.NET Oxford - Machine Learning with a Sprinkle of Async!

Once again, the .NET community in Oxford has amazed us with how awesome they are, with another almost full-house at our second meetup last week! Again bringing an approximate headcount of around 70 attendees, which is pretty incredible for such a new user group!


Just like in our first event (see my earlier blog post), I started off with a 10 minute introduction talk. This time we made sure that we had a microphone setup, which I personally found made a huge difference. I felt far more comfortable speaking on stage than at our first event - probably a combination of having the microphone, and also doing a couple of other talks since.

In the introduction, we started a "news" section, where we discussed the big Visual Studio 2017 launch; Visual Studio's 20th birthday; and also the ticket availability of the DDD SouthWest Conference in May. We'll try and do this moving forward, where we highlight the main big headlines and announcements since our last meetup.

Frans Lytzen - 'Async in C# Deep Dive'

First up speaking was Frans Lytzen, founder and CTO of New Orbit talking about Async/Await in .NET. However, this wasn't your typical "How to use Async/Await" talk. Hopefully now, we all know and use the async/await functionality. Instead, Frans discussed how it works under the hood - the do's and don'ts, comparing performance of the different ways of doing things, discussing when and why threads are created, and talking about the deadlocks situations. I use async/await all the time, but definitely felt I had learnt a lot from his talk.

His slides from the talk can be found on GitHub here.


Martin Kearn - 'Machine Learning for Muggles'

Next up was Martin Kearn, Technical Evangelist at Microsoft, talking about 'Machine Learning for Muggles'! Demonstrating setting up 'experiments' using Azure Machine Learning Studio, then talking about the various Microsoft Cognitive Services, and showing off some of the more popular APIs, for example: image recognition using the Computer Vision API, emotion detection using the Emotion API, and language recognition using the Language Understanding Intelligence Service.

The resources and links from his talk can be found here.



Corriculo Recruitment

Of course, we couldn't have done it without the fantastic support from our primary sponsor, Corriculo Recruitment. Once again, not only covering the venue's costs, but also going beyond the call of duty with the amount of drinks provided, as well as doing an amazing job introducing guests in and making everyone feel very welcome.



Our secondary sponsor is my own company Everstack Ltd, covering administrative costs and also providing a lot of my own time for organizing and managing .NET Oxford. Everstack provides software development and consultation services. Whilst currently just a company of one (myself), I'd like to start getting the company name recognized in the local community, and .NET Oxford provides a great way of doing this.

Prize Draw!

As part of the introduction talk, we had a couple of small giveaways. One from Elmah.io giving away a 6 month small business licence, and the other from Manning Publications, giving away a free ebook.

The draw was out of everyone who RSVPd to the event - and the winner had to physically be there, otherwise there was a re-draw. To do this, I wrote a little WPF application (available on GitHub). This is just a tile-based Windows app with a tile per attendee (data pulled from the Meetup.com API), and a selected tile would shuffle randomly and eventually stop on the winner.

Congratulations to our two winners - Tom Robinson for winning the Elmah.io 6 month small business licence, and Joanna Giemzik for winning the Manning ebook.

The Next Meetup!!! XAMARIN!!!

Out of all the topics planned for .NET Oxford, Xamarin was certainly one of the top ones on my list! So I'm very excited to announce that our next meetup on June 20th, will be all about Xamarin! With Mike James, Program Manager at Xamarin (now part of Microsoft)! There'll be just one talk at this event, as it's quite a big topic. Make sure you RSVP now, and put it in your diaries - as it's going to be a big one!

See you there!


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