PODCAST: Airbnb, Machine Learning and the Future of Travel



  • AI requires more compute to enable scalable intelligence and insights at rates never seen before, creating a need for new technologies and systems to enable customers to adopt AI
  • VP of Engineering Mike Curtis walks us through how the technology landscape has changed and how Airbnb is using data science and machine learning to revolutionize travel for both guests and hosts

How Airbnb is using machine learning to understanding the value of space, matching guest and hosts, and keep communities safe

When people talk about artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), they tend to make them sound like technologies of a distant future - smarter and more customized versions of everything we use every day. What they may not realize is that early applications of these technologies are already part of today's reality.This week on STACK That, we sit down with Airbnb, a company that is making great strides in their AI journeyin one of the most exciting applications for machine learning -  the travel industry.

"Airbnb has been using machine learning in our products for years," says Mike Curtis, VP of Engineering at Airbnb. "...everything from how we recommend prices to our hosts, understanding the value of their space, to how we do search ranking, and that really comes down to matching between our guest and hosts, as well as all the things we do to detect fraud and keep our communities safe."

AI requires more compute to enable scalable intelligence and insights at rates never seen before, creating a need for new technologies and systems to enable customers' to adopt AI.Some companies don't know where to start with AI, while others are in different phases of their AI journey.

The team at HPE ismaking it realistic for their customers to adopt those technologies today, providing a backbone for customers AI and ML capabilities.We help our customers bydetermining where and when to implement technologies throughout the business, experimenting with those technologies and then enabling full adoption of AI, machine learning and deep learning, through technologies like MDC.

Learn more about how Airbnb is overcoming the challenges of a changing technology landscape, how they used machine learning to revolutionize travel, and what they're most excited about moving forward in this week's podcast below.

Listen and subscribe to the latest episodes of STACK That on our podcast content hub.


Mike Curtis, VP of Engineering at Airbnb

Mike Curtis
has been Vice President of Engineering at Airbnb since February 2013, and his day-to-day includes everything from data science to security to corporate development. Prior to joining the Airbnb team, Mike served as a Director of Engineering at Facebook and VP of Engineering at Yahoo, where he worked on products such as Yahoo Mail. He described the appeal of joining Airbnb as a compelling opportunity to have impact on a small, fast-growing team.


Florian Leibert, Co-Founder & CEO at Mesosphere

Florian Leibert
co-founded Mesosphere in 2013 and currently serves as CEO. Since 2013, The company makes Mesosphere DC/OS, which allows webscale and enterprise companies to quickly deliver containerized, data-intensive applications on any infrastructure. Florian is passionate about building IoT infrastructure and enjoys discussing the benefits of the modern application stack as well as how Mesosphere customers are building world changing technology. He is also the main creator of Marathon, an orchestrator and scheduler that operates on top of the Mesos software. Florian Leibert drove fundraising efforts through four rounds of financing from prominent investors like Khosla Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. In addition to his role at Mesosphere, Florian Leibert serves as an investor with Away and Driftt.

Prior to co-founding Mesosphere, Florian Leibert held engineering leadership positions at prominent internet sites, including Airbnb, Twitter, Ning, and Adknowledge. At age 16, he co-founded online marketplace Knaup Multimedia in Germany.

Byron Reese, CEO & Publisher at Gigaom and CEO at Knowingly

With 25 years as a successful tech entrepreneur, with multiple IPOs and exits along the way, Byron Reese is uniquely suited to comment on the transformative effect of technology on the workplace and on society at large.

As a successful serial entrepreneur and award-winning futurist, Byron balances two unique perspectives. As a futurist, he leads his audience to explore the unprecedented technological changes destined to trigger the dramatic transformation of society. And as an entrepreneur, he shares how to profit from this change while still meeting the practical realities of operating a business.

Speaking across the globe, Byron brings great enthusiasm and talent for deciphering our common destiny and unlocking business opportunities within it. Byron's keynotes and appearances include the PICNIC Festival in Amsterdam, SXSW, the TEDx Austin, Wolfram Data Summit, Spartina, and the IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference, among others.

Byron is also the publisher of Gigaom. A role enhanced by 20 + years' experience building and running successful Internet and software companies. Of the five companies he either started or joined early, two went public, two were sold, and one resulted in a merger.


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