashes to give you faster and smaller data structures in exchange for precision. If you’ve got a mountain of data to process, this is super useful. In this talk, we’ll briefly go over some common probabilistic data structures; dive deep into a couple (Bloom Filter, MinHash, and Top-K); and show a running application that makes use of Top-K to analyze the most commonly used words in all 112,092 of my UFO sightings.

When we’re done, you’ll be ready to start using some of these structures in your own applications. And, if you use the UFO data, maybe you’ll discover that the truth really is out there.

Speaker Bio:
Guy Royse likes to combine his decades of experience in writing software with a passion for sharing what he has learned. Guy goes out into developer communities and helps others build great software. Teaching and community have long been a focus for Guy. He is President of the Columbus JavaScript Users Group, an organizer for the Columbus Machine Learners, and has even has helped teach programming at a prison in central Ohio. In past lives, Guy has worked as a consultant in a broad range of industries including healthcare, retail, and utilities. He also has spent several years working for a major insurance company in central Ohio. This has given him a broad view of technology application toward business problems. In his personal life, Guy is a hard-boiled geek interested in role-playing games, science fiction, and technology. He also has a slightly less geeky interest in history and linguistics. In his spare time, he volunteers for his local Cub Scout Pack, goes camping, and studies history and linguistics. Guy lives in Ohio with his wife, his three teenage sons, and an entire wall of games.

Please RSVP on our Meetup site @ https://www.meetup.com/columbusappdevug/.

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