Deep Learning For Data Engineers


February 24th, 2019

42 mins 46 secs

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About this Episode


Deep learning is the latest class of technology that is gaining widespread interest. As data engineers we are responsible for building and managing the platforms that power these models. To help us understand what is involved, we are joined this week by Thomas Henson. In this episode he shares his experiences experimenting with deep learning, what data engineers need to know about the infrastructure and data requirements to power the models that your team is building, and how it can be used to supercharge our ETL pipelines.


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  • Your host is Tobias Macey and today I’m interviewing Thomas Henson about what data engineers need to know about deep learning, including how to use it for their own projects


  • Introduction
  • How did you get involved in the area of data management?
  • Can you start by giving an overview of what deep learning is for anyone who isn’t familiar with it?
  • What has been your personal experience with deep learning and what set you down that path?
  • What is involved in building a data pipeline and production infrastructure for a deep learning product?
    • How does that differ from other types of analytics projects such as data warehousing or traditional ML?
  • For anyone who is in the early stages of a deep learning project, what are some of the edge cases or gotchas that they should be aware of?
  • What are your opinions on the level of involvement/understanding that data engineers should have with the analytical products that are being built with the information we collect and curate?
  • What are some ways that we can use deep learning as part of the data management process?
    • How does that shift the infrastructure requirements for our platforms?
  • Cloud providers have been releasing numerous products to provide deep learning and/or GPUs as a managed platform. What are your thoughts on that layer of the build vs buy decision?
  • What is your litmus test for whether to use deep learning vs explicit ML algorithms or a basic decision tree?
    • Deep learning algorithms are often a black box in terms of how decisions are made, however regulations such as GDPR are introducing requirements to explain how a given decision gets made. How does that factor into determining what approach to take for a given project?
  • For anyone who wants to learn more about deep learning, what are some resources that you recommend?

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Parting Question

  • From your perspective, what is the biggest gap in the tooling or technology for data management today?


The intro and outro music is from The Hug by The Freak Fandango Orchestra / CC BY-SA

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