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DataPhilly February 2016: ML Medley

Photo of
Hosted By
Michael B. and Patrick O.


A Note from our hosts:

• If navigating via GPS, be sure to include the full address: 401 East City Avenue, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004. There will be plenty of parking available in our lot.

• Check-in will take place in our first floor lobby. Please bring a photo ID to obtain a visitor’s pass and entrance to the talk before you head upstairs to our 9th floor.

• Our front and side doors will be open until 7pm. If you have any problems entering, please call Liz (215) 499-6800

• We will have food! We’re ordering pizza (including vegetarian options), salads, and, SIG’s favorite, Federal Donuts, that will be there by 6pm. We’ll also have drinks and coffee.

This month will feature a medley of Machine Learning talks.


• Corey Chivers

• Randy Olson

• Austin Rochford

Corey Chivers ( (Penn Medicine (

Abstract: Corey will present a brief introduction to machine learning. In his talk he will demystify what is often seen as a dark art. Corey will describe how we "teach" machines to learn patterns from examples by breaking the process into its easy-to-understand component parts. By using examples from fields as diverse as biology, health-care, astrophysics, and NBA basketball, Corey will show how data (both big and small) is used to teach machines to predict the future so we can make better decisions.

Bio: Corey Chivers is a Senior Data Scientist at Penn Medicine where he is building machine learning systems to improve patient outcomes by providing real-time predictive applications that empower clinicians to identify at risk individuals. He received his PhD in Biology from McGill University in 2014. When he’s not pouring over data, he’s likely to be found cycling around his adoptive city of Philadelphia or blogging about all things probability and data at (

Randy Olson ( (University of Pennsylvania Institute for Biomedical Informatics (

Automating data science through tree-based pipeline optimization

Abstract: Over the past decade, data science and machine learning has grown from a mysterious art form to a staple tool across a variety of fields in business, academia, and government. In this talk, I'm going to introduce the concept of tree-based pipeline optimization for automating one of the most tedious parts of machine learning -- pipeline design. All of the work presented in this talk is based on the open source Tree-based Pipeline Optimization Tool (TPOT), which is available on GitHub at

Bio: Randy Olson is an artificial intelligence researcher at the University of Pennsylvania Institute for Biomedical Informatics, where he develops state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms to solve biomedical problems. He regularly writes about his latest adventures in data science at, and tweets about the latest data science news at

Austin Rochford ( (Monetate (

Abstract: Bayesian optimization is a technique for finding the extrema of functions which are expensive, difficult, or time-consuming to evaluate. It has many applications to optimizing the hyperparameters of machine learning models, optimizing the inputs to real-world experiments and processes, etc. This talk will introduce the Gaussian process approach to Bayesian optimization, with sample code in Python.

Bio: Austin Rochford is a Data Scientist at Monetate. He is a former mathematician who is interested in Bayesian nonparametrics, multilevel models, probabilistic programming, and efficient Bayesian computation.

401 East City Avenue, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004 · Philadelphia, PA