Open Source at Bloomberg

BIDS Data Science Lecture


November 7, 2018
1:30pm to 3:00pm
190 Doe Library
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Kevin Fleming will be giving a talk at 1:30 PM at BIDS (190 Doe Library) about the open source and open technology work they do at Bloomberg. This will be followed by a panel discussion (2:15-3:00 PM), which will touch on topics such as the challenges and opportunities that present themselves when contributing to and relying on open source software.

1:30-3:00 PM  Lecture

Bloomberg began engaging with the open source community in 2012, and our involvement has grown to include hundreds of people across our global engineering workforce (over 5,000 at this time, and still growing). We publish tools created at Bloomberg, and we contribute to dozens of projects. In some areas especially relevant to our infrastructure needs, our engineers have become project leaders and committers, and in the Apache Lucene/Solr project a member of our team was given the privilege of joining the Project Management Committee. 

We take a very pragmatic approach to adoption of open source software, choosing it for our infrastructure needs even when the available software will only meet 80% of our requirements: we'd rather extend the software to provide the other 20% than use a proprietary, closed-source solution. We also encourage contributions across our entire engineering organization, and at least three hundred members of our team have provided code, documentation, tests, or other improvements to projects across the spectrum.

Since 2013, we've also hosted Open Source Day/Weekend events, where we provide a venue, food, power, Internet access, and mentors, and bring together 20-80 (or more) of our employees, local community members, and students, to 'sprint' on open issues in an open source project. To date the projects that have benefited include Git, Clang/LLVM, Eclipse, Python, Perl, Pandas/NumPy/SciPy/Matplotlib, and more.

Our open source involvement extends to collaboration with academia as well, both by funding research which produces new (or enhanced) libraries, and by funding teams who directly create and extend projects that are relevant to our products, including Project Jupyter and JupyterLab.

2:15-3:00 PM  Panel Discussion

Panelists will discuss the challenges and opportunities that present themselves when contributing to and relying on open source software.  Panels members, in addition to Kevin, include:

  • Kevin Fleming - Open Source Community Coordinator, Bloomberg
  • Olivia Angiuli - PhD Student, Statistics
  • Margo Boenig-Lipstin - Human Contexts and Ethics Instructor, Division of Data Sciences
  • Stéfan van der Walt - Researcher and Open Source Developer, Berkeley Institute for Data Science


Kevin Fleming

Open Source Community Coordinator, Bloomberg

Kevin P. Fleming has 25+ years of programming experience, with every major programming language. Industry experience includes traditional client/server database applications, open source messaging and networking, and mainframe operating systems. Kevin's primary skill is producing solutions that use resources effectively through problem analysis and solution design.

A member of the worldwide open source community for nearly twenty years, Kevin most recently was the technical architect for the Asterisk and Asterisk Scalable Communications Framework open source communications projects.

Since late 2012, he has been the open source and open technology community coordinator at Bloomberg in New York. His role encompasses all forms of technology community engagement: open source software publication/contribution/consumption, conference sponsorship and presentations, standards body participation, and much more. He speaks regularly on subjects related to enterprise involvement in open source software, and advocates for college/university student engagement in open source projects of all kinds.