Presented By O’Reilly and Cloudera
Make Data Work
March 5–6, 2018: Training
March 6–8, 2018: Tutorials & Conference
San Jose, CA

Not your parents' machine learning: How to ship an XGBoost churn prediction app in under four weeks

Goodman Gu (Cogito)
4:20pm5:00pm Thursday, March 8, 2018
Average rating: *****
(5.00, 3 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Data scientists, machine learning engineers, data analysts, and managers

Prerequisite knowledge

  • A basic understanding of machine learning and the big data ecosystem

What you'll learn

  • Explore an end-to-end data science and machine learning process using XGBoost
  • Understand key trade-offs in productionalizing an ML app
  • Learn how to use Amazon SageMaker to quickly and easily build, train, optimize, and deploy ML app at scale


Customer churn is very costly to a business. Studies have shown that it typically costs hundreds of dollars to acquire a replacement customer. Early warnings of unhappy customers allows us to incentivize and engage with them to improve satisfaction and retention.

Goodman Gu shares a case study from a leading SaaS company that quickly and easily built, trained, optimized, and deployed an XGBoost churn prediction ML app at scale with Amazon SageMaker. Goodman explores the trade-offs in feature engineering, algorithm selection, and hyperparameter tuning, whether it’s better to use a classifier with Keras using a TensorFlow backend or XGBoost, and whether or not to use Spark MLlib. Along the way, Goodman discusses the benefits of Amazon SageMaker, a fully managed end-to-end machine learning service and production pipeline.

Photo of Goodman Gu

Goodman Gu


Goodman Xiaoyuan Gu is head of machine learning architecture at Boston-based Cogito, where he leads operations of large-scale real-time augmented intelligence platform. Previously, he headed marketing data engineering at Atlassian and was vice president of technology at CPXi, director of engineering at Dell, and general manager at Amazon, where he built marketing, analytics and machine learning applications. He has served on technical program committees of two IEEE flagship conferences and is the author of over a dozen academic publications in high-profile IEEE and ACM journals and conferences. Goodman holds a degree in engineering and management from MIT.

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Picture of Goodman Gu
03/09/2018 7:28am PST


Picture of Goodman Gu
03/09/2018 7:20am PST

Slides have been posted as of 3/9/2018. Thank you all for coming to this session – we had some great conversations.