Call for talk proposals: !!Con West 2019!

!!Con (pronounced “bang bang con”) West is a two-day conference of ten-minute talks about the joy, excitement, and surprise of computing, and the west-coast offshoot of !!Con, the annual independent and volunteer-run conference that I co-founded in New York in 2014. !!Con is a radically eclectic computing conference, and we’re excited to be bringing a version of it to the west coast for the first time! The conference will be held at UC Santa Cruz on February 23 and 24, 2019, and our call for talk proposals is open until tomorrow. We’ve already gotten nearly a hundred talk proposals, but we want more! We want yours!

Understanding the regression line with standard units

This post has an accompanying Jupyter Notebook! How do you do, fellow kids?

Over the last few months, I’ve been working my way through Data 8X, the online version of Berkeley’s Data 8 course, after seeing Joe Hellerstein tweet about it a while back. At first, I was interested mostly for pedagogical reasons, but I can now admit to actually having learned something about data science, too. The course is organized in three parts, and I’ve finished the first two parts (check out my cheevos!) and am working my way through the third part, which focuses on prediction and machine learning.

You don’t need a 4.0 to go to grad school

Recently on Twitter, Justine Sherry pointed out (in response to hearing about a student afraid to minor in art because they thought it would hurt their applications to computer science Ph.D. programs later) that she’s actually more likely to hire prospective students into her lab at CMU if they have a minor in something “interesting and unrelated” to CS. Her tweet prompted a lot of lively discussion; my colleague Peter Alvaro added that for him, the same policy applies to majors, and I jumped on board with that and pointed out that I don’t think that any other field is actually “unrelated” to CS anyway.

Where and when should you go to PLMW?

Here’s an anonymized question sent to me by a blog reader:

I’m a rising junior at [university], majoring in computer science and math.

I have recently made up my mind about going to grad school for PL and am trying to get as much experience as possible right now. I will be attending [PL-related summer school] in two weeks. I will also be TA’ing [university]’s Programming Languages course and working with a professor on a PL-related research project next term.

My question is, is there any reason why I might want not to apply for PLMW at ICFP 2018 this September, and instead, apply next year? I am guessing I can only attend once, but I am not sure about that either. What are some criteria that I should consider when choosing a specific PLMW? Can you help me make a decision?