One of the things that I enjoy about the development and Open Data scene is the willingness to share knowledge and experiences at conferences and meetups. In the last couple of years I have given some talks at those gatherings. This page collects the topics I spoke about. It should give you an insight into what I find interesting and allow me to remember all the things I presented.
Offene Daten - Geschichte, Hintergründe, Anwendungen
The Think Big Data Camp was an event aimed at people between the ages of 15 and 25 that wanted to get into programming and build tools related to “big data”. My part was introducing them to the concept of open data (with the three pillars of government provided data, company provided data and data that has been gathered by the community) and the work that we do in the Code For Germany community. I presented some practical examples of datasets and tools that people have successfully built with open data to solve actual problems and improve their communities.
Paper Presentation: MENACE - Machine learning with matchboxes
Papers We Love is a meetup where people come together to talk about (computer science) papers that they read and liked. I talked about the paper Experiments on the mechanization of game learning in which Donald Michie describes how to build a self learning system that learns to play tic-tac-toe. The cool thing about this paper: It was written in the sixties and actually shows how to implement this system only with matchboxes and beads and does not require a computer. It is one of the first examples of machine reinforcement learning though.
Nationalist or Not - building a game with Wikidata
I have also given some Lightning Talks. Most of them at Berlin Hack and Tell which is a fun meetup where everyone is invited to demo their silly ideas that don't find a place at any other meetup.
Wikidata Parliament SVG
This was right around the time of the German Parliament elections and I had been working with election data in Wikidata for a while. I always like to show people what kinds of cool questions Wikidata allows us to ask and answer now. I presented a small website I had built that used the excellent parliament-svg library to render parliamentary charts of any election period known to Wikidata. I showed that all data could be queried by just providing the election period - from count of party membership up to the actual hex-colors that the parties used.
Github License Check
I was working on a project and was looking into potential libraries that I could use. As often when looking for libraries I noticed that not everything that was published on Github also has a license. Github had introduced license recognition a while ago though and I figured that this might be a good chance to use it to check if all of my own projects were properly licensed. I had been wanting to build something with vue.js for a while so I hacked together this small web-app and presented it to the attendees.
Stadt, Land, Wikidata
There is a game that is often played on road-trips in Germany called Stadt, Land, Fluss where the goal is to find a city, country, river (etc) that start with a given letter. Whoever is fastest wins. I presented Stadt, Land, Wikidata which is an implementation of the game that I built with Wikidata. It picks a letter and lets the user enter their answers. Afterwards it makes a query to Wikidata to check if Wikidata knows the entry as a city (etc) or not. If no answer was given, it gives examples for correct answers. I showed how I built the query in SPARQL, the backend in Python and the frontend with vue.js. People seemed to like it and awarded it Hack of the month.
Introduction to Open Data and Code For Germany
Jugend Hackt is an event for people between the age of 12 and 18. It is run in part by the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany so the topic of Open Data is close the heart of the organizers. I gave a quick introduction into the background of Open Data and tools that we have built at Code For Germany.
Make Github Great Again
I gave this talk shortly after the presidential elections in the USA. Trump was widely covered in the media and his weird claim of Make America Great Again was omnipresent. At work, I realized that we were starting to write commit messages like
Make sorting great againand wanted to check if this was only happening to us or if other developers also picked up on it. To analyze this, I used the Github commit data on Google Bigtable. Check the source link for some graphs.
Python's Counter reimplemented
This was my first go at live coding. I introduced the attendees to Python’s
Countermodule - specifically to the fact that one is able to run
+=on any key, even if it was not previously initialized. I then wrote a test suite and the corresponding code to reimplement this feature using Python’s
__setitem__magic methods. The resulting code is different to the original Python source but I think it is still a good introduction into the topic.
Introduction to unisport.berlin
unisport.berlin is a website that allows people to find all the sports classes that universities offer in Berlin. I gave this talk right after finishing the first implementation of it and explained how I wrote the scrapers that collect the data. I also showed the pipeline from scraper through backend to the frontend and finally to the users.
Sierra Leone Bank Scraping
I used to run the Berlin chapter for Opencorporate’s Flashhacks. This was a series of events where people would come together to scrape company data from public registries to add it to the ever growing repository of world-wide company data that Opencorporates hosts. At Hack and Tell, I presented a scraper that I had built for scraping data about banks in Sierra Leone. The scraper was interesting because the original data was published as Word documents. The scraper that I then wrote would download the data, use libreoffice-headless to convert it to an html document and then use web-scraping technologies to extract the data from there. People seemed to like this hacky approach and this was awarded Hack of the Month.
I also usually present the work that we do at the Open Knowledge Lab Berlin once a month at our meetup. The presentation gives a general overview about the background of open data, its applications and the work that we in Berlin and the whole codefor.de community is doing with it. If this sounds interesting to you, you should totally come by.