KNIME Spring Summit - Day 1

Posted by khrishan on 2016-02-24

Good evening all.

What a first day! Lets start from the beginning…

So I said yesterday that I would go visit the gym/pool in the morning… and amazingly… I DID - I was up at 6am (GMT - my phone hadn’t updated time wise hence the alarm didn’t either).

I’ll be honest it wasn’t that impressive… The gym was a big as the average utilities room. Their equipment was a couple of treadmills, couple of cross trainers and the light dumbbells that were gathering dust in the corner. The swimming pool looked nice though, but I didn’t want to get chlorine smelling clothes on the first day, so I passed but plan to return later on in the trip - but I did do some press ups/planks/jack-knifes in my room so the morning wasn’t a total loss.

Next we went down for breakfast and this was very nice. As with most hotels, it was a buffet and I decided to have a ‘bacon sandwich’. The bacon they use in Berlin is different to that commonly had in the UK. It was more crispy, more streaky and smaller (I know you can buy probably buy that kind of bacon in the UK - but still, something new). In addition, the scrambled eggs were really nice… I think there was butter in there or something. Being the ‘gym-nut’ that I am, I obviously piled my plate up high with scrambled eggs (#gainz) and ate away. After breakfast, we went back to our rooms to collect our stuff, brushed our teeth and headed over to the conference.

The walk (like I said yesterday) was 2 minutes long so we got there early so we could find a good seat, connect to the wifi etc etc…

We walked up the stairs and saw the reception desk, we picked up our lanyards and proceeded to our seats.


In essence, the talks were how KNIME is being used in different industries across the globe - including people from Perth! The standout talk from todays session was the Amazon talk from Ralf Herbrich. He spoke mainly about ‘machine learning’ which put plainly is where the computer captures data constantly, and based on that data, does some number crunching and becomes smarter. Now, the one thing I’ll say about this is he spoke mainly about other business areas around Amazon, and THEN spoke about KNIME (kind of as if it was an afterthought)… but the stuff regarding Amazon was very cool.

He showed us about how KIVA robots are being used in the ‘warehouses’ and how they navigate around the floor using QR codes. The picture of the floor kind of resembled the floor in Wall-E in the spaceship. He then went on to speak about how Amazon is using ‘machine learning’ to help detect ‘fresher’ produce… he used an example with strawberries and showed how Amazon have functionality to detect how old a strawberry is, based on an image and can therefore ore accurately determine shelf life.

A talk that stood out for me was actually from a Marketing background (MMI Agency - Benjamin Speigal - sorry if I’ve spelt that wrong) about how they had created nodes that helped ‘clean HTML’ which is powerful tool when it comes to text mining.

The main social event came in the evening where we had dinner in Parliament - yes you read that correctly - we had dinner at the Reichtag. picture below…


This place was so so cool, its near the Brandenburg (Berlin) gate. Another picture below…


Before going to the ‘restaurant thing’ (i’ll explain later), we had a ‘audio tour’ of the building walking up and down this ‘spiral construction’ (best way I could describe it) which has no roof… this is because the air is tunnelled down to the parliamentary chamber so those in parliament get fresh air. When we looked down, we saw the purple seats of Parliament - so essentially we were walking on the roof! (Can’t imagine we’re allowed to do that in London!) Something else I certainly can’t imagine happening in London was that there was a viewing gallery in Parliament, where the public can view the procedures in Parliament because (and I’m quoting from the audio guide) “they believe in openness”… where is the petition for this to happen in the UK!?!?!?

After that we went to the restaurant. Now I said before ‘restaurant thing’, it wasn’t a sit down meal as I was expecting, rather a ‘bar like scenario’, where they were serving a lot of canopies and had waiters/waitresses come round giving out champagne/wine/beer etc.

We spoke with some of the KNIME developers regarding questions we had about and made progress. It amazes me that we were talking to those who are responsible for the software we use… it’s like meeting Mark Zuckerberg (creator of Facebook), having a question on how to create a page, asking him, and him giving you an answer - whilst having a beer. #amazing

We had a lot of canopies… (I dread to think how much each one cost) - they weren’t that filling, but I had a lot to subside it. I have my opinions on ‘posh food’ - but I’ll save that for another blog.

After a few hours networking, we left parliament, walked back to the hotel, and went to bed - and that is where I shall leave you. Night :) x