[IPython-dev] New Data Science Initiative, aka where has Fernando been hiding for the last year?

Fernando Perez fperez.net at gmail.com
Wed Nov 13 01:23:31 EST 2013

Hi all,

this is an email that I've been waiting for almost a year to be able to
write, and finally today I can do it...

Almost a year ago, we announced the Sloan grant to support IPython
development, and it would be reasonable to imagine that this would mean I
would become significantly more active on the project than even before,
since now IPython would be officially a large part of my job.  However,
astute observers will have noticed quite the opposite: my contributions in
code, github activity and mailing list traffic have actually gone down
since that day, not up (in my meager defense, I still do a fair bit behind
the scenes and face-to-face in Berkeley :)

Obviously middle age decay and manager syndrome can probably account for
much of that, but there was another reason.  On the *very same day* that we
got the Sloan grant, I was pulled into a competition for another grant that
Josh Greenberg, the same Sloan program director who funds us, was running
in collaboration with the Moore foundation. This was a large effort to
select three US universities for an ambitious project involving data
science, where open source computational tools would play a central role.

This became a very significant and time consuming project, but today we've
been able to publicly announce the outcome, during an event at the White
House OSTP.  Rather than repeating in this email everything, I'll just
point to a blog post I wrote with the rest of the story:


What does this mean for IPython?  Hopefully only good things: open source,
and IPython specifically, were an important ingredient of the Berkeley
proposal, and I expect to build at the new Berkeley Institute for Data
Science a "place for people like us". The scientific Python culture at
Berkeley is rapidly growing, in no small part thanks to the work of the
great team at the DLab (dlab.berkeley.edu) who picked up my early
py4science effort and now run a very active community. There's multiple
projects on campus that involve scientific Python, all of them open source,
and I am sure we'll be able to leverage this initiative in multiple
productive ways for IPython and the larger ecosystem.

As for myself, I do hope that next year I'll have more bandwidth for
technical work on IPython. I have been able to remain plugged in to all our
design work, but I *really* like to code, and I hate to be so far away from
it. I hope my responsibilities at BIDS will still leave some room for it.

Finally, I really want to thank Brian, Min, Thomas, Paul, Matthias and the
rest of the team. You guys done far more than your fair share of the work,
effectively picking up all of my slack in the most generous way imaginable.
 It's hard to think of a better team to work with.



Fernando Perez (@fperez_org; http://fperez.org)
fperez.net-at-gmail: mailing lists only (I ignore this when swamped!)
fernando.perez-at-berkeley: contact me here for any direct mail
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