Big data experts coming to Grand Rapids


Tanmay Bakshi. Courtesy IBM

A computing technologies and educational nonprofit will host a conference at DeVos Place next week featuring some of the nation’s leading minds in big data.

Big Data Ignite is hosting its second annual conference at the DeVos Place convention center in downtown Grand Rapids, Sept. 27-29.

The conference will feature some of the nation’s leading minds in Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing. The first day of the conference will feature guest speakers James Arcieri, IBM senior cloud advisor and 13-year-old artificial intelligence developer Tanmay Bakshi, who is the youngest IBM Watson developer in the world.

The two speakers will explain and demonstrate how to enhance data-analytics systems by integrating IBM Watson cognitive-computing technology. Participants will have an opportunity to work with sample data sets in an open environment. The conference will consist of three days of hands-on workshops, networking opportunities and keynote speakers.

The conference also will feature the artificial intelligence-driven supercomputer — Watson — that defeated Ken Jennings on Jeopardy! and other speakers from Microsoft, Cloudera and Amazon Web Services, as well as local organizations such as Open Systems Technologies, Meijer and Grand Valley State University.

Last year, Big Data Ignite drew more than 250 visitors from across the country to Grand Rapids. This year, the organization is expecting to have more than 400 guests in attendance.

Big Data Ignite

Big Data Ignite is a nonprofit focused on providing education and training in data-intensive computing technology to improve innovation and the competitive advantage in the Grand Rapids region. The organization is focused on large-scale data management, predictive analytics, machine learning, cloud computing and IoT, and seeks to establish Michigan as a recognized center of excellence in these areas.

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