[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 15:16:15 EST 2013

On Wed, Nov 13, 2013 at 11:53 AM, Bartosz <mail at telenczuk.pl> wrote:

> Hi Fernando,
> That's great news! Congratulations!

Thanks! Crazy amount of work that was done in relatively high secrecy
(which runs against my instincts, though in this case there were good
reasons for it), so it's very nice to be able to talk about it publicly.

> We have been organising a school on Python in (data) science (last time
> in Zurich: http://python.g-node.org). The school has been a great
> success, but obtaining funding for a general school without any specific
> field (like bioinformatic, neuroscience etc.) is rather difficult in
> Europe.

And you think it's easy here? ;)  This kind of stuff is *super hard* to get
funded anywhere, and it's been our struggle for over a decade.  That's why
we're so excited about this initiative: we hope that this support from the
Moore and Sloan foundations will signal to the (much, much bigger) federal
funding agencies, and the ones elsewhere in the world, that this stuff
actually matters.

BTW, you guys are doing a terrific job with the G-Node school, I know our
own Stefan vdW is a regular and he speaks very highly of the event.  Keep
up the good work.

Part of the reason for such a high-visibility, coordinated media blitz
(White House, NSF, NYTimes, HuffPost, all universities, all foundations,
blog posts, etc) was precisely to give ammunition to everyone who is
fighting these battles with their committees, program directors,
colleagues, etc.  Hopefully next time that someone tells you this isn't
important, you can point them to this collection that has all the links
about this in one place:


and it will make it easier to argue your case :)

> Could you explain what are the main goals of the new project and what is
> role Python/Ipython will play?

I really  don't want to sound rude, but was there something in my blog post
that wasn't quite clear about the broader picture? I'm happy to answer
questions, but I'd like that post, in addition to the Berkeley press
release (http://bit.ly/HYrhNT), to be a clear outline of the big ideas, so
I'd rather fix that than answer only on a mailing list.

As for the role for Python/IPython, right now I don't have much more to say
than what was in my email: there's a *lot* of Python activity at Berkeley
right now (see  http://python.berkeley.edu), and multiple projects use it.
Everyone in the IPython team is spending some time engaging the broader
campus community, lecturing in courses, meeting students, etc. So we're
spreading our engagement to campus quite a bit. What we hope is that when
the institute ramps up, it will be a home for a lot of this activity; we
may physically move our work space there (at least part-time), and I hope
we'll be able to hire more folks from the open source Python world (and
related spaces, like Julia) to make Berkeley an even more significant
center of open source scientific computing.

Does this help?


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