Grakn Cosmos 2020: A Recap
We still can’t believe that on 6–7 February we held our first user conference. Over 200 attendees and 33 speakers came together to celebrate the work of our global community. We’re so incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved together.
We’ve worked hard to make this happen. After seeing our Grakn community grow for many years, it was time they had their own space to come together and celebrate everyone’s achievements.
The work being done on Grakn is so inspiring. We’ve seen our community use Grakn in drug discovery pipelines, to build autonomous vehicles, and to fight cyber crime. Grakn Cosmos brought all these people together, finally giving them a platform to learn from one another. For example, one CTO confessed how one session gave their team the exact model they needed for what they’re building, while others were excited to learn how different industries were building cutting-edge software. We also saw new collaborations started between speakers and attendees, and one person even told me they fell in love with Graql!
Listening to all these stories makes us want to push even harder than we did before.
We’ve dreamt of bringing everyone together for quite some time. After organising close to 100 community events worldwide and connecting with thousands of engineers, we felt it was the right time to do this. So, to everyone who participated in Grakn Cosmos, thank you. Thank you so much for being a part of this pioneering community. If you couldn’t make it, don’t worry, there will be more Grakn Cosmos in the future.
In this blog post, let me share my experience at Grakn Cosmos 2020.
The conference was due to start on Thursday. The night before, we invited all the speakers for some drinks with our team. They had flown 1000s of miles to be here, like Suyog from India, Denis and Sanchita from the USA, Tanja from Germany and Carlos from Peru, to name a few. We wanted to give them the warmest of welcomes, and what a better way to do this than at a traditional English pub.
When we got to the pub, there was an energy that is hard to describe, only in that we’d never had so many committed users of our technology in the same room. To see them chatting like old friends, discussing long resolved bugs, face to face for the first time, was heart warming to say the least. In particular, our team got to hear first hand how their work is impacting the life of others.
Haikal kicked off Grakn Cosmos on Thursday morning, setting the tone for the next two days. There was no going back now. To see over 200 attendees, all listening to Haikal explain the history behind Grakn was exhilarating. We worked so hard to get to this point, and to see all these passionate users of Grakn was breathtaking.
My Own Keynote
After lunch, it was my turn to speak. We took a stab at comparing SQL to Graql. Personally, we love the origin story of SQL and the relational model, and although we’ve spoken at many of our community events, this was the first time speaking in front of such a big audience, we were quite excited!
Sessions on Technologies Built Using Grakn
We had some incredible sessions, the range of speakers was enormous, with talks on: life sciences, financial services, cyber security, robotics, NLP, data management, blockchain and more.
- Building a Cyber Threat Intelligence Knowledge Management System with Grakn: This was the first session after Haikal’s keynote, delivered by our good friends Samuel and Julien. When we went upstairs to join the session, the room was packed. The sheer number of the audience’s questions, at the end of the session, demonstrated how interested everyone was in their talk.
- Towards Leveraging Open-Access Clinical Trials: We were grateful to Sanchita for delivering this particular session. She flew all the way from San Francisco and the project she’s working on, ImmGrakn, is close to my heart because of the potential it has to impact the world. ImmGrakn is a crowd-sourced clinical trials knowledge base in Grakn, and we’ve been supporting this work by providing technical guidance where needed.
- Knowledge Graphs in Robotic Systems: There’s a sizeable team at TNO building autonomous vehicles with Grakn and they’ve been very active in our community. In the past they’ve gone through the Grakn Academy and they even presented at our last Amsterdam Grakn Meetup. So we were beyond pleased to see their work shared with everyone at Cosmos as we know it will inspire countless others.
- Modelling Biology with Grakn: This was another great talk, delivered by Eagle Genomics who were one of our first evangelists. The ontologies they have created of biological processes, in Grakn, are extremely impressive and we know it inspired many researchers and scientists in the audience.
Where Are We Taking This Community
Daniel kicked off day two with a talk on the state of the Grakn Community. The past few years we’ve built a community of almost 6.5k members on Meetup and organised close to 100 community events. It’s something that we’re extremely proud of.
Daniel announced some changes we’ve made to our online platforms — moving from Slack to Discord for example. What excites me the most was the announcement of a community programme to reward our most loyal community members. This is being rolled out very soon so stay tuned!
How Can we Complete a Knowledge Graph?
Ever since James released the first version of KGLIB, we’ve seen first hand the tremendous interest within the Machine Learning community for this project. So we could tell people were excited about his talk. My personal highlight was when he demonstrated how his learner improved its performance from 0.76 to a whopping 0.94 by simply enabling the reasoner.
What’s Next for Grakn Cosmos
Many asked me if the plan was to make this an annual recurring event in London. And the answer is — yes. But soon we’re also going to announce Grakn Cosmos in San Francisco! So stay tuned.
To everyone who attended, spoke, helped us make the first Grakn Cosmos a smash, we want to say thank you. Thank you for being part of the first ever Grakn user conference (and there will only ever be one first!). It’s our immense privilege to create technology that enables you to build software that changes the world, and it’s your belief in us that motivates us to keep doing what we love to do.
So on that note, we do hope to see you in our community channels. And if you haven’t already, join us via this link and speak to us today!