Meet speakers for San Francisco edition

François Chollet

François Chollet is the Creator of Keras (, a leading deep learning API, and author of the textbook “Deep Learning with Python”. He is also a machine learning researcher at Google Brain and a contributor to the TensorFlow machine learning platform.

Vladimir Iglovikov

Kaggle Grandmaster

Vladimir got his Ph.D. in Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics at UC Davis. After graduation he was developing Energy Disaggregation algorithms that were a combination of the signal processing and machine learning techniques, working as a data scientist at Bidgely. After this, he moved to San Francisco to work in TrueAccord where he was mainly focussed on building recommender systems. Currently, Vladimir is applying Deep Learning techniques to the computer vision problems at the Lyft’s Level5 Engineering Centre that is focussed on the development of the self-driving cars.

Dmitry Larko

Kaggle Grandmaster

Dmitry works as a Senior Data Scientist at He’s main area of interest is automatic discovering and building of machine learning pipelines (AutoML).
He started his Kaggle career 6 years ago and still enjoying each and every competition he joins.

Carlos Huertas (NxGTR)

Kaggle Grandmaster

Carlos Huertas, best known as “NxGTR” in Kaggle, is a computer engineer with a MS on NLP and a PhD in AI. He is currently a Senior Machine Learning Engineer for Instacart working on customer growth. On his free time he has competed in over a 100 competitions in Kaggle

Pavel Pleskov

Kaggle Grandmaster

Pavel graduated from Lomonosov Moscow State University (2010) and New Economic School (2012). For a year, he worked as a financial consultant at Oliver Wyman. Then he began to build algorithms in the high-frequency trading industry (HFT). For two years, he was a co-founder and CBDO of ThunderBid. After that, he found his calling in Data Science. In a year Pavel became the 2nd in Russia and the 4th in the world in the competition ranking at Kaggle. Since then, he was professionally participating and helping to organize online competitions and hackathons in DS / ML. He is currently working as a Research Data Scientist at PointAPI – Cambridge based NLP startup.

Pavel is a huge fan of travelling, motorcycles, and kitesurfing.

Bojan Tunguz

Kaggle Grandmaster

Bojan was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina, which his family fled for Croatia during the war. He came to the US as a high school exchange student, and manage to realize his dream of studying Physics. He hold a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Illinois, and a M.S. in Applied Physics and B.S. in Physics from Stanford University. He’s worked in academia for a few years, but for various personal and professional reasons decided to leave it. A few years ago he stumbled upon the wonderful world of Data Science and Machine Learning, and feel like he has discovered his second vocation in life. He has been on Kaggle for three and a half years, and he believes it’s the best platform that he’s ever come across for learning new skills. It has been an invaluable tool in his ongoing development as a data scientist.

He is a a Data Scientist at, where he works on various internal and external projects. Highlights of the projects and problems that he has worked on include used cars sales price predictions, insurance claims predictions, credit underwriting models, and restaurant classification based on user-generated images. He is particularly passionate and interested in NLP problems.

Bojan has a wonderful wife and three amazing little boys that keep him constantly busy and amused. He is a voracious reader, is passionate about tinkering with all sorts of tools and gadgets, loves digital photography, and really enjoys hiking in the woods.

Jeremy Walthers

Kaggle Grandmaster

Jeremy is a Kaggle Grandmaster and winner of more than $500,000 in machine learning competitions. He lives with his wife in the Washington DC area and works at DataLab USA where he helps optimize the marketing efforts of some familiar names in insurance and finance.

Mike Kim

Kaggle Grandmaster

Michael Kim is a Kaggle Grandmaster who is currently working on
telematics to improve insurance technologies.

Bing Xu

Kaggle Grandmaster

Bing is currently an Applied Research Scientist at Facebook AI. He was a Kaggle Grandmaster (2012 – 2015). He was early contributor of XGBoost and creator of XGBoost.jl (2014), co-creator of CXXNet (2013), MXNet (2015), creator of MXNet-Mobile (2015) and MXNet.js (2015). In deep learning research, his major contribution includes: the original Generative Adversary Net (GAN) and some studies on neural network activations.

Valliappa Lakshmanan (Lak)

Lak is a Tech Lead for Data and Machine Learning at Google Cloud where he enables customers of Google Cloud to be successful with Big Data and Machine Learning products through courses, consulting, evangelism, and open-source examples. He is the author of Data Science on GCP (O’Reilly) and Machine Learning on GCP (Coursera). He founded Google’s Advanced Solutions Lab ML Immersion program. Before Google, Lak was a Director of Data Science at Climate Corporation and a Research Scientist at NOAA. Follow him on Twitter at @lak_gcp, read articles by him on Medium, and see more details at

Karthik Ramachandran

Karthik is a Product Manager on the Cloud AI team. He focuses on AI Factory Notebooks, Deep Learning VMs, and Kubeflow Fairing. Previously, he was a software engineer, engineering manager, and product manager at a number of different organizations including In-Q-Tel’s Lab41, Premise Data, and Karthik has a Master’s degree from Georgetown University; and a bachelor’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University.

Yun Lu

Yun Lu is a software engineer in the Cloud AI team at Google, where the group strives to deliver the best cloud machine learning platform to the data science community. Yun currently focuses on JupyterLab and Deep Learning virtual machines. Before joining Cloud AI, Yun used to work in CPU design and semiconductor photolithography industries. Outside of work, Yun is a marathon runner, he travels worldwide to participate in marathon matches.

Kiri Nichol

Kaggle Master

After a PhD in physics and postdoctoral work in medical imaging, Dr. Kiri Nichol got into machine learning by tackling problems on Kaggle, attaining master status on her 8th competition. Kiri has worked as a data scientist and machine learning engineer/researcher. Her current research interests involve using unsupervised methods to reduce the amount of labeled data needed for deep learning. In 2013 Kiri was a finalist in’s competition to create an algorithm to fake a Mondrian painting and a film clip about Kiri’s algorithm has been exhibited in the Gemeentemuseum in the Hague. 

Rand Xie

Kaggle Master

Rand Xie is a software engineer in Google Cloud AI and has been a Kaggler for more than 2 years. Currently, he mainly works on model serving infrastructure, AI hub and explainability.

Erica Brick

Erica recently joined Kaggle as their Lead User Experience researcher. Her focus is to ensure Kaggle is building user friendly features that meet the needs of Kagglers.

Myles O'Neill

Myles is Kaggle’s Lead User Experience Designer. He is passionate about making Kaggle a fun and approachable place for everyone in the datascience community to work and learn together.

Jasjeet Thind

Jasjeet Thind is the vice president of artificial intelligence at Zillow. His group focuses on machine learning and platforms that power cross-company experiences such as recommendations, search, Zestimates, ads, natural language conversations, and relevance. Prior to Zillow, Jasjeet served as director of engineering at Yahoo, where he built personalization science and platforms that powered Yahoo homepage and verticals such as Yahoo News and Yahoo Sports. Jasjeet holds a BS and master’s degree in computer science from Cornell University.

Andy Martin

Andy Martin manages the Zillow AI Home Valuation research team since 2017. Along with the Zestimate, his group also produces the Rent Zestimate, and related predictive models that help folks in their search for a place to call home. He developed the non-traditional design for the Zillow Prize competition and had the great pleasure of being the main interface between Zillow and the Kaggle community that has developed around Zillow Prize. Prior to joining Zillow in 2014 he worked on the Obama for America digital team working to optimize fundraising and volunteering overall the campaigns digital channels. He has a BS in Informatics from the University of Washington and an MS in Statistics from Stanford.

James Cham

James Cham is a venture capital investor with Bloomberg Beta, a firm focused on investing in the future of work. James invests in companies working on applying machine intelligence to businesses and society. He’s currently invested in companies like Orbital Insight (satellite imaging), Primer (analyst tools), Domino Data Labs (AI model management), and AppZen (expense management). James speaks and writes on the implications of AI for companies, including a landscape of machine intelligence companies ( In the past, he’s been involved in investments with companies like LifeLock, LinkedIn, Twilio, DropCam (now Nest), and Skybox Imaging. James was a software developer and management consultant before he started investing. James lives in Palo Alto. He was previously an investor at Bessemer Venture Partners and Trinity, a management consultant at The Boston Consulting Group, and a software developer. He went to Harvard and MIT.

Quoc Le

Quoc Le is researcher in the Google Brain team. Quoc is currently interested in learning to learn and automated machine learning. Before that, Quoc worked on large scale deep learning, sequence to sequence learning, pretrained language models. He was recognized as a top innovator in 2014 by MIT Tech Review.