DISC Unconference

DISC Unconference at PyData NYC 2017

Diversity & Inclusion in Scientific Computing (DISC)

Wed. Nov. 29th - Thurs. Nov. 30th

Application Deadline: Oct. 8th (Sunday)
Participant Selection Notifications: Oct. 16th (Monday)
Participant Acceptance Deadline: Oct. 22nd (Sunday)

NumFOCUS recognizes that the open source data science community is currently highly homogenous. We believe that diverse contributors and community members produce better science and better projects. NumFOCUS’s Diversity & Inclusion in Scientific Computing (“DISC”) Program strives to help create a more diverse community through initiatives and programming devoted to increasing participation by and inclusion of underrepresented people. As part of the DISC Program, we are proud to announce the inaugural DISC Unconference at PyData NYC 2017.

DISC Unconference Mission:

The DISC Unconference mission is to equip participants to take action to help create a more diverse and inclusive open source scientific computing community. The Unconference strives to generate practical and scalable solutions, identify best practices, and share knowledge that welcomes, encourages, and fosters participation in our community by people of all backgrounds and identities. The DISC Unconference empowers change-makers to make change in their communities.

Participant Selection:

We are looking for participants who want to be change-makers, whether or not they self-identify as part of an underrepresented group. (We welcome participation from white men, for example.)

Due to the limitations of an unconference-style format as well as the limitations of our venue space, we will select 50 participants for the inaugural DISC Unconference. Potential attendees submit a short application outlining their interests and motivation for participating.

There is no registration fee for selected participants. We are actively seeking PyData sponsors to help provide funds to offset participants’ travel and lodging costs; we will update the website with this information once sponsors are confirmed.

Participant Responsibilities:

We ask that selected participants complete their registration no later than Oct. 22nd (Sunday).

The 50 selected participants will co-create the agenda for the unconference in advance, generating potential topics and sessions in conversation with their fellow Unconference attendees in the 4-5 weeks leading up to the event.

The Unconference organizers will help facilitate the process of crafting the event agenda by helping to identify themes and sort through participant-generated ideas. The Unconference agenda will consist of large and/or small-group discussions, working sessions, and potentially invited talks. Other possible session formats include: lightning talks, sprints, and tutorials.

Participants will assume collective ownership over the final format and agenda of the Unconference. Participants expect one another to arrive at the event well informed and prepared to contribute.

Unconference Agenda (8:30am-5:30pm on Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 29-30):

  • The Unconference prioritizes project ideas and discussion topics that can be thoroughly explored within the time constraints of the conference.

  • The Unconference prioritizes project ideas and discussion topics that build upon prior work, for example the work being undertaken by the NumFOCUS DISC Committee.

  • The Unconference prioritizes sessions and projects that will generate resources that can be distributed and shared with the wider community at the close of the event (e.g. documentation, how-to’s, project plans, small pieces of working code).

Unconference Organizing Committee:

(All are members of the NumFOCUS DISC Committee.)

  • Gina Helfrich (NumFOCUS Communications Director; DISC Program Manager)
  • Julia Meinwald (Open Source Coordinator, Two Sigma Investments)
  • Reshama Shaikh (Data Scientist; Organizer for NYC Women in Machine Learning & Data Science)

Sample Topics for the DISC Unconference:

How to set up and manage a “Welcome, newcomers” channel for your project/community.

Code a package/script to remove identifying information from CFP submissions.

Create a system to mark open issues on a particular project as beginner-friendly.

How to handle a Code of Conduct violation in your project/community.

Write documentation explaining how to give friendly and helpful feedback on a rejected Pull Request.

“NumFOCUS 311” — Design a forum so folks in STEM can reach out to NumFOCUS to help answer their questions on diversity, or to share advice or anecdotes (whether anonymously or not). (Sort of like the "NYC 311" phone line where residents can call with any questions and then be directed to appropriate place.)


If I participate in the DISC Unconference, can I still attend PyData NYC?

  • If you wish to attend PyData NYC talks, you must register separately.

  •  If you attend only the DISC Unconference, you do not need to register for PyData NYC as well.

  • You must apply separately for a Diversity Scholarship to PyData NYC talks.

  • You should be able to attend PyData NYC Talks, Keynotes, and Invited Speaker Talks on Monday & Tuesday 11/27-28. The DISC Unconference takes place Wed. 11/29 - Thurs 11/30. Tutorials run concurrently with the DISC Unconference, however, so you would not be able to do both tutorials and the Unconference.

  • Early bird registration for PyData NYC ends September 29, but DISC applicants will not be notified of acceptance status until October 16.  If you want the reduced registration price for PyData Talks and/or Tutorials, you'll need to register before your DISC acceptance status is known. You may cancel your PyData registration for a full refund through November 20.

I don’t identify as someone underrepresented in open source scientific computing. Is this event for me?

  • Yes! 

  • The DISC Unconference seeks participants from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. We are particularly hopeful that experienced and knowledgeable members of the open source scientific computing community will apply to participate.

When will I know if I’ve been selected to participate?

  • Participant Selection Notifications will go out no later than Monday, Oct. 16th.

I’ve never participated in an Unconference before, what should I expect?

  • Every unconference event is unique, but the shared feature is that the agenda is shaped by the participants. Here’s an example of one person’s experience who was new to the unconference format, at rOpenSci Unconf (a NumFOCUS sponsored project).

Is there a cost to participate?

  • There is no registration fee for selected participants. We are actively seeking PyData sponsors to help provide funds to offset participants’ travel and lodging costs; we will update the website with this information once sponsors are confirmed.

Other Questions?

Email [email protected]

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