PyDev of the Week: Tania Allard

PyDev of the Week: Tania Allard

This week we welcome Tania Allard (@ixek) as our PyDev of the Week! Tania is a developer advocate at Microsoft. She is also a speaker at multiple conferences. If you’d like to learn more about her, you should check out her blog. She also has some of her projects up on Github for you to peruse. Let’s take a few moments to get to know Tania!

Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):

 

I am originally from Mexico but have lived in the USA and in the UK for the last 8 years.

 

I have a bachelor’s in Mechatronic engineering and have also always been fascinated by technology and I can class myself as a lifelong learner. As such I got a PhD from the University of Manchester in Data science applied to Materials science, during which I discovered and fell in love with Python. Since completing my PhD I have worked as a research software engineer, research engineer, data engineer, and more recently could advocate.

 

Apart from tech I love Olympic weightlifting, so I spend quite a good amount of time in the gym every week and I am already looking forward for this year’s competition season!

 

I also love craft beer and recently joined the women in beer scene in Manchester, UK where I live.

 

Why did you start using Python?

 

As I said before I did a PhD in Materials Science, but instead of focusing on the experimental side of things my work was focused on modelling materials for tissue replacement. Most of the people in my discipline were using MATLAB for such purposes (as did I at the beginning) but eventually I realized I needed something more flexible. I was also soon driven into the ‘open science’ movement and decided I should create not only all my analyses but also my thesis plots and research papers outputs using an open source programming language to encourage reproducibility and accessibility.

It was until I starts using Python that I discovered the open source community and never looked back.

 

What other programming languages do you know and which is your favorite?

 

Coming from a scientific computing background I know MATLAB, FORTRAN (spoiler alert I do think modern FORTRAN is really good), C/C++, R, Julia, and Assembly. More recently I have been diving into functional programming via Scala and also into Go.

 

Thanks for doing the interview, Tania!

from The Mouse Vs. The Python http://bit.ly/2Q3euPh

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PyDev of the Week: Joel Grus

PyDev of the Week: Joel Grus

This week we welcome Joel Grus (@joelgrus) as our PyDev of the Week! Joel is the author of Data Science From Scratch: First Principles with Python from O’Reilly. You can catch up with Joel on his website or on Github. Let’s take some time to get to know Joel better!

Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):

 

In school I studied math and economics. I started my career doing quantitative finance (options pricing, financial risk, and stuff like that). I got very, very good at Excel, and I learned a tiny amount of SQL. But I kind of hated working in finance (and also I got laid off), so I joined an online travel startup as a “data analyst” doing BI stuff (lots of spreadsheets, lots of SQL, some very light scripting). That startup got acquired by Microsoft, who at the time had basically no idea what to do with my more-than-a-financial-analyst-less-than-a-software-engineer skillset. (Nor did I, really.)

 

Then in 2011 I saw that the winds were blowing toward “data science”, so I sort of BS-ed my way into a data scientist job at a tiny startup. I took a bunch of Coursera courses to fill in gaps in my knowledge, and then I learned to write (ugly) production code and discovered I really enjoyed building software. Through doing well in coding competitions I had the opportunity to interview for a software engineer job at Google, so I spent 6 really hectic weeks cramming computer science and then somehow passed the interview. I spent a couple of years at Google, and then I found I missed doing data and ML stuff, and so now I’m at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, where I build deep learning tools for NLP researchers. My current job is right at the intersection of deep learning and Python library design, which is a pretty great match for my interests.

 

I don’t really have time for hobbies 😢. I have an 8-year-old daughter, and I spend a lot of my free time with her, and then I keep agreeing and/or volunteering to write things and give talks and make livecoding videos, which takes up most of the rest. And then I have a podcast and a Twitter to stay on top of. I have long-term hobby goals of (1) learning jazz piano and (2) writing a novel, but I’m not really making much progress on either.

 

Why did you start using Python?

 

A long, long time ago I was taking a “Probability Modeling” class that was taught using Matlab. The site license for Matlab was only valid on-campus, which meant I couldn’t work on the assignments at my apartment, which was where I preferred to work. I discovered that there was a Python library called Numeric (the predecessor of NumPy) that would allow me to do the numerical-simulation things I needed to do, so I learned just enough Python to be able to do my assignments. Several years after that I had a job, and I inherited a bunch of Perl scripts, and I really didn’t want to maintain Perl code, so I started migrating them to Python, and the rest is history.

 

What other programming languages do you know and which is your favorite?

 

About 10-15% of my job involves writing JavaScript / React, which I actually really enjoy. (I might enjoy it less if it were 100% of my job.) The first year I was at AI2 I worked mostly in Scala, and after that I briefly worked on a project that was in Go. At Google I wrote primarily C++. The startup I was at before that used F#. For fun I used to write Haskell and PureScript. Part of me still dreams of having a Haskell / PureScript job, but at this point I’m so comfortable working in Python (and Python has so deeply entrenched itself as the language for doing machine learning) that it seems unlikely I’ll ever make the switch.

 

Thanks for doing the interview!

from The Mouse Vs. The Python http://bit.ly/2LlQmZn

PyDev of the Week: Neil Muller

PyDev of the Week: Neil Muller

This week we welcome Neil Muller as our PyDev of the Week! Neil is an organizer for Cape Town Python User Group and PyCon ZA. He also speaks at conferences! You can learn more about his open source projects over on Github. Let’s take a few moments to get to know Neil better!

Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):

 

I’m an Applied Mathematician with interests in image processing and numerical computation, currently living and working in the Cape Town area, South Africa. I followed an interest in facial recognition into a PhD from the University of Stellenbosch, and that led to working on a variety of image processing and numerical modelling problems at iThemba LABS.

 

These days I split my working time between iThemba LABS and Praelexis, a machine learning company (mainly using Python) in Stellenbosch.

 

In my spare time, I am obsessed with board and card games, especially Vampire: The Eternal Struggle.

 

Why did you start using Python?

 

I first used Python in 1997 to solve a simple text processing problem while working on my Masters thesis. I liked the language, but I was still mainly a Matlab user at the time and so I didn’t really touch Python again until around 2004, when several of my friends and colleagues started getting really interested in the language and encouraged me to revisit it. I rapidly fell in love with the large standard library and the developing scientific computing stack. By 2005, it had replaced Matlab as my go-to tool for experimenting with problems.

 

What other programming languages do you know and which is your favorite?

 

Other than Python, I do a fair amount of work with C and C++, and also do a bit of JavaScript and shell scripting. In the past, I’ve worked extensively with Matlab, done some PHP and a bit of Fortran.

 

Python is my favourite language. The saying “Python Fits Your Brain” is true for me – I like the syntax and expressiveness of the language, and find it a very powerful tool for modelling and understanding whatever problem I’m trying to solve. While it’s not always part of the final solution to a given problem, it’s almost always part of getting there.

 

Thanks for doing the interview, Neil!

from The Mouse Vs. The Python http://bit.ly/2VxTPYK

PyDev of the Week: Dane Hillard

PyDev of the Week: Dane Hillard

This week we welcome Dane Hillard (@easyaspython) as our PyDev of the Week! Dane is the author Practices of the Python Pro, an upcoming book from Manning. He is also a blogger and web developer. Let’s take some time to get to know Dane!

Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):

 

I’m a creative type, so many of my interests are in art and music. I’ve been a competitive ballroom dancer, and I’m a published musician and photographer. I’m proud of those accomplishments, but I’m driven to do most of this stuff for personal fulfillment more than anything! I enjoy sharing and discussing what I learn with others, too. When I have some time my next project is to start exploring foodways, which is this idea of exploring food and its cultural impact through written history. I’ve loved cooking (and food in general) for a long time and I want to get to know its origins better, which I think is something this generation is demanding more from industries as a whole. Should be fun!

 

Why did you start using Python?

 

I like using my computer engineering skills to build stuff not just for work, but for myself. I had written a website for my photography business in PHP way back in the day, but I wasn’t using a framework of any kind and the application code was mixed with the front-end code in a way that was hard to manage. I decided to try out a framework, and after using (and disliking) Java Spring for a while I gave Django a try. The rest is history! I started using Python for a few work-related things at the time and saw that it adapted well to many different types of tasks, so I kept rolling with it.

 

What other programming languages do you know and which is your favorite?

 

I use JavaScript fairly regularly, though it wasn’t until jQuery gave way to reactive paradigms that I really started enjoying it. We’re using React and Vue frequently now and I like it quite a bit for client-side development. I’ve also used Ruby in the past, which I find to be quite Python-like in certain ways. I think I still like Python best, but it’s easy to stick with what you know, right? I wouldn’t mind learning some Rust or Go soon! My original background is mainly in C and C++ but I can barely manage the memory in my own head so I don’t like telling a computer how to manage its memory when I can avoid it, but all these languages have their place.

 

Thanks for doing the interview, Dane!

from The Mouse Vs. The Python http://bit.ly/2vgQxdG

PyDev of the Week: Pierre Denis

PyDev of the Week: Pierre Denis

This week we welcome Pierre Denis as our PyDev of the Week! Pierre is the creator of Lea, a probabilistic programming package in Python. He can be found on LinkedIn where you can see his CV and learn more about some of the things he is up to. Let’s take a few moments to get to know Pierre better!

Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):

 

I’ve a Master in Computer Science from UCL Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, where I reside. I’m working since 20 years as software engineer in [Spacebel](http://www.spacebel.be), a company developing systems for Space. Basically, I like everything creative and elegant. Beside arts, music, literature, I ‘m looking for this in physics, algorithmic, GUI and mathematics. I love programming, especially in Python. So far, I have initiated three open-source Python projects: UFOPAX (textual virtual universe), Unum (quantities with unit consistency) and Lea (probabilistic programming). For these developments, I tend to be perfectionist and consequently slow: I’m the kind of guy that re-write the same program ten times, just for the sake of inner beauty!

 

Beside programming, I’m doing research in number theory (twin primes conjecture). Also, I’m writing short stories in French, my mother tongue, with some reference to the ‘Pataphysics of Alfred Jarry and a lot of nonsense. Incidentally and fortunately, programs can be good for producing nonsense, as I showed in my bullshit generator!

 

Why did you start using Python?

 

One day, a colleague showed me very interesting things he made with that language, completely unknown for me. It was Python 1.5, in 1999! At that time, I was much in favor of statically-typed languages (C++, Java, Ada, …). Intrigued, I read “Whetting your appetite” of G. van Rossum, then I swallowed the wonderful “Learning Python” book of M. Lutz and D. Asher. I was quickly conquered by the clarity, the conciseness, the beauty of the language. So, I started Python basically because it was so appealing: having the simplicity of an interpreted language with built-in containers, exceptions, OO, operator overloading, and many, many more. I became soon a zealous advocate of Python in my company.

 

What other programming languages do you know and which is your favorite?

 

Well, I’ve practiced Pascal, Ada, C, C++, Smalltalk, Java, Prolog, Scala and a few others. Python is my favorite one, by far. Now, if I had to award a silver medal, this would be Scala. Actually, my programming experience with Scala changed a bit the way I program in Python: I smoothly shifted to a more functional style, in particular, preferring immutable objects to mutable ones. Beside this choice, I’ve to mention that C, Smalltalk and Prolog have been very influential for me.

 

Thanks for doing the interview!

from The Mouse Vs. The Python http://bit.ly/2ZfsZ6C

PyDev of the Week: Abdur-Rahmaan Janhangeer

PyDev of the Week: Abdur-Rahmaan Janhangeer

This week we welcome Abdur-Rahmaan Janhangeer as our PyDev of the Week! Abdur-Rahmaan is the French translator of Think Python. You can see what he is up to on his blog as well as on Github. Let’s take a few moments to get to know him better!

Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):

 

I’m Abdur-Rahmaan Janhangeer from Mauritius, a paradise island in the Indian Ocean and currently one of the best tourist destinations. I have an IT business and I am shyly becoming a Python Trainer.

 

I am mostly self-taught in programming. Concerning Python, I’m the Arabic Coordinator for the Python docs, translator of Think Python into French (publishing soon) and organising member for the py user-group of Mauritius. I also did some really tiny contributions to LinuxMint, Numpy, and Odoo.

 

As “hobby”, i like to dig into Compiler Theory and code some toy langs in my spare time. Being a gallery moderator, I use InkScape to design logos and business cards for people. Playing around with graphics!

 

Why did you start using Python?

 

It was when I was a great fan of Java, was really hooked into it’s OOP style. If you understand that things are objects in Java, many weirdnesses clear away. One day I found myself writing an IRC bot. The skeleton was so counter-intuitive to me that I searched for something simpler. I remembered a language called Python which people said was simple to use. I always thought that Python was not a “serious” language but decided to try it anyway. Yes, I was googling: “print in python” …

 

What other programming languages do you know and which is your favorite?

 

Since I wanted to learn programming, I learnt the popular ones. C++, Java, Html, CSS, Js, PHP+SQL, ruby. Functional I only learnt Haskell to get a taste. Also learnt Processing, though it’s more of a library nowadays, or a canvas API if you wish. Besides Python, I use other langs according to needs but processing is a favourite, it’s a whole new world. Loops, OOP, and whatever you want are illustrated. Learning and teaching coding is more lively. You also have a python flavour of it but runs on Jython.

 

Thanks for doing the interview!

 

from The Mouse Vs. The Python http://bit.ly/2D3VNWr

PyDev of the Week: Kyle Stratis

PyDev of the Week: Kyle Stratis

This week we welcome Kyle Stratis (@KyleStratis) as our PyDev of the Week! He is an active contributor at Real Python but also maintains his own website. You can catch up with his projects on Github as well. Let’s take a few moments to get to know Kyle!

Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):

 

I’m a self-taught developer, I actually studied neuroscience up through graduate school, with a focus on mechanisms of attention in the auditory system. The coding I had to do at every step of the experimental process rekindled my early love of the craft, and a good friend stepped in as a mentor – so I taught myself and got my first job while I was writing my master’s thesis.

 

While I do a lot of programming on the side, I also enjoy weightlifting (my father was a bodybuilder and gym-owner, with 4x Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler starting at his gym, so maybe it’s genetic), skateboarding, and surfing, which I do noticeably less of now that I live in Boston. I’m also a bit of a metalhead, so on any given weekend you’ll be likely to find me at a dingy club with a battlevest on and cheap beer in hand. I’d be remiss to not mention spending time with my wife, which usually is spent reading, hiking, and playing with our 2 cats.

 

Why did you start using Python?

 

It was recommended by my mentor, and I really enjoyed the simple syntax and ability to rapidly build something with little boilerplate.

 

What other programming languages do you know and which is your favorite?

 

In my career I’ve used C# and Perl, and have a steadily declining familiarity with C++ and Java.

 

Thanks for doing the interview, Kyle!

from The Mouse Vs. The Python https://ift.tt/2HRezoa