#7: Fernando Perez — Creating IPython, Founding NumFOCUS, & The Stories Behind It All

Episode 7 — Fernando Perez

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“[In my early years, I made some painful mistakes in learning that] the quality of human character of the people around you is as important, if not more important, than their technical accomplishments. Choose your mentors accordingly.” – Fernando Perez

Fernando Perez is best-known as the creator of IPython and co-founder of Project Jupyter: a set of open-source data science tools that some may consider to be the equivalent of the bat & ball to the sport of baseball. Today, you really can’t play the game of data science without Jupyter Notebooks and our guest today is one of Jupyter’s leads and originators (see here for the rest of the amazing team).

Fernando is also an Assistant Professor in Statistics at UC Berekely, Researcher at the Berekely Institute for Data Science, and Founding Board Member of the NumFOCUS foundation — the community that creates the SciPy stack, along with virtually every other notable open source data science tool out there.

This conversation was recorded in-person with Fernando in his office on UC Berekely’s campus, and it turned out to be the most humanizing, energizing, and down-to-earth interview I’ve had so far.

Some of the many topics we covered include:

  • what Fernando wanted to be while growing up in Medellin (Me-de-jean), Colombia
  • the function that formal education played in his learning of data science
  • the story behind IPython and Project Jupyter and it’s evolution over the past 10 years
  • lessons learned about technical competence and human character from his mentors over the years
  • what a “computational narrative” means to him and why it’s principles are key to data storytelling
  • Fernando’s experience teaching a 650-student course (part of a pair of courses that are the largest of it’s kind) as part of the Berekely Institute of Data Science

Enjoy the show!

Show Notes: https://ajgoldstein.com/podcast/ep6/ 

Fernando’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/fperez_org

AJ’s Twitter: www.twitter.com/ajgoldstein393/

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Enjoy!