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Big Data Week 2016

We hosted and participated in a series of events for Big Data Week 2016 (24-29 October). Events varied from public exhibitions to lectures and were attended by a range of local, national and international attendees.

Big Data Here
CDRC UCL kicked off their week with ‘Big Data Here’, a week long exhibition of live data providing an alternative, digital view of the physical space around UCL. Data sources included transit feeds from Transport for London (TfL) and demographic information from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Throughout the week a different live data feed projected through the window of UCL’s North Lodge, giving passer by’s an opportunity to view the visualisations culminating from the feeds.

The most popular big screen visualisation proved to be the near live traffic camera feeds from TfL. Members of the public were free to interact with the exhibition each afternoon with a CDRC team member on hand to provide a more detailed overview of the concept behind Big Data Here. This saw an excellent turnout of local, national and international attendees keen to learn more about the exhibits.

Big Data Here was led by Oliver O’Brien, creator of CDRC Maps. Read his summary of Big Data Here.

Big Data for Marketers
The CDRC team, along with a number of students from our MSc Consumer Analytics and Marketing Strategy course, participated in the ‘Big Data for Marketers’ event in Leeds.  Hosted by Alscient, the city sponsor for Leeds Big Data Week, the event focused on the importance of Big Data in Marketing, taking stock of current analytical practices in the industry and looking at ways to improve in the future.  A common theme in the presentations and subsequent discussion was the need for graduates to have solid analytics skills and an understanding of Big Data when entering the industry.

24 Hour Climathon – How can we deliver domestic carbon reduction in an age of austerity?
CDRC students took part in a 24 hour Climathon event in Leeds which aimed to develop new solutions to reduce carbon emissions  The event, held by the Priestley International Centre for Climate, enabled students and stakeholders in Leeds to join citizens in world cities such as Paris and Shanghai simultaneously taking part in the hackathon-style Climathon event.  In Leeds, 28 participants took part from 12 noon on 28 October until noon the following day and focused on an energy efficiency challenge set by Leeds City Council. Read more about the event.

Empty Housing Innovation Lab
The final event of the week took place at the University of Liverpool in London, in conjunction with Student Data Labs. The event, titled ‘Empty Housing Innovation Lab’, took an interactive approach to tackling the housing crisis in the UK, using big data. The event had an excellent turnout of students from local universities including London School of Economics (LSE), Imperial College and UCL . CDRC project manager Sarah Sheppard provided an opening talk, with emphasis on some of the data sources already available to students (and others) via our datastore that can be utilised for research; this was followed by Anastasia Ushakova, CDRC Phd Student, providing a lightning talk on her own research on energy consumption and how this ties in with the housing crisis. A range of interactive activities followed, with the R workshop proving extremely popular amongst attendees.

So you want to be a data scientist?
The momentum continued beyond Big Data Week in Leeds, with the ‘So you want to be a data scientist?’ event falling on the 2nd November.  Organised by Alscient, and attended by students from Leeds Data Science Society and the MSc Consumer Analytics and Marketing Strategy course, the session offered practical advice and mentoring from industry based data scientists, as well as the opportunity to take part in a mini analytics challenge.