Introducing Coiled’s Dask Community Team

The Coiled Team January 27, 2022

Dask has become the leading tool for scalable computing in Python, used by data professionals across industries and academic institutions. Besides being a powerful library, a key reason for Dask’s success is the lovely community around it. This community of users, contributors, and enthusiasts has built specialized libraries with Dask, developed supporting tools for Dask, created educational material, and so much more, to make Dask what it is today.

The Dask community is also at the core of everything we do here at Coiled. That’s why we’re super excited to share that we’re forming a new team at Coiled to help support the Dask community!

This team, led by Ian Rose, a longtime Dask contributor and the creator of the Dask JupyterLab extension, will focus on making the Dask onboarding experience smoother and help people along their journey to become sophisticated Dask users. Sarah Johnson and Pavithra Eswaramoorthy, Community Engagement Managers at Coiled, will be a part of this new team.

The Dask Community team will steer many initiatives in the coming months, and we’d like to highlight a few in this blog post:

  • Build a unified community support forum on Discourse;
  • Monitor activity and support users on GitHub and Stack Overflow;
  • Organize community events and sprints;
  • Foster conversations with downstream projects.

We’re thrilled to get to work! Do you have thoughts on how we can support your Dask work? Share it with us on Discourse!

Dask Discourse Community Forum

The first step in supporting the Dask community is evaluating the communication and collaboration channels. As a part of this, the Dask Discourse forum was recently revived to serve as the go-to space for community-wide discussions. The Dask Community team will focus on tracking and moderating discussions here.

Dask Discourse

Currently, Dask has various online channels including GitHub, Slack, and StackOverflow for different types of conversations as outlined in the Dask Documentation. The Community team will help monitor Slack and Stack Overflow as well, but these have certain limitations, so Discourse was chosen as a searchable, open, and familiar platform to concentrate on.

We hope that Dask Discourse becomes the primary medium for everything related to Dask usage and community — asking questions about errors, showcasing projects and blog posts, sharing announcements and job opportunities, and more. It will lay the foundation for various community activities in the future. We invite everyone to introduce yourself and get to know other community members!

Issue Triaging on GitHub

Dask development, issue tracking, and project management take place on GitHub, with many issues and pull requests created every day. The Dask Community team will help triage and monitor the trackers, and primarily focus on engaging with new contributors. In particular, the team will help reproduce issues, track any stalled discussions, and shepherd more issues to resolution.

We understand that new contributors benefit from quick responses and a supportive tone. That’s what we hope to provide. 🙂

Dask project on GitHub

Dask Community Events

Every year, the Dask community comes together for a Dask Summit that involves talks, tutorials, and social events. We love how everyone shares their experiences and collaborates on new ideas at the summit. It’ll be nice to have more opportunities for such interactions, so the team will explore ideas and facilitate more community-wide activities.

For instance, the Community team recently coordinated an Accessibility Sprint in partnership with Quansight to improve alt-text for images in the Dask documentation. This was both educational and fun! The Coiled team also experimented with an internal Stack Overflow Sprint, which we plan to expand into a community event.

Connect with Downstream Projects

Beyond serving direct users of Dask, we also want to see Dask become the go-to choice for members of the Python community looking to build scalability into their projects. There have been a number of success stories of projects which have used Dask as an infrastructure layer, including Pangeo (geoscience), sgkit (genetics), napari (image analysis), Prefect (workflow orchestration) and RAPIDS (GPU-accelerated analytics).

The Dask community has benefited immeasurably from collaborating with these projects and learning from their use-cases, pain points, and expertise. We are also aware of attempts by other projects to build on top of Dask that have been less successful, and we want to learn from those as well. We plan to reach out to more projects in the broader Dask ecosystem, to learn what has worked and what has not. We hope this will allow us to help the projects in question and improve Dask to make it more flexible, stable, and easy to use. If you are involved in such an effort to incorporate Dask into your project, please reach out to us on Discourse!

Coiled was created by members of the Dask community, so we’re always thinking of ways to improve Dask and support the community. If you’d like to join us in this effort, check out our open positions, we’re hiring!

See Current Openings

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