Fueling innovative software
July 15-18, 2019
Portland, OR

Learn Neural Networks With Go—Not Math!

Ellen Korbes (garden.io)
4:15pm4:55pm Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Secondary topics:  AI Enhanced

Who is this presentation for?

Software developers



Prerequisite knowledge

Attendees should be comfortable writing code, as this is a very code-heavy session. Experience with Go is helpful but not strictly necessary. Knowledge of AI or neural networks is not required.

What you'll learn

Attendees will learn all the fundamental parts of a neural network in a manner they can easily comprehend and follow along.


It’s common for even the most amazing programmers to not have the first clue about math. That makes learning neural networks particularly inaccessible, as an integral part of explaining it relies on mathematical formulas. Ah, the formulas… with all their lines and curves and ancient symbols, they are just as unintelligible as they are beautiful.

What’s a better way for us to learn it instead? With a language we all speak: code!

In this talk we’ll look at every component required to write a neural network from scratch. Things like network structure, activation functions, forward propagation, gradient descent, and backpropagation. We’ll look at them as programmers: we define what we’re trying to achieve, then write an implementation for it.

We’ll do that with no specialized libraries like Tensorflow and PyTorch—only Go code. So if you ever wanted to really understand how a neural network works, but thought it to be out of your reach because of the math, this talk is for you.

Code, not math! Algorithms, not logarithms!

Photo of Ellen Korbes

Ellen Korbes


Ellen’s a developer advocate at Garden, and also an avid gopher—actively involved with Women Who Go, and responsible for the most comprehensive Go course in Portuguese. They first got acquainted with Kubernetes while writing code for kubectl, in a SIG-CLI internship. They’ve spoken at conferences like Velocity and GOTO, and at countless local meet-ups. As a point of pride, Ellen has received the ‘Best Hair’ award at GOTO Copenhagen.

Leave a Comment or Question

Help us make this conference the best it can be for you. Have questions you'd like this speaker to address? Suggestions for issues that deserve extra attention? Feedback that you'd like to share with the speaker and other attendees?

Join the conversation here (requires login)