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 30 September, 2019

I had an awesome time at the Enterprise Applications of the R Language (EARL) Conference held in London in September, 2019. EARL reminded me that it is good to keep showing up at conferences. I entered and the first thing I heard was organisers at the table welcoming me “Damian is that you? Awesome to see you again!” Feels great to be a part of the amazing R community. Within minutes I already met a couple of people. I like the vibe at EARLs. I ran into some of the people from other conferences who remembered me from Insurance Data Science in Zurich and EARL 2018 in Seattle

At EARL 2018 in Seattle I presented about analyzing satellite imagery with deep learning networks, but this time I was a pure attendee, which was a different sort of intense and fantastic. The conference kicked off with a keynote by Julia Silge, the Jane Austen loving astrophysicist and author of “Text Mining with R.”. Julia shared very interesting insights about Data Scientists all over the world that were gathered in a huge Stack Overflow poll.

I have worked on 50 something Shiny dashboard applications, but I always learn something new at conferences. Christel Swift had an interesting presentation about using shiny at BBC. I also learned quite a few tricks during the workshop about R Markdown and Interactive Dashboards that took place the day before the conference.

I didn’t know that it took 15 years to develop a new drug. I heard a fascinating presentation by Bayer about where data science meets the world of pharmaceuticals. The topic is close to us as we also face many challenges when working with data in the pharma industry.  

I thought this slide was hilarious: 


At the conference you could also learn how Transport for London (TFL) uses Data Science to reduce station overcrowding and closures – take a look at Mark Samuels blog post about the presentation – https://diginomica.com/how-tfl-using-data-science-reduce-station-overcrowding-and-closures.

Before/between/after the presentations I had so many fascinating conversations, some of which continued into the wee hours. I think everyone, even competitors, recognized that there was so much to gain from sharing information and bouncing ideas off of each other. 

Many people I met were just starting with R and introducing R in their companies. I heard a lot of questions about using R in production – our pitch about big pharma that introduced R with our support fit perfectly there. 

Note to self: pick up a Catch Box for when we host a conference. You can throw it at people instead of awkwardly leaning over crowds of people trying to hand them the microphone. It was entertaining each time they tossed the Catch Box at an audience member.    


EARL was exciting and well organized. I got to know the Mango Solutions founders, a lot of RStudio folks and plenty of different Data Scientists from various companies. EARL is the conference that you don’t want to miss.

We are in the middle of the WhyR Warsaw conference at the moment. We’re so excited to host Dr. Kenneth Benoit from the London School of Economics and creator of the quanteda R package. I will co-present with him on the topic of Natural Language Processing for non-programmers. But that is a post for another time! Thanks for stopping by. Questions? Comments? You can find me on Twitter @D_Rodziewicz.