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13 South African Data Science & Machine Learning Meetup Groups To Join

November 20, 2018 at 1:00 PM

Meetup (www.meetup.com) was founded in 2002 and is an online service used to organise groups that host in-person events for people with similar interests. A social networking tool, unlike any other, Meetup, has more than 35 million users in 180 countries. In South Africa, there are many meetups organised for various interests. Of course, our interests span data science, machine learning and AI, so we took the time to put together a (non-comprehensive) list of the groups who organise meetups that we (and hopefully you) find of interest. We hope you make it out to one of these groups meetups soon!

Meetup groups in Cape Town

R-Ladies Cape Town

Where: https://www.meetup.com/rladies-cape-town/

What they’re about: R-Ladies Cape Town is part of R-Ladies Global and was founded to celebrate and promote gender diversity in the R community.

This group is mainly aimed at female and female-identifying persons but is open to all. However, leadership roles remain reserved for female and female-identifying persons.

Frequency of meetups: Monthly

Number of members (at time of publishing): 395 members

Data Viz Meetup

Where: https://www.meetup.com/Data-Viz-Meetup/

What they’re about: The Data Viz Meetup is a community of data visualisation professionals in South Africa. The Meetup is the gathering of great minds! You will find designers, statisticians, analysts, programmers, data architects and all sorts of other amazing people from across the industry. We explore the full range of possibilities for how to convert raw data into visible, shareable insights.

Frequency of meetups: Monthly

Number of members (at time of publishing): 267 members

Cape Town Deep Learning

Where: https://www.meetup.com/Cape-Town-deep-learning/

What they’re about: This group is about exploring deep learning (Neural Networks in the field of A.I. / Machine Learning). People who have a background in Neural Networks, share their understanding of Deep Belief Networks, Share Articles, software, help configure open source code get everybody in this group up to date.

This meeting is not about: B.I., coding for the fun of it, general Machine Learning, Deep Learning is hard because the technology is bleeding edge and goes beyond standard Machine Learning and libraries that use the GPU are required.

Frequency of meetups: Infrequently

Number of members (at time of publishing): 377 members

Cape Town Data Science Meetup

Where: https://www.meetup.com/Cape-Town-Data-Science-Meetup/

What they’re about: This is the meetup group for enthusiasts of data science and applied machine learning. Our meetups are a healthy combination of working code and theory. We aim to not only focus on models but also on tools, implementation and production deployment (sometimes at large scale). We will sport speakers from both academic backgrounds as well as business. We hope to please a broad audience from academics to professionals and from enthusiasts to experienced practitioners.

We are always on the lookout for new topics and interesting speakers. If you have something interesting and sufficiently "data-sciency" to show and/or talk about, please let the organisers know.

Frequency of meetups: Infrequently

Number of members (at time of publishing): 831 members

Cape Town Machine Learning Meetup

Where: https://www.meetup.com/machinelearningcapetown/

What they’re about: This group is for anyone interested in Machine Learning. It is open to everyone, but some meetups will probably not be very interesting to those not interested in programming.

Frequency of meetups: Roughly every 2 months

Number of members (at time of publishing): 659 members

Johannesburg Meetups

Artificial Intelligence ZA

Where: https://www.meetup.com/ArtificialIntelligenceZA/

What they’re about: The Artificial Intelligence South Africa Meetup. Dedicated to helping the technical and business community learn more about AI and get hands-on experience with AI development, research, and execution. Sessions include talks by experienced people, tutorials for beginners, and discussions around pressing topics in AI. Beginners are welcome!

Frequency of meetups: Monthly

Number of members (at time of publishing): 2231 members

Joburg R Users Group (R Programming Language)

Where: https://www.meetup.com/Joburg-R-Users-Group/

What they’re about: We are the local R user group for Johannesburg, South Africa.

Check out our website at https://www.rusergroup.co.za/ and our GitHub repository at https://github.com/rusergroupcoza

What is R? R is a programming language for statistical computing, data analysis and visualisation of data. R is free and open source. Learn more at http://www.r-project.org/.

Our goals: Our purpose is to bring R users together to help each other with common problems, exchange knowledge and share experiences.

Secondly, this group intends to spread the use of R in South Africa and show others (also non-R users) the benefits of using R.

Frequency of meetups: 4 per year

Number of members (at time of publishing): 720 members

Gauteng Python Users Group

Where: https://www.meetup.com/Gauteng-Python-Users-Group/

What they’re about: We are a diverse group of (aspiring) Pythonistas from South Africa's Gauteng province. We host monthly meetups, on weekends/weekdays, where we connect with each other and discuss anything Python related.

Besides our monthly meetups, discussions happen in the GPUG Google Group (https://groups.google.com/forum/#%21forum/gpugsa) & Zatech-Slack (http://zatech.co.za)

Check out our site (https://gautengpug.github.io/) for announcements and blog posts.

Frequency of meetups: Monthly

Number of members (at time of publishing): 1403 members

Data Science Johannesburg

Where: https://www.meetup.com/Data-Science-Johannesburg/

What they’re about: In this meetup, we will discuss the tools, methods and technologies used by many startups and enterprises to analyse large-scale data (big data), obtain predictive and actionable insight, generate business value from data, and exploit business opportunities from data products.

We'll have data scientists talking about topics such as data analytics, distributed data analytics, data mining, machine learning, scalable data analytics, predictive analytics, statistical computing, applied statistics, R language, data visualisation, data science opportunities & challenges, data science learning & training.

Frequency of meetups: +/- 2 per month (sporadic)

Number of members (at time of publishing): 562 members

R-Ladies Johannesburg

Where: https://www.meetup.com/rladies-johannesburg/

What they’re about: R-Ladies Johannesburg welcomes members of all R proficiency levels, whether you're a new or aspiring R user, or an experienced R programmer interested in mentoring, networking & expert upskilling. Our non-profit, civil society community is designed to develop our members' R skills & knowledge through social, collaborative learning & sharing. Supporting minority identity access to STEM skills & careers, the Free Software Movement, and contributing to the global R community!

A local chapter of R-Ladies Global, R-Ladies Johannesburg exists to promote gender diversity in the R community worldwide. We are pro-actively inclusive of queer, trans, and all minority identities, with additional sensitivity to intersectional identities. Our priority is to provide a safe community space for anyone identifying as a minority gender who is interested in and/or working with R. As a founding principle, there is no cost or charge to participate in any of our R-Ladies communities around the world.

We are part of the Global R-Ladies group.

Frequency of meetups: Monthly

Number of members (at time of publishing): 157 members

Johannesburg Data Literacy Meetup

Where: https://www.meetup.com/Johannesburg-Data-Literacy-Meetup/

What they’re about: Anyone that is struggling with the interpretation of data and visualisations.

What is data literacy? Data literacy is the ability to read, work with, analyse and argue with data regardless of your role, skill level, or the BI tools you use. Improving data literacy hones your decision-making skills. You learn to ask the right questions of your data, interpret your findings and take informed action.

Frequency of meetups: TBD, this is a new group.

Number of members (at time of publishing): 53 members

Meetups in Durban

Open Data Durban Meetup

Where: https://www.meetup.com/Open-Data-Durban-Meetup/

What they’re about: This is a meetup for anyone interested in open data, data science, and data journalism in Durban, South Africa.

Open Data Durban is a civic technology lab that implements and advocates for open data, open government, and civic technology through projects, events, workshops, and dataquests. We work with civic technology partners such as Code for South Africa and code for Africa, as well as local partners and stakeholders such as eThekwini Municipality and Urban Earth.

Any level of technical ability is welcome; all that is required is a desire to see Durban Data liberated.

Frequency of meetups: Infrequently

Number of members (at time of publishing): 527 members

Durban Artificial Intelligence Meetup

Where: https://www.meetup.com/Durban-Artificial-Intelligence-Meetup/

What they’re about: This group is for anyone interested in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. No previous experience required. I have started this group to get all Durban AI enthusiasts together, looking forward to meeting you.

Frequency of meetups: TBD, this is a new group.

Number of members (at time of publishing): 112 members

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