Elastic SA Meetup - May 2019

South Africa

May 30, 2019, 4:00 – 6:00 PM


About this event

UPDATE: We've managed to secure 20 more spots for this Meetup. These spots work on a first-come, first-serve basis. We will confirm all attendees attendance a week before the event to make sure that spots are made available by those who aren't able to join. Get your RSVPs in early!

Hi everyone!

We're excited to announce the first Elastic SA Meetup of 2019 on the 30th of May at 18:00. The event will take place at SLOW in the City, right across the road from the Sandton Gautrain station.

VERY IMPORTANT: We only have space for 60 attendees at this Meetup. Please RSVP as soon as possible, and we'll work on a first-come, first-serve basis. We will have a waiting list for others who are interested in attending, so please be considerate and cancel your RSVP if you can no longer make the event for any reason, and we'll allocate your space to someone on the waiting list.

Here is what we have lined up for the evening:

Morné Olderwagen - LexisNexis
Enterprise Search: Manipulating Relevance in the age of AI and NLP

This talk covers the journey LexisNexis went through, and are still going through, to adjust the relevance of search results returned to the customer. Every search solution will be different and in this session we will look at specific problems that required solutions to allow LexisNexis to increase the relevance of the search results it returns, including migrating from FAST ESP, working around legacy logic of an old search system, different content types in one general search, attempting to identify “intent” to allow for Query manipulation and also looking at Learning to Rank.

Morné is the DevOps Team lead at LexisNexis South Africa, based in Durban. Morné joined LexisNexis in 2005 as a PHP developer and soon expanded onto C# development after a brief stint as an SEO Specialist for the Marketing department. It was embarrassing.
In 2012, he joined the Enterprise Search team working on the FAST ESP platform. After Microsoft acquired FAST in 2008 and stopped full supporting it some years later, LexisNexis needed a new Enterprise Search platform and decided on Elasticsearch. Morné led the project to migrate from FAST ESP to Elasticsearch and collaborated with Knowledge Focus on the venture. Morné is still the Technical Lead for Search at LexisNexis.

Neil Maderthaner - Knowledge Focus
Painless Scripting in Elasticsearch

Painless is a simple, secure scripting language designed specifically for use with Elasticsearch. But why build a brand new language when there are already so many to choose from? What are the benefits of using Painless and when / how should it be used? In this session Neil will introduce you to Painless and dive into the whats, whys, whens and hows along with giving practical scenarios and demonstrations of Painless in action.

Neil Maderthaner has over 20 years experience working with almost all the prominent search based products in the market, both past and present. He currently plies his trade on the Elastic Stack and is one of the first certified Elastic Engineers in South Africa. He thrives on digging his teeth into all aspects of deployment and development on top of Elastic and is most happy when solving complex search related issues.

Snacks and refreshments will be available at the event. We should also finish in time for those who want to take the Gautrain afterwards.

We look forward to seeing you on the 30th!



Thursday, May 30, 2019
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM UTC


  • Timothy Brophy


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