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Updated 3/18: Added a mention of Work-Bench, which is also hosting the event.

When tech-media company Gigaom abruptly shut down March 9, it didn’t look good for the company’s upcoming Structure Data conference, due to be held March 19-20 at New York’s Chelsea Piers.

In fact, the conference was canceled, though you can still find it on the Gigaom events website. But some of those who were planning to attend weren’t about to take no for an answer, and have organized their own, independent event.

The Unstructured: Data Science event will take place this Thursday, March 19, in New York.

“We’re bringing the data community together, and we’re still going to do something for the people who were planning on spending their time at Structure,” said Anna Anisin, the head of marketing at Domino Data Lab and the prime organizer of this week’s Unstructured: Data Science. Domino, which makes tools for data science teams, was a sponsor of the Gigaom event.

Anisin describes Unstructured as a “pop-up” event, and it’s more loosely organized than the heavily programmed Structure would have been. But Anisin and others have managed to pull together some impressive speakers and supporters. It’s happening in the New York offices of eBay, on 6th Avenue, and of Work-Bench, an enterprise technology accelerator.

Tech publisher O’Reilly Media is helping out, and will be on a panel with Domino and eBay (moderated by VentureBeat’s news editor Harrison Weber).

In addition to sending Harrison as a speaker, VentureBeat is supporting the event by helping get the word out. That’s because we saw an opportunity to do something good for the entrepreneurial and data science community that we’ve been so involved with ourselves. And, to be honest, we were as sad as anyone about the disappearance of Gigaom, which, while it did compete with VentureBeat in many ways, was also a valuable community resource. So this is our way of helping out a little.

Afternoon sessions will feature Silicon Valley Data Science, Twosigma, Datadog, and others. Anisin says professors from Cornell, Columbia, and Stanford will also be attending and speaking. A total of five speakers originally slated for the Gigaom event have joined the new one.

She’s expecting 200 attendees, the maximum the event space has capacity for. The first 100 tickets are reserved for people who planned to attend GigaOm Structure.

Oh, and the conference is free. Domino is footing the bill for most of the costs (such as the happy hour at the end of the day, without which no tech conference would be complete). eBay donated the use of its space, and volunteers are contributing additional resources — so no money is changing hands.

Anisin said that the response to this event has been so overwhelming, she’s already planning another pop-up data science event in Chicago. That will probably happen this summer.

“Now there’s going to be a gap, from Structure not being there. They always sold out their events,” Anisin said.

So, with a little luck, Unstructured could wind up being a smaller, more intimate alternative, to help fill that need for the data science community to get together from time to time.

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