PyCon US 2018 Highlights: Quantum computing, blockchains and serverless rule!

4 min read

PyCon Conference 2018, held between May 9 -17 at Cleveland, United States, is one of the largest annual gatherings in the Python programming community. Every year features a range of important announcements and discussions, many of which could have a huge impact on the future of Python.

This year featured discussions on everything from data science to cryptocurrencies. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights.

Quantum Computing

Quantum computing

Quantum computers are turning into reality, 30 years after they were first theorized. Companies such as IBM, Google, Intel, and Microsoft have all jumped into the quantum computing pool by announcing their own quantum devices. Although Quantum computing is still at a very early stage, Python is slowly becoming a de facto language for programming quantum computers due to its vast ecosystem of libraries.

Dr. Ravi Chityala, a Senior Engineer at Elekta Inc, gave an impressive talk on quantum computing while highlighting several caveats that distinguish a traditional and quantum computer. He also demonstrated how to program a quantum computer on stage with Python. Check out the complete presentation here.

Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies


Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are all the rage right now. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin had attracted a lot of attention in the past one year, mostly from people who were trying to make a quick buck. But this trends seems to be settling down. People are shifting their focus to understanding the technology behind cryptocurrencies. This is where Blockchain comes into the picture. What’s important to developers and businesses is how Blockchain can be applied.

The lack of knowledge about how Blockchain works is a barrier that stops many  people entering and exploring the blockchain and cryptocurrency world. The session “Getting Started with Blockchains and Cryptocurrencies in Python” at PyCon conducted by Amirali Sanatinia, aimed to solve this problem by helping them understand the nuts and bolts of Blockchain and embark their journey on this revolutionary technology.

Django 2.0 Unchained

Django is one of the most popular web development frameworks for Python. Last December the Django team released version 2 of the popular server-side framework. Since this was one of the major releases, it was no surprise that Django was a hot topic of discussion at PyCon 2018.

Harry Percival, author of Test-Driven Development with Python, presented a couple of tutorials specifically for Python testers. His tutorial was an introduction to doing Test-Driven Development (TDD) with Django.He shed some light on how automated software testing has moved from being a niche interest to an important new way of thinking about how to optimise automation testing.

Serverless Python

Serverless is the latest phase in the evolution of cloud development; it has recently exploded in terms of popularity. Going serverless lets developers to focus on their core product instead of worrying about managing and operating servers or runtimes, either in the cloud or on-premises. This reduced overhead helps them to achieve the required scale without the overhead of running and managing the fleet of servers.

Since Python is one of the few languages supported by AWS Lambda, developers can leverage it to build fast and cost-effective solutions. In PyCon 2018 we saw some exciting sessions which highlighted the latest developments in Serverless computing. James Saryerwinnie’s tutorial on Building serverless applications with AWS Chalice, sparked the interest of professional developers, while Michael Herman’s tutorial on Going Serverless with OpenFaaS, Kubernetes, and Python was explored how to build and deploy a full-stack application that uses Flask (client-facing app) along with OpenFaaS to handle background processes.

While the list of sessions is long we can only cover so much. One of the most important reasons for the dominating success of Python’s popularity is it’s vibrant community and PyCon is a shining example of that. It truly symbolises how liked minded people come together and share the knowledge to make the software development world a better place to live. You can catch up on all the sessions, tutorials, and events at PyCon 2018 at their official website and their Youtube vlog.

Read Next:

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How to write high quality code in Python: 15+ tips for data scientists and researchers

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