It’s all Water (or should I say H2O) to me!

It’s all Water (or should I say H2O) to me!

By Krishna Visvanathan, Co-founder & Partner, Crane Venture Partners

In the career of any venture capitalist, one dreads the “oh shit moment”. For those unfamiliar with this most technical of terms – it is that moment of clarity when a VC, in the immediate aftermath of closing one’s latest investment (often at the first post investment Board meeting), is brought back down to earth with the realisation that the shiny new investment wasn’t quite so shiny after all.

Whilst it’s not the case for every investment of course (exceptions proving the rule and all that), it was still with slight trepidation that I set off for Mountain View, CA on Dec 4th, to attend H2O World and to connect with the Board – to see what customers, ecosystems partners and Board members really thought of the company – just weeks after the completion of H2O.ai’s $40m Series C, in which Crane participated as the sole European investor.

I suspect SriSatish Ambati, Co-Founder & CEO, would probably have not asked me to pen my reflections of my first H2O World, had he known this – but you can relax Sri, I can genuinely say that H2O is one of those exceptions. What I experienced at H2O World surpassed my expectations.

Impressive attendance levels – I was staggered to see over 500 people attending when NIPS was taking place in LA at the very same time. Also pleasing was the number of attendees representing enterprise users already deploying AI (& H2O) for practical use cases to great impact (more on this later).

Open source is not a marketing strategy, it’s a way of life – and when coupled with great product is when users, partners and customers become the best evangelisers and the ecosystem takes on a life of its own. This was perhaps the enduring memory of the conference for me – the vibrancy, zeal, depth and richness of the H2O community. This is the first enterprise startup I’ve been involved in with such a highly developed community – vital to succeeding in open source (alongside a sizeable TAM). Seeing and speaking with H2O’s users on stage, in the coffee areas, at the demo tables eulogising about their uses of H2O’s products filled me with a truly warm glow.

The Data and AI revolution will not be televised – to paraphrase Gil Scott Heron. It’s here, it’s now but it’s only just beginning and it will truly transform every facet of human and corporate existence – from predicting blood usage and thus saving $m’s of dollars but more importantly saving precious blood bags by dramatically reducing wastage (shout out to Prof. Rob Tibshirani from Stanford), to predicting, detecting and combating fraudsters at PayPal to predicting Sepsis to save lives at a healthcare provider or credit scoring/lending, AML, KYC and much more at one of the largest credit card companies, these are just the tip of the use case iceberg of H2O and AI. We learn every day of new users and new use cases from the growing community of over 12,600 enterprises (across many verticals – Finance & Insurance, Healthcare, Automotive, TMT, Retail to name a few) and 130,000 users – whether you are a startup or a Fortune 1000 enterprise, if AI is not already a part of your corporate vernacular then good luck!

Software is eating the world, AI is eating Software but Data is feeding both. When Jeff Herbst of Nvidia said on stage at H2O World – “The next phase of the AI revolution is all about Data”, it was music to our ears at Crane as we’ve been investing in Data & AI companies for a couple of years now. Data is the true value and helping enterprises unlock the gold in their data is what Driverless AI (DAI) is all about. Whilst I was fully aware of the potential of DAI, hearing PayPal describe how DAI produced an optimised feature rich model/recipe an order of magnitude quicker than traditional modelling practices without DAI was simultaneously mind blowing and illustrative of the untapped potential. The floodgates will truly open when DAI enables any user to BYOR – bring your own recipe and to share these recipes with the community.

Interpretability and Visualisation of Data in AI is the another key plank and yet again, H2O is taking the lead. Even for a non-techie, Professor Leland Wilkinson’s illustration of the visualisation capabilities he and H2O have built made me sit up and take notice.

“Democratising AI is not a mission, it’s a duty”SriSatish Ambati. We are only at the start of the AI revolution but battle lines are already being drawn between the giants, deploying huge resources, stockpiling talent, building proprietary hardware/infrastructure/platforms, all in the name of harnessing AI and data for their own benefits. AI will transform human existence in profound ways that we are yet to imagine and making it accessible and executable by the many must therefore be our duty. Whilst we make no apology for our investment in H2O being about generating a financial return for our investors, we are also firmly and proudly committed to H2O’s doctrine of democratising AI.

Unlike Kevin Costner’s, this Waterworld was truly epic. Plaudits go to the entire H2O team for putting on a great event but more so for creating and nurturing such a superb community and for building world class product wrapped in unparalleled customer-centricity. We at Crane are clearly biased but I think you can tell that we are super excited to be part of the H2O team and hope to contribute in some small way to their continued success.

For other blog posts from Crane, please check out Crane-Taking Flight.

Thank You for an Incredible H2O World

Thank You for an Incredible H2O World

#H2OWorld 2017 was an incredible experience!

It was wonderful to gather with community members from all over the world for more than 50 interesting presentations and so many great conversations.

H2O World kicked off at the Computer History Museum with a keynote by H2O.ai CEO and Co-Founder, Sri Ambati, on the Maryam-Curie stage.

Sri’s keynote was followed by more than 20 presentations on the first day from community members at innovative organizations like BeeswaxIO, Business Science, Change Healthcare, Comcast, Equifax, NVIDIA, PayPal, Stanford University, Wildbook and many others.

The second day started with a keynote from Professor Rob Tibshirani focused on “An Application of the Lasso in Biomedical data sciences”.

Professor Tibshirani’s keynote was followed by more than 25 presentations from leading organizations including Amazon’s A9, Booking.com, Capital One, Digitalist Group, IBM, MapD, NVIDIA, QQ Trend, Stanford Medicine and more.

I’d love to say thank you to everyone who joined us at H2O World. We are incredibly grateful for your continued encouragement and feedback.

Thank you also to our talented team and Shiloh Events for planning such an amazing event.

Looking forward to the next H2O World!

Happy Holidays,

Rosalie

Director of Community

P.S. Want to share how you’re using H2O.ai products? I’d be thrilled to hear from you! Drop me a note.

The Top 10 Most Watched Videos From H2O World 2015

Now that we’re a few months out from H2O World we wanted to share with you all what the most popular talks were by online viewership. The talks covered a variety of topics from introductions, to in-depth examinations of use cases, to wide-ranging panels.

Introduction to Data Science
Featuring Erin LeDell, Statistician and Machine Learning Scientist, H2O.ai
An introductory talk for people new to the field of data science.

Intro to R, Python, Flow
Featuring Amy Wang, Math Hacker, H2O.ai
A hands-on demonstration of how to run H2O in R and Python and an introduction to the Flow GUI.

Machine Learning at Comcast
Featuring Andrew Leamon, Director of Engineering Analysis, Comcast and Chushi Ren, Software Engineer, Comcast
An inside look at how Comcast leverages machine learning across its business units.

Migrating from Proprietary Analytics Stacks to Open Source H2O
Featuring Fonda Ingram, Technical Manager, H2O.ai
A ten-year SAS veteran explains how to migrate from proprietary software to an open source environment.

Top 10 Data Science Pitfalls
Featuring Mark Landry, Product Manager, H2O.ai
A Kaggle champion offers an overview of ten top pitfalls to avoid when performing data science.

Ensembles
Featuring Erin LeDell, Statistician and Machine Learning Scientist, H2O.ai
Another popular talk from Erin, this time providing an overview specifically of ensemble learning.

Sparkling Water
Featuring Michal Malohlava, Software Engineer, H2O.ai
An introduction to Sparkling Water, H2O’s Spark API, by one of its key architects.

Panel – Competitive Data Science
Featuring Arno Candel, Chief Architect, H2O.ai, Phillip Adkins, Data Scientist, Banjo, Nick Kridler, Data Scientist, Stich Fix, Mark Landry, Product Manager, H2O.ai, John Park, Principal Data Scientist, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Lauren Savage, Data Scientist, AT&T and Guocong Song, Data Scientist, Playground.Global
A panel discussion covering all aspects of competitive data science.

Survey of Available Machine Learning Frameworks
Featuring Brenden Herger, Data Scientist, Capital One
An overview of available machine learning frameworks and an analysis of why teams use specific ones.

Panel – Industrial Data Science – Practitioners’ Perspective
Featuring SriSatish Ambati, CEO & Cofounder, H2O.ai, Xaviar Amatriain, VP of Engineering, Quora, Scott Marsh, Research & Development Analyst, Progressive Insurance, Taposh Dutta Roy, Manager, Kaiser Permanente, Nachum Shacham, Principal Data Scientist, PayPal and Daqing Zhao, Director of Advanced Analytics, Macy’s.com
A discussion of large data science deployments by the people most familiar with them.

A great selection of talks if we do say so ourselves! Is it too early to start counting the days to H2O World 2016?

H2O World from an Attendee’s Perspective

Data Science is like Rome, and all roads lead to Rome. H2O WORLD is the crossroad, pulling in a confluence of math, statistics, science and computer science and incorporating all avenues of business. From the academic, research oriented models to the business and computer science analytics implementations of those ideas, H2O WORLD informs attendees on H2O’s ability to help users and customers explore their data and produce a prediction or answer a question.

I came to H2O World hoping to gain a better understanding of H2O’s software and of Data Science in general. I thoroughly enjoyed attending the sessions, following along with the demos and playing with H2O myself. Learning from the hackers and Data Scientists about the algorithms and science behind H2O and seeing the community spirit at the Hackathons was enlightening. Listening to the keynote speakers, both women, describe our data-influenced future and hearing the customer’s point of view on how H2O has impacted their work has been inspirational. I especially appreciated learning about the potential influence on scientific and medical research and social issues and H2O’s ability to influence positive change.

Curiosity led me to delve into the world of Data Science and as a person with a background of science and math, I wasn’t sure how it applied to me. Now I realize that there is virtually no discipline which cannot benefit from the methods of Data Science and that there is great power in asking the right questions and telling a good story. H2O WORLD broadened my horizons and gave me a new perspective on the role of Data Science in the world. Data science can be harnessed as force for social good where a few people from around the globe can change the world. H2O World 2015 was a great success and I truly enjoyed learning and being there.

H2O World Third Day Wrap-Up

H2O fans, we know that distance and the twin holidays of Veteran’s Day and Diwali kept many of you from attending the grand finale of H2O World, but we want to at least give you a taste of all that went on at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. Day 3 of H2O World got off to a strong start with a massive panel on creating a culture of data-driven decision making. The panel included experts from H2O.ai and AT&T.

1

The morning continued with talks from GoPro and H2O.ai Board Member Michael Marks, Conor Jensen, Analytics Program Director at Zurich North America, and a very informative session on GLRM from Madeleine Udell! Before heading over to our delicious food trucks, H2O World attendees also had the opportunity to hear several keynotes. The first was an explanation of what the next generation of data products would look like from non other than data science expert Hilary Mason!

2

Hilary’s talk was followed by keynotes from Kaiser Permanente Vice President, Jason P Jones, who spoke about how machine learning can help with clinical decision making, and from Stanford Professor Rob Tibshirani, who spoke about using the lasso method for high dimensional supervised learning. Attendees who weren’t immediately distracted by the onset of the lunch hour had a chance to get their books signed by Hilary and Rob.

3

Lest you think that all the fun happened in the morning, we want to assure you that the afternoon was jam-packed as well! We hosted three panels on algorithm design and application gotchas, machine learning in financial services and machine learning in natural language processing, respectively. We also had a series of terrific talks from fellow H2O fans just like yourselves at Transamerica Corporation, Progressive, Macy’s, Nielsen Catalina Solutions, Lexalytics, Sociogramics, Altiscale, MarketShare, Machine Zone, Data Fellas, Epoch and Trendkite.

If you were at the show tell us what YOUR favorite session was by tweeting us @h2oai #h2oworld. We’ll give you a hint as to our favorite part…

4

Questions? Tweet us @h2oai #h2oworld

H2O World Second Day Wrap-Up

H2O fans, we didn’t think that our second day could top our first, but somehow it did! Still, although we had record attendance, we know that a lot of you aren’t here. While we can’t hope to get across all that’s happened, we do want to share some of the highlights. The morning started off with CEO Sri Ambati welcoming attendees and giving them a special sneak peek at the future roadmap of H2O.

1

Before even getting to lunch attendees were treated to a fascinating talk from world-renowned data science expert Monica Rogati, use case demonstrations from PayPal, Comcast, and Quora, and an explanation of Consensus Lasso from the man Sri calls “the Bob Dylan of data science,” Stanford Professor Stephen Boyd. H2O World attendees not completely entranced by our wonderful collection of food trucks got some one-on-one time to ask Monica Rogati questions during a special “fireside chat.”

2

At H2O.ai we’re focused on achieving impact, and nothing impacts people as much as their health. That’s why we were so proud to be a part of Kaiser Permanente Health Data Project Lead Taposh Dutta Roy’s afternoon talk on using data science to help battle cancer. The afternoon also featured talks from H2O users at PayPal, Capital One, AT&T, Google Analytics, GenomeDx and 6sense. A series of panels on industrial data science, the future of data science and the last mile of data science delivery were part of the afternoon’s agenda as well.

3

Of course, no event is complete without a party, and H2O World is no different! After a full day of listening to the world’s leading data science practitioners talk about their work, attendees were bussed over to another world at the Mos Eisley Cantina. Fortunately, none of our open source Jedi fell prey to the vile machinations of the Sith, but it was a close call!

4

Questions? Tweet us @h2oai #h2oworld

H2O World First Day Wrap-Up

H2O fans, we wish that all of you were here, but we also know that our community is spread across the globe and not all of you could make it to H2O World. However, those of you not able to attend the conference are just as much a part of our community as those that are. While we can’t hope to convey the energy and excitement of H2O World, we can share some highlights.

In one of the day’s big surprises, AT&T data scientist Lauren Savage, who has been using H2O for just two weeks, won yesterday’s three-hour hackathon as judged by our panel of Kaggle pros. Congratulations Lauren!

1

The rest of the day was full of tons of great demonstrations and walkthroughs designed to help our community get the most out of their data.

2

New community members got an introduction to the H2O platform followed by an explanation of how to install H2O and introductions to data science, R, Python and the Flow UI. Veteran H2O users received an update on the software and an explanation of how to upgrade it. Both groups were treated to a special conversation over lunch with our Chief Architect, Arno Candel.

3

Silicon Valley Data Science’s Chen Huang got the the afternoon off to a great start with a talk on how to ask smarter questions to make better business decisions. Erdos, one of our two main stages, hosted a series of awesome afternoon talks on Deep Learning, GLM, Ensembles, Sparkling Water and building smart applications, plus a panel on competitive data science! Not to be outdone, the Ramanujan stage featured talks on using H2O with Databricks Cloud, GBM and Random Forest, GLRM, migrating proprietary stacks to open source H2O, Deep Learning and a panel discussion on Smart Applications!

4

Questions? Tweet us @h2oai #h2oworld

Pre-H2O World, Part 2

H2O fans, we have a day of data delights in store you for you tomorrow! The first day of H2O World is totally devoted to demos and walkthroughs designed to help YOU get the most out of your data. In fact, we have so many sessions planned that unless you have Hermione’s Time Turner, you won’t be able to attend them all. So choose wisely! A half day hackathon will kickoff at 9 am and last until 12 pm. At the same time the Erdos stage will be hosting an introduction to the H2O platform for you newcomers followed by an explanation of how to install the platform and introductions to data science, R, Python and the Flow UI. A panel on the challenges and pitfalls of data science and a talk on Gradient Method Boosting and Random Forest will follow before we even get to lunch! Last, but certainly not least, the Ramanujan stage will feature a morning packed with an update on the H2O platform for veteran users and an explanation of how to upgrade the software. This will be followed by an overview of the “top 10 data science pitfalls,” an update on what’s new in R, Python and Flow, and talks on GLM and Python Pipelines.

Time is precious, so even the lunch hour gets used at H2O World! Enjoy your meal while you hear from our very own Chief Architect, Arno Candel. Silicon Valley Data Science’s Chen Huang will kickoff the afternoon at Boole with a talk on how to ask smarter questions to make better business decisions. Boole’s afternoon will be graced by talks on Sparkling Water and building smarter applications. Although the morning’s talks on the Erdos stage will be a tough act to follow, we’ll be making an attempt with a series of awesome talks on Deep Learning, GLM, Ensembles, Sparkling Water and building smart applications, plus a panel on competitive data science! Likewise, the Ramanujan stage will be putting on a strong effort in the afternoon. Ramanujan will feature talks on using H2O with Databricks Cloud, GBM and Random Forest, GLRM, migrating proprietary stacks to open source H2O, Deep Learning and a panel discussion on Smart Applications!

Questions? Tweet us @h2oai #h2oworld

Pre-H2O World, Part 1

H2O fans, the H2O.ai team is burning the midnight oil to get H2O World ready for you all. With an audience size twice that of last year’s event we’re going to pack the house at the Computer History Museum! This year’s event will feature 70+ speakers spread out over 41 talks, 22 training sessions and eight panels during the course of the most exciting three days a data scientist could ask for. These folks are amongst the leading lights in our industry including Hilary Mason, Monica Rogati and Stanford Professors Stephen Boyd and Rob Tibshirani.

Right now our awesome new QA team members are burning over 1,000 USB sticks filled to the brim with new content. We’re especially excited for you all to see use cases from your colleagues across a wide variety of industries including ad tech, insurance and finance and from companies like Progressive, Macy’s, PayPal and AT&T. Stay tuned for a follow up outlining all of Monday’s events, we’ve got some surprises in store!

If there’s something YOU want to see at the show Tweet us @H2Oai #h2oworld