IT/Dev Connections 2016 Speaker Highlight: James McCaffrey

IT/Dev Connections 2016 Speaker Highlight: James McCaffrey

Part of an ongoing series, we're highlighting the excellent speakers we have handpicked to present phenomenal and extremely valuable content at the IT/Dev Connections conference. Want more? Get the Insider’s Scoop About IT/Dev Connections 2016 on September 8!

This speaker highlight is James McCaffrey.


James's IT/Dev Connection sessions:

Recently, we asked James to give us a little information about himself. Here's what he shared:


ITDC: Give us a brief introduction to you.

James: Hi, my name is James McCaffrey. I work at Microsoft Research in Redmond, Washington. I'm a hybrid in the sense that I combine programming (I worked on products like Internet Explorer and Exchange Server so I can sort of code), and research (I have a PhD so I can sort of understand fancy math equations).


ITDC: Describe the sessions you are presenting and why you feel the topic is important.

James: I'm giving two talks at IT/Dev Connections. The first is "Introduction to R and Microsoft R Server" and the second is "Introduction to Azure Machine Learning". Both of these talks are related to data science in general, and machine learning in particular. My informal definition of machine learning is any system that makes some sort of prediction. I feel that every developer, IT engineer, and tech manager should have a basic knowledge of data science and machine learning, and attending these talks will help provide that knowledge.


ITDC: What should attendees expect to be able to take away from your sessions?

James: After attending the "Introduction to R and Microsoft R Server" session, attendees will understand what data science is, know what the R language can (and cannot) do, and learn how R will be integrated into Microsoft products such as Visual Studio and SQL Server. After attending the "Introduction to Azure Machine Learning" session, attendees will learn what machine learning is, understand the Hello World example of machine learning, and have all the knowledge needed to get started with Microsoft's Azure Machine Learning services and tools.


ITDC: What is your primary reason to be excited about IT/Dev Connections?

James: This will be my 12th year at IT/Dev Connections. It's one of my favorite events. I really enjoy talking to other attendees, and I always learn useful things that I can bring back to my work and put into use immediately. There's always a ton of energy at the IT/Dev Connections events in Las Vegas and I go back to work with my intellectual batteries recharged. In my younger days, I'd also return to work with the remnants of a week-long hangover, but I've put those days behind me. Mostly.


ITDC: What is the one key technology you believe is changing the technology industry right now?

James: For me, it's not so much about a specific technology, but instead it's about adding intelligence to software systems using machine learning. This can be accomplished using almost any general purpose programming language (my favorites are C#, Java, PowerShell, and Python), or specialized tools such as R, Azure Machine Learning, CNTK, Octave, and so on.


ITDC: Assuming attendees want to know, what’s your favorite, non-technical hobby or pastime? What’s one thing that totally irks you.

James: Hmm, my parole officer asked me not to discuss my non-technical hobbies. Just kidding. I'm a huge fan of science fiction movies, especially those from the 1950s and 60s. I really can't think of anything that totally torques me off. There's just too many cool things in the world to focus on. Well, OK, functional programming languages like LISP irritate me to no end!



IT/Dev Connections runs from October 10 – October 13, at the ARIA Resort in Las Vegas. IT/Dev Connections has been designed specifically for IT, DevOps, and Developers. You can read all about what IT/Dev Connections offers you HERE.

And, there's still time to register!  Here's some important resources to check out:


Topic Tracks

Full Sessions Catalog

Pre-conference Workshops

Travel and Lodging Information


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