Pete Warden

Pete Warden

Areas of Expertise:

  • Visualization
  • Hadoop
  • Big Data
Pete Warden is the founder of the OpenHeatMap project, writer of the Data Source Handbook for O'Reilly, a regular contributor to ReadWriteWeb, and a consultant to the New York Times. With 14 years experience building large-scale data processing solutions, including five as a senior engineer at Apple, Pete has been on the frontlines of Big Data, using, writing about, and contributing code to tools like Redis, MongoDB and Hadoop. He believes these services radically change what's possible, and speaks to audiences around the country about how they can do amazing things with their own data.

Big Data Glossary Big Data Glossary
by Pete Warden
September 2011
Print: $19.99
Ebook: $16.99

Data Source Handbook Data Source Handbook
by Pete Warden
February 2011
Print: $29.99
Ebook: $14.99

An Introduction to MapReduce with Pete Warden An Introduction to MapReduce with Pete Warden
by Pete Warden
June 2011
Video: $69.99

Visualizing Shared, Distributed Data Visualizing Shared, Distributed Data
by Roman Stanek, Pete Warden
March 2011

Pete blogs at:

Pete Warden, US Citizen!

June 11 2014

I’m very proud and excited to be taking my oath of allegiance this morning, the final step to becoming a US citizen after thirteen years of calling this country my home. To mark the occasion, my girlfriend Joanne wanted to interview me to answer some pressing questions about exactly why… read more

Why is everyone so excited about deep learning?

June 10 2014

Photo by Narisa Yesterday a friend emailed, asking “What’s going on with deep learning? I keep hearing about more and more companies offering it, is it something real or just a fad?“. A couple of years ago I was very skeptical of the hype that had emerged around the whole… read more

Deep learning on the Raspberry Pi!

June 09 2014

Photo by Clive Darra I’m very pleased to announce that I’ve managed to port the Deep Belief image recognition SDK to the Raspberry Pi! I’m excited about this because it shows that even tiny, cheap devices are capable of performing sophisticated computer vision tasks. I’ve talked a lot about how object detection is going… read more

How I teach computers to think

June 06 2014

Photo by Kit Yesterday I was suddenly struck by a thought – I used to be a coder, now I teach computers to write their own programs. With the deep belief systems I’m using for computer vision, I spend most of my time creating an environment that allows the machines to decide… read more

Five short links

May 29 2014

Picture by H. Michael Karshis The spread of American slavery – A compelling use of animated maps to get across the fact that slavery was spreading and dominating the places it existed, right up until the Civil War. A map that matters, because it punctures the idea that slavery would… read more

Everything is a sensor for everything else

May 14 2014

Photo by Paretz Partensky “Everything is a sensor for everything else“ I love this quote from David Weinberger because it captures an important change that’s happening right now. Information about the real world used to be scarce and hard to gather, and you were lucky if you had one way to measure… read more

Why fixing the privacy problem needs politics, not engineering

May 09 2014

Photo by Canales I just returned from a panel at UC Berkeley’s DataEdge conference on “How surveillants think“. I was the unofficial spokesman for corporate surveillance, since not many startup people are willing to talk about how we’re using the flood of new data that people are broadcasting about themselves.… read more

Five short links

May 07 2014

Photo by Faraz GrubHub’s Phasmid Websites – The latest evolution of websites that appear to be official, but are actually set up by a third-party to benefit from traffic. As the costs of hosting a site keeps dropping, there will be more and more of these competing for attention. Long-term this… read more

Hiking “Round the Mountain”, Tongariro National Park

May 05 2014

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to head to New Zealand for KiwiFoo and a few other work meetings. I only knew I’d be going about a month ahead of time, but I wanted to fit in a few days backpacking after the conference. After some research, I settled… read more

Five short links

May 04 2014

Photo by Koeb Right-sizing precision – A proposal to add more flexibility to floats by allowing the exponent and mantissa to be variable-length. The precision can reflect the believed accuracy of the value, which is useful information to have around. I’ve been doing a lot of neural network optimization recently… read more

The DeepBelief SDK now works with OpenCV

May 02 2014

Photo by Richard Almond One of the most-requested features for the DeepBelief object recognition SDK has been integration with OpenCV. We’re actually heavy users of the framework ourselves at Jetpac, and so I’m pleased to say that it’s now easy to use it with DeepBelief! Another frequent request was desktop support, and… read more

DeepBeliefSDK now works on Android

April 25 2014

Photo by Aidan When I first released the DeepBeliefSDK for iOS devices, one of the top requests was for an Android version. I’m pleased to say, after some serious technical wrestling, you can now use the image recognition library in your own Android apps! Just download the github repository and run the Android sample… read more

My Foo survival tips

April 16 2014

A classroom lion from KiwiFoo One of the joys of being involved in the O’Reilly world is the occasional chance to attend one of their Foo (Friend Of O‘Reilly) events. These tend to be invite-only unconferences, with the mothership FooCamp happening at the Sebastopol HQ, and other topic or region… read more

How to add a brain to your smart phone

April 08 2014

[Update - You can now download the app for your iPhone!] I am totally convinced that deep learning approaches to hard AI are going to change our world, especially when they’re running on cheap networked devices scattered everywhere. I’m a believer because I’ve seen how good the results can be on… read more

Why deep belief matters so much

March 19 2014

If you’re a programmer who reads the Internet, you’ll have heard of deep belief networks. Google loves them, Facebook just hired one of the pioneers to lead a new group, and they win Kaggle competitions. I’ve been using deep belief … read more

How to analyze 100 million images for $624

December 09 2013

Jetpac is building a modern version of Yelp, using big data rather than user reviews. People are taking more than a billion photos every single day, and many of these are shared publicly on social networks. We analyze these pictures to … read more

How to create a visualization

February 13 2012

Creating a visualization requires more than just data and imagery. Pete Warden outlines the process and actions that drove his new Facebook visualization project. read more

3 ideas you should steal from HubSpot

June 14 2011

HubSpot's location (near Boston) and its target market (small businesses) may keep it under the radar of Silicon Valley, but the company's approach to data products and customer empowerment are worthy of attention. read more

Lessons of the Victorian data revolution

May 23 2011

Examples from the Victorian era show that if we're going to improve the world with data, it's absolutely essential we stay grounded in reality. read more

Why you can't really anonymize your data

May 17 2011

Because we now have so much data at our disposal, any dataset with a decent amount of information can be matched against identifiable public records. To keep datasets available, we must acknowledge that foolproof anonymization is an illusion. read more

Why the term "data science" is flawed but useful

May 09 2011

While formal boundaries and professional criteria for "data science" remain undefined, here's why we should keep using the term. read more

The iPhone tracking story, one week later

April 27 2011

Apple announces fixes and sheds more light on location data. Plus, a look at some of the reporting and potential applications that have popped up. read more

Additional iPhone tracking research

April 24 2011

The iPhone tracking story led to a host of related investigations. Here's a look at some of the latest developments. read more

iPhone tracking: The day after

April 22 2011

The iPhone tracking story published here a few days ago struck an unexpected nerve. Here's a selection of the most interesting immediate reactions. read more

Will data be too cheap to meter?

February 08 2011

The data acquisition process should be increasingly automatic, and so increasingly cheap. I'm hoping for a world where information producers are paid for extracting value from that data. read more

4 free data tools for journalists (and snoops)

January 06 2011

You no longer have to be a technical specialist to find exciting and surprising data. In this excerpt from Pete Warden's ebook, "Where are the bodies buried on the web? Big data for journalists," Pete looks at four services that reveal underlying information about web pages and domains. read more

Webcast: How to Get Started with Deep Learning in Computer Vision
July 24, 2014
In this webcast Pete Warden will walk through some popular open-source tools from the academic world, and show you step-by-step how to process images with them.

"Data Source Handbook by Pete Warden is new, fresh, and covers many different interfaces that give you access to cool stuff...This book is very current, and if you get an electronic version that you can cut and paste from, you can, well, cut and paste from it and get up to speed even faster. And no Post-Its. You can interface with Google Books, various movie databases, and all sorts of other things. I highly recommend it."
--Greg Laden,