2011-03-15

PyCon Asia-Pacific



Invitation by Liew Beng Keat & PyCon Asia Pacific Organizing committee.



On behalf of the organizing committee of the Python language conference, PyCon APAC 2011, we invite you to submit Proposals/Abstracts to the 2nd PyCon Asia Pacific Conference 2011 (http://apac.pycon.org), to be held in Singapore on June 9th - June 11th, 2011.

The submissions deadline for this Call For Proposal (CFP) is 1st April, 2011. We have improved/simplified our proposal submission for 2011 so moving forward, we are looking for even more quality submission. For details, please refer to the web site or the attached pdf.

The best proposals/presentations will also be invited to adapt their presentations for publication in The Python Papers Anthology (http://pythonpapers.org/).

PS : You will be pleased to know that, as of now, we have confirmed the attendance of Jacob Kaplan-Moss (of Django) and Dr. Prabhu Ramachandran as keynotes. And with other notable pythonistas expected.

We are also informing on a Call for Tutorials. Please check the web site for details if you can conduct a tutorial.

So start sending us your proposals! And support your ‘local’ Python conference and help us spread the word.

Best regards,
PyCon Asia-Pacific 2011 Organizing Committee

2011-03-09

PyCon 2011: Outside the Talks: Poster Session

By Brian Curtin

Back for a second year is the Poster Session, a more intimate approach to presentation in the form of a poster on the wall. Attendees are welcome to the session to peruse around, check out what people are doing, view demos, trade experiences, and talk one-on-one with the presenter.

With twice as many posters as last year, the session is packed with such a wide variety of topics that there’s no easy way to classify it. Education, games, medical, government, scientific, web; there’s a lot to show and learn.

What do you use for all of your Hydro-Geo-Chemical Modeling problems? I know I use Python, and so do Mike Müller and Fei Luo. It’s a staple of their sub-surface environmental research. They make use of matplotlib, so get ready for some fancy diagrams. Thanks to Python, they say “nearly impossible tasks become simple.”

Every time I run a neutron scattering experiment, I do it with Python. Same with Piotr Adam Zolnierczuk. Thankfully he made a poster to show you what it’s about. Oak Ridge National Laboratory has the world’s most powerful pulsed spallation neutron source, and the PyDAS package makes it easy to integrate the many parts of the system. Piotr plans to show an overview of the system along with examples of its use.

We all know that cloud computing is all the rage, but Gökhan Sever is working with literal cloud computing as an atmospheric scientist. Python with Cython, NumPy, SciPy, and Matplotlib all come together to support Gökhan’s cloud modelling application. From the processing to analysis to visualization, he does it all with the open source tools we all use. Yay cloud.

If you were wondering how one might solve hyperbolic partial differential equations and work with computational fluid dynamics, Python is a correct answer. Yung-Yu Chen put together a poster showing why Python and C is a viable replacement for the venerable FORTRAN, as commonly seen in the science world. Yung-Yu’s SOLVCON framework shows that Python is on its way to becoming a mainstream tool in this field.

Be sure to check out the Poster Session Sunday at 10:05!

2011-03-07

PyCon 2011: Program Guide on iOS and Android Devices

We are proud to announce that the PyCon Program Guide is available on your Apple iOS and Android devices, via the Conventionist app from Proxima Labs (Conventionist). This app is free of charge, commercial free, and once the program is downloaded, will not require your data plan or wireless.

To install, follow the following link: Conventionist - Get It! or search the App Store or Android Market for 'conventionist' from Proxima Labs. Once the application is installed, run it and select 'Download Guides'. Look for and select the "PyCon US '11" guide.

The entire schedule, including tutorials, with detailed information is available, as well as information on all our sponsors and exhibitors. Maps of the conference area, exhibitors room, and poster session are included. You can create a personal schedules with reminders naively; this is not connected to the personal schedule feature on our website.

Very special thanks to Jeff Lewis, Peter Lada, and the entire Proxima Labs team for providing such a fantastic service!

PyCon 2011: Live on Startup Row

We had a torrent of interest when we announced Startup Row for PyCon 2011. At that time, we only had six or seven companies to start. Well, due to the immense interest, we are happy to announce the final slate of entrants for Startup Row at PyCon 2011 - fifteen different startups that are making it happen with Python.

It is worth quoting just a little from the original post introducing Startup Row:

"""Since the beginning, Python has always been strongly associated with startups and entrepreneurs.... For Startup Row, we wanted to look toward the future - companies that are just starting today, but may become household names in the future."""

The founders of these companies will be at PyCon for the mail conference days, and for one day they will be participating in the Expo Hall. The other days they will be participating at PyCon with everyone else, so look around - the person next to you may have just started a company.

So without further ado, here are the fifteen Startup Row Finalists:

Friday

  • CollectorDASH: One of the things that make us unique is that we collect things - stamps, dishes, pennies, blue glass vases, art, everything. This is a vibrant part of our culture, but the tools to empower collectors are stuck back in the last century. CollectorDASH builds applications and marketplaces for collectors, applying modern technologies to make collecting more efficient, fun and affordable.
  • CrowdBooster: Everything is social these days - and Twitter is the fastest-moving social platform of all. Crowdbooster gives you twitter analytics that let you understand who is talking about you in real time.
  • Stormpulse: Are you tired of watching the news only to find out where a thunderstorm was 20 minutes ago? It is especially important to have up-to-date information if your business depends on the weather. Stormpulse delivers high-fidelity weather intelligence to a broad range of industries including energy, manufacturing, transportation, defense, healthcare, and retail. Businesses and government agencies subscribe to this intelligence to improve their long-range planning and daily decision-making surrounding the arrival and impact of significant weather events in the continental United States and Caribbean.
  • AppNest: AppNest is a distribution platform for mobile applications. Specifically, they are making the installation of private applications really simple. Ad-hoc distribution is the current technique used by iOS developers - but the publication and distribution process for ad-hoc applications is byzantine and difficult. AppNest makes this process a lot simpler. With AppNest, users can install the application using nothing more than a web browser and a native iOS application. No iTunes required, everything can be done on the mobile device.
  • Saaspire: Saaspire is building a suite of products based around "behavioral data": the data that you create when you say or do things on the Internet. Saaspire is launching their first product, FocusLab, right now. It's a behavioral data analysis tool. They are also rolling out a SaaS platform that will allow developers to easily add personalization and other behavioral data services to their apps.
  • Olark: One of the most frustrating things for any business is having people come into your store, put items in their carts, and then... leave. Olark helps businesses engage with customers before they leave the site, increasing the numbers of visitors that become customers.
  • Ep.io: Ep.io is a smart Python hosting platform. Not only do they take care of your load balancing, database configuration, redundancy, backups and code pushes for you, they support any WSGI-compatable framework or application, and any Python library we can install from PyPi. By running things in their secure, shared environment, they can keep costs down. Within their free resource limits, if you have a small site you just want people to see, just throw it up - a few minutes, and it'll be up and running at no cost. Above that, they bill you only by the amount of resources you actually use.

Saturday

  • DotCloud: DotCloud takes Platform-as-a-Service to the next level by allowing you to choose your /own/ platform that will be supported by DotCloud. DotCloud allows developers to be developers and not system administrators. DotCloud has recently received 800K in Angel Funding and is growing like mad.
  • Mailgun: Email is an essential part of doing business today - but building proper email interfaces can be tricky and error-prone. Mailgun provides an email interface for your app, allowing you to integrate email into your existing processes in a simple and easy way.
  • Glancely: Just one look at Glancely and you get it - instant product search. Not thousands of clicks through various confusing catalogs - just see what you want, click it, its yours.
  • NodeRabbit: NodeRabbit is all about it easier to build and deploy web applications. Our first product is DjangoZoom, a Heroku-like platform-as-a-service that radically speeds up the deployment of Django apps. Early adopters have described DjangoZoom as "magical" and a service that they can't live without.
  • ACL Systems: ACL Systems is a new startup focusing on the next wave in education - online education. For some aspects of education, there is nothing like being in class with a teacher. For everything else, the cost and availability advantages of online education are disrupting this established business. ACL System's online education platform makes online education effective and affordable.
  • MBA Sciences: MBA Sciences is a self-funded startup focused on allowing programmers to exploit parallelism and rapidly create scalable, fault-tolerant distributed applications that are rock solid from day one. MBA Sciences was highlighted by the Supercomputing 2010 Conference as a Disruptive Technology due to the ability of SPM.Python to perform the non-differentiating heavy lifting by removing the pain typically associated with authoring, testing and maintaining parallel capabilities.
  • Eldarion: Eldarion builds and runs great websites like Quisition and Typewar and helps you do the same. They get you from idea to launch sooner by developing custom and open source components for Django/Pinax and providing hosting on the Gondor platform.

  • Beautylish: Beauty products is not where you would necessarily expect to find Python - but it is there. Beautylish is a social network for beauty, cosmetics, and brands. They focus on video tutorials, candid product reviews, and conversations amongst users. The service actually launched in beta form this past January, and has already accumulated a small but loyal user base. They have already raised $1 million in seed funding from a group of prominent angel investors, including Ron Conway's SV Angel.

2011-03-04

PyCon 2011: Session Staff Needed

The PyCon USA 2011 site has finally gotten its schedule up this week and in the last couple of days, they have added the ability to sign up to be a Session Chair or Session Runner. These are fairly important roles that need to be filled to make the conference flow smoothly.

Basically, a Session Chair will chair a block of talks. What that means is he or she will introduce the speakers and help to stay on time. They can also help organize an open space, although I don’t think that’s mentioned in the job description this year. Finally, they help take questions from the audience.

The Session Runner will help the speaker get from the green room to the appropriate stage. They help in any way needed to make the session run smoothly. In other words, they assist the Session Chair.

You can meet fun people and make new friends by signing up for one or both of these positions. Just go to the schedule page and click on the “S” symbol next to a talk to sign up. Just remember that you’re signing up for a 2 or 3 talk session in one room. Be sure to check in at the green room to get your gear probably 15-30 minutes before the first talk in your session.

2011-03-03

Welcome to QNX, and thanks to all our sponsors

You might not have noticed a subtle, yet significant change on the front page of the PyCon 2011 site - but earlier this week, we were honored to add a new Diamond Level sponsor - QNX Software Systems. For those that aren't familiar with them, they're an operating systems development company - most recently it was announced they would be producing the OS for the RIM BlackBerry Playbook, RIM's entrant into the tablet world (QNX is a subsidiary of RIM).

When Van and I were initially approached about the sponsorship, we were incredibly happy - first, of course, we have a new sponsor - second, Python in QNX? We were pretty amazed, stunned actually. Then we also found out today that QNX will sponsor R. David Murray's email6 module work as well - QNX is certainly entering the Python community's consciousness with a bang.

QNX is pretty mum on what they're using Python for (exciting!) - but QNX’s Andy Gryc, who will attend PyCon 2011, had this to say:

QNX as a company really appreciates clean and elegant designs. Good software architecture is one of the key principles that drives our engineering, and Python makes a great addition to our toolkit for that reason. However, a big reason we’re using Python is because of the amazing developer productivity that it enables.

I asked them a bit about what role Python is playing - or going to play - strategically for them in the future - but they're staying pretty mum - but if this is any indication:

QNX will directly support Python in future products. Similarly to how we have participated in open source tooling with Eclipse, we plan to invest in developing Python, both for utilization within QNX products and in open source contributions back to the Python community. To that end, we’re interested in hiring Python developers and working with companies who do Python work.

Python looks to have gained itself a pretty significant contributor to its community. We're very appreciative of QNX’s sponsorship of PyCon - say hello to their team members when you see them in less than a week!

I also wanted to take a moment to thank all of our sponsors - Google, whose continued support of PyCon and the Python Software foundation - and Python community as a whole - has been stunning. They’ve consistently been a Diamond level sponsor for the conference, and have given the community as a whole a lot.

There’s also Microsoft - our one platinum sponsor this year, who once again continues to support PyCon as they have for a few years now. Their continued support is awesome, and their work (for example, open sourcing IronPython under the Apache license, and doing amazing Visual Studio Python support work) for the community is greatly appreciated.

Then there is the list of all of our Gold Sponsors, who also help make PyCon viable and accessible to all of us:

As well as our Silver Sponsors, businesses who really step up and help us out as much as they can, and also contribute a great deal to both the conference and community:

Without these sponsors - PyCon couldn't happen. They help keep the conference affordable and afloat in many ways - not to mention, most, if not all of them are going to be actively hiring at PyCon 2011.

So, our hats go off in thanks to QNX, our latest sponsor, and all of our amazing and generous sponsors we have. We encourage you to check out what they have to offer - and to pack your resume along with you to PyCon next week!

2011-03-02

Last Chance for Regular Registration at PyCon 2011

Today, March 2, is the last day for regular registration and booking of any kind of hotel room through the PyCon registration bureau. In order to get the best rate, register for PyCon and book your room now!

This is in some ways a follow-up post to the earlier "Behind the Scenes" post. Today we are a week out from PyCon, and we are reaching the critical stage where we need to make our final commitments to the hotel for catering, for rooms, for everything.

Unfortunately, that means that it becomes more difficult (and more expensive) for us to change anything. That is why we have an on-site rate to allow for us to handle these last-minute changes. The on-site rates will start tomorrow, March 3, and run through the conference.

Accordingly, RIGHT NOW is the last day we can provide PyCon registration at the regular rates, and we are in the last hours of being able to provide any help at all for the hotel.

You should go right now and register for PyCon!

PyCon 2011: Interview with Carl Karsten

Another Chicagoan making the drive to Atlanta is the man behind the PyCon videos, Carl Karsten of Next Day Video. After a discovery in 2008 at a Debian conference, he found a more productive video process that he took to every Chicago-area user group that would let him try it out, which got him to where he is with today’s PyCon video team.

The Chicago Python Users Group is one of those groups that Carl gets his experience with every month, along with local Java, Hadoop, Erlang, and Android groups. While local meetings like these are dwarfed by the three day conference that is PyCon, it’s a good proving ground. After a half-hour setup, all of the talks, then a half-hour teardown, it’s an encoding and checking party after that.

He’ll spend 30 minutes to encode one video to one format, multiplied by however many is necessary. “I am currently encoding to flv (because as flash is still king of Internet video), ogv (because html5 is the future king), m4v for iPhones and maybe other mobile devices, and mp3 for those that like to learn Python while they work out,” says Carl. On the difficulty, he quips, “it's quick ‘n easy, except when it isn't.”

As for a conference like PyCon, he’s looking at getting around 1.2 TB of footage to bring home. His record is to have a video online three hours after the talk was given, but it doesn’t look like that’ll be the case with 5 tracks and three days worth of footage.

While I knew Carl was a big proponent of open source, it was great news to me that he does 100% of his work with open technologies. DVSwitch from Debian developer Ben Hutchings handles much of the recording and produces the hundreds of raw files they take to post-production. That work is then passed onto Carl’s Veyepar library, which handles the various video metadata and uploading capabilities.

Use of a frame grabber allows Carl and the team to get a stream of the speaker’s screen, not just their presentation slides. Any code, examples, pictures, or video gets taken and mixed with a camera view of the speaker on stage. Since the grabber works off of the video feed, there’s no need for the speaker to submit talk slides in any specific format -- it’s all just video coming out of their own computer.

The whole post-production system is wrapped up with a Django app. From there he makes any of the necessary corrections like missing titles, incorrect scheduling, or any of the hundreds of little things that can go wrong in the process. “Most are recoverable, it just takes time,” he says of any hiccups.

For samples of what to expect for the PyCon 2011 videos, take a look at what the crew came up with in 2009 and 2010 at pycon.blip.tv, or take a look at any of his user group talks on carlfk.blip.tv. If you can’t make PyCon, hopefully the videos keep you in the loop!

2011-03-01

The 10 Python Conferences Happening at PyCon 2011 (part 4)

This is the fourth in a series of posts about the schedule for PyCon 2011. In designing this schedule, we found that there are actually 10 different conferences happening in parallel at PyCon. See the first post for an introduction to the series and a description of the Django virtual track. The second post focused on the web working virtual track. The third post focused on the Python and NoSQL virtual track. This post focuses on the fourth virtual track, Networking and Concurrency.

Networking and Concurrency

Moving away from specific web frameworks and data stores, dealing with concurrency and high-volume networking is always a challenge. When you are serving three users, you don't stress your code the same way you do when you are serving 30,000 users (all concurrently).

It is also worth pointing out that it is not just networking that is the issue; it is concurrency. Concurrency is a common problem across many programming languages, and high-traffic networking is just a natural testing ground for constructs that make it easier to handle high concurrency. Nevertheless, the principles discussed in this track are applicable to any high-throughput process.

There are eight different talks in this track:

Extreme Network Programming with Python and Linux by Rob Ludwick ( Extreme ). Traditionally, C is the preferred language for low level network programming and works well for those who have the time and patience to work with it. As it turns out, Python is very capable for prototyping low level network code, collecting data, and testing ideas quickly without getting lost in the land of C. Obscure topics such as raw sockets, multicast, network bridging, rolling your own vpn, and disruption tolerant networking will be covered. This talk will show how you can use Python to build custom protocols, debug a network, fix broken nets, implement custom logging and processing, and simulate network traffic.

Jython Concurrency by Jim Baker (Extreme). One of the persistent troubles with concurrency in Python is the GIL - the Global Interpreter Lock used to simplify the implementation of CPython... but not all Python implementations include a GIL. Jython implements the Python language, but Jython leverages the underlying Java platform to provide an opinionated alternative to CPython in its support of concurrency. Jython instead embraces threads, provides extensive support for managing their execution and coordination through standard Java platform functionality (java.util.concurrent), and works well with Jython's implementation of {ython's standard mutable collection types. The underlying JVM provides also extensive instrumentation as well as the ability to set a variety of parameters, including choice of GC. This talk will go into a detailed discussion of some of the interesting ramifications of these design points and how they can be effectively applied to write concurrent code, as illustrated through a variety of short examples.

Ten Years of Twisted by Glyph Lefkowitz. Twisted is one of the oldest event-driven architectures for Python, and it is the oldest one still being actively maintained and extended with new functionality. The maturity that Twisted brings to event-based networking is essential - they have found and fixed bugs that other asynchronous architectures may not hit for a couple years. Despite this pedigree, however, many aspects of Twisted remain misunderstood or simply unrealized. This talk will present a brief conceptual introduction to Twisted, followed by a survey of its features, their status, and how development has been proceeding over the years, with a special focus on the last two years of sponsored development.

Using Coroutines to Create Efficient, High-Concurrency Web Applications by Matt Spitz ( Extreme ). Many people don't know that the popular web-based instant messaging service Meebo is delivered using Python. At Meebo, they have settled on using gunicorn, a lightweight WSGI server, which supports gevent, a coroutine-based network library for python. Gevent monkeypatches python's system modules to make network requests asynchronous using an event loop based on libevent. This trick allows the developer to use a simple blocking CGI as a non-blocking web application that can handle many concurrent requests. In this in-depth review, Matt discusses how Meebo worked through the various approaches to building web applications, why they ended up choosing gunicorn+gevent, the challenges this new framework presents, and how they've dealt with them.

Prototyping Go's Select with stackless.py for Stackless Python by Andrew Francis (Extreme). Google’s introduction of the Go language raised eyebrows in the Stackless Python community. Although very different languages, Go and Stackless Python’s concurrency model share a common ancestor: the Bell Labs family of languages (i.e., Newsqueak, Limbo). The common feature are channels: a synchronous message passing mechanism based on Tony Hoare’s Communicating Sequential Processes (CSP).

Both Go and Stackless Python have channels - but the select language built into Go gives it the ability to wait on multiple channels simultaneously. This talk explores the prototyping potential of stackless.py, the PyPy's framework's implementation of Stackless Python. This talk will present a brain-bending "case study" involving prototyping Go's select in stackless.py before reimplementing select in C based Stackless Python.

An Introduction to Tornado by Gavin Roy. Tornado is an open source version of the scalable, non-blocking web server and tools that power FriendFeed. It is not only a web server but it is a light-weight, use only what you need, web development framework. This talk will review the current state of the Tornado project, review the features Tornado provides and give examples of how to implement asynchronous web applications in Tornado.

Advanced Network Architectures With ZeroMQ by Zed Shaw (Extreme). Zed Shaw has raised a lot of interest with his recent work on Mongrel2, a "language agnostic" webserver that uses ZeroMQ to handle all the plumbing. This talk builds on Zed's experience with Mongrel2 to demonstrate how to use ZeroMQ with Python (and others) to do really advanced or even weird network architectures. Zed will show Python talking to other languages, handling HTTP, JSON, XML, WebSockets, encoding videos, handling chat messaging, etc. This is an extreme talk, so it will be in code, not in diagrams. This talk will assume you know ZeroMQ and Python, but if you don't know ZeroMQ you can probably still keep up.

An outsider's look at co-routines by Peter Portante. This talk is designed to take an interested beginner from a hazy understanding of coroutines up to the point where they can understand the essential concepts (and the essential differences!) associated with the different implementations of coroutines for Python.

Is this the conference you want to see? Then, register for PyCon and book your room now! We have picked up a few more rooms - including a few at a lower rate a block away. You can email (pycon4-reg@cteusa.com), or phone (847-759-4277). We have very few spots left.

Links:

Edit: Discussion link on Hacker News.

The 10 Python Conferences Happening at PyCon 2011 (part 3)

This is the third in a series of posts about the schedule for PyCon 2011. In designing this schedule, we found that there are actually 10 different conferences happening in parallel at PyCon. The first post introduced the series and discussed the Django virtual track. The second post focused on the web working virtual track. This post focuses on the third virtual track, Python and NoSQL.

Python and NoSQL

One of the more interesting developments in the past couple years is the use of NoSQL databases. FOr many years, the default answer to any kind of persistence problem was simply to put it in a (relational) database. If you had problems scaling, then you would shard or pay lots of money for clustered/big iron solutions. NoSQL developed in part as a reaction to the overuse of RDBMSes for all sorts of problems.

Of course, it can be hard to say exactly what NoSQL is - but I like to define it as a resurgence of "the right tool for the job," just applied to the storage and persistence space. It can be graph-based, document-based, column-based, or object based -- or even just a data structures server.

It is not surprising, though, that Python is able to talk to them all. In this track we have four different talks, giving the inside scoop on production-level use of various NoSQL stores.

ZODB: A Python Persistence System by Chris McDonough. The ZODB is the granddaddy of the various NoSQL options for Python, having been developed when such things were "object databases" and not "NoSQL." Nevertheless, the ZODB is a standalone persistence system uniquely integrated into Python that remains astoundingly buzzword-compliant despite its age. This talk will provide a high-level overview of ZODB useful to a novice or intermediate Python programmer. At the end of the talk, an attendee should have a basic understanding of how to create an application which depends on ZODB persistence.

CouchDB and Python in practice by Luke Gotszling. CouchDB has a unique document-centric model with automatic clustering and replication. It is gaining a lot of traction, and has recently been seen both up in the clouds and as a data store on Android phones. This talk will introduce CouchDB and will show how to get it to play well with Python. Luke will continue by showing a python ORM for CouchDB, easing development and object-document interoperability. Finally, Luke will cover parsing CouchDB documents within python, writing view functions in python, map/reduce functions on CouchDB from python, and some lessons learned from managing and distributing a live deployment at scale under high load.

Scaling Python past 100 by Mark Ramm. Those with eagle eyes will spot this as a repeat from the "web working" track. That is because this talk is a twofer - describing both the development of the modern Python codebase as well as the use of MongoDB to address the scaling issues associated with a top 100 site.

MongoDB + Pylons at Catch.com: Scalable Web Apps with Python and NoSQL by Niall O'Higgins. The Catch.com backend provides an API for publishing and querying your personal data - used by many hugely popular Android, iOS and Web clients. Faced with the limits of the initial Catch.com Java/BDB backend implemention, they evaluated various alternative technologies including Amazon SimpleDB, MySQL, Cassandra and MongoDB. They found Python and MongoDB gave them unique flexibility with our data model, allowed them to scale for increased reliability and performance and decreased feature development time - and in this talk they'll describe exactly how.

Edit: Wesley Chun points out that Running Django Apps on Google App Engine is also designed to deal with NoSQL datastores - and that the principles covered in his talk apply both to GAE and to MongoDB. ed.

Is this the conference you want to see? Then, register for PyCon and book your room now! We have picked up a few more rooms - including a few at a lower rate a block away. You can email (pycon4-reg@cteusa.com), or phone (847-759-4277). We have very few spots left.

Links:

Edit: Discussion link on Hacker News.