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Principal Data Scientist, Director for Data Science, AI, Big Data Technologies. O’Reilly author on distributed computing and machine learning.​

Natalino leads the definition, design and implementation of data-driven financial and telecom applications. He has previously served as Enterprise Data Architect at ING in the Netherlands, focusing on fraud prevention/detection, SoC, cybersecurity, customer experience, and core banking processes.

​Prior to that, he had worked as senior researcher at Philips Research Laboratories in the Netherlands, on the topics of system-on-a-chip architectures, distributed computing and compilers. All-round Technology Manager, Product Developer, and Innovator with 15+ years track record in research, development and management of distributed architectures, scalable services and data-driven applications.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Looking Back 2016, Looking Forward 2017

2016 has been simply incredible. What you will read next is a summary of my journey last year. It's mostly an open letter to thank all the wonderful people that inspired and supported me in 2016.

Job wise, the year started at ING as enterprise data architect where I followed closely several scrum teams on cutting edge projects such as streaming analytics, fraud and cyber security, api's, data lakes, and predictive analytics. I really would like to thank ING, in particular Henk Kolk, Peter Jacobs, Beate Zwijnenberg, Paul Jacobs, and Ferd Scheepers and so many others which I have met during my last engagements at ING.

My journey has continued in 2016 with Teradata, where I am currently involved in the middle of a huge transformation from products to services, where Teradata is expanding from an EDW vendor to a data-driven solution selling enterprise, where open source, data science, and tailored data architecture are becoming the new "bread and butter" for new business creation. A "thank you" is due to the Teradata team in particular to Sergio Franssen, Head of Professional Services in Benelux and Eric-Jan van Meningen, Global Sales Director and to a great team of awesome data scientists and data engineers.

Along the way, I have enjoyed participating to a number of initiatives: writing blogs and tutorials for the O'Reilly Media Group where I would like to thank Ben Lorica, Paco Nathan, Shannon Cutt, Jenn Webb and so many others for the warm support during the last projects together. Deepening into AI with the Cognitive Finance Group founded by Clara Durondie. Also supporting the Palladium team, thanks to Mohamed El Aref. Last but not least, I have always enjoyed the meetups of the IBM Spark Technology Council, and I would like to thank in particular Robert Thomas, Katharine Kearnan, Remus Lazar and Holden Karau for the great discussion about Spark devs at the IBM spark technology center and pokemons.

Tech evangelism would not be worth this name without a thriving community of crazy coders, mad scientists, and puny hackers, and the many online and life meetup sessions and code sharing events, webinars and hot discussions on the future of Data Computing and Data Science, thank you all for sharing code and ideas! I have learned so much from you all.

Some buddies of mine out there are building some amazing techs so I wish the very best to Edward Kibardin (, Chris Fregly (, Olaf Molenveld (, Gaspare Maria (continua) for keeping up the great work of building AI and Data-Driven solutions on top of bespoken open-source technologies.

Inspiration is a two way street, as the energy and the effort you put into studying, learning and developing ideas comes back as feedback and support from those who follow you. So a big thank you, to you who are reading this right now. It's you that push me to do event better the next time and keep it up the great work.

Technology: What have I learned this year.

2016 has seen me getting even more involved with Spark, both on the Scala and the Python APIs. Next to that, loads of deep learning on my daily diet, in particular Keras and Tensorflow, both on bespoken data sets (CIFAR, MNIST) but also "on the job" on financial, telecom and social data. Another fantastic discovery this year was the Jupyter project as it goes way way further than the bespoken notebook. In particular, I have spent some time on jupyter-powered APIs with the jupiter gateway project. Also notable mention to the Apache Toree project which provides a Spark/Scala kernel to Jupyter, as I consider it probably the best notebook integration available, next to the Spark Notebook of my buddies Andy Petrella and Xavier Tordoir at

Technology wise, this year was the definitely the year of Spark, Flink, Cassandra, ElasticSearch, Akka and Kafka. A lot of great architectures and stacks have be crafted using these building blocks for a variety of use cases and scenarios, such as Finance, Telecom, and HealthTech.

Cloud technologies have also been a revelation for me in 2016, with advances and innovations such as containers-as-a-service, cloud AI/ML services, better virtualization technologies with GPU support and better resource negotiators. Worth mentioning three techs I have enjoyed this year are Docker, Mesos and Kubernetes.

I kept the course on the following, going deeper understanding the techs:

New entries this year:

Public Speaking

It was an incredible year for speaking, and i was honoured to present at some really great events on some of my lifetime passions/topics:

- Data Science - Big Data - Distributed Computing
- Cloud Computing - Streaming Analytics - AI and ML - Predictive APIs

In total I delivered the following during this year:

 - 8 live talks
 - 1 podcasts
 - 4 editorials

 - 6 video's

 - 5 blog posts
 - 483 tech updates on linkedin and twitter
 - 4984 followers on linkedin

Projects on github:
 - deepfun

Some projects and engagements:
 - Big Data and Data Science Strategy in Banking, KSA
 - Streaming Analytics Consulting in Banking, The Netherlands
 - Big Data Consulting in Banking, The Netherlands
 - AI for Banking Services in London, UK

Looking Forward in 2017:

The year to come is the year where Big Data, Streaming Analytics, Data Science and AI/ML will get traction and most likely be adopted by most companies in one way or another. I will be happy to provide consultancy on architectures, tools and algorithms for this new wave of data-driven products. The future is bright, I wish you all a great 2017 and the very best for you next projects!

Closing on, I would like to thank my friends Carlo Canova, Antonios Zagaris, Ghiath Alkadi, Giuseppe Grillo, Enith Vlooswijk, my lovely kids Ryan, Nemo and Maya, my family and friends, Have a great 2017, everybody!

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