LIV.INNO student attends Data Study group at Alan Turing Institute

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Andrea Sante (third from right) and his team at the Data Study Group in May 2023

LIV.INNO student Andrea Sante has attended a data study group which ran from the 22nd to the 26th May at the Alan Turing Institute in London. There were about 60 participants in total, mostly PhD students in their final year but also some post-docs and data scientists working outside academia.

Data Study groups are Intensive 'collaborative hackathons', which bring together organisations from industry, government, and the third sector, with talented multi-disciplinary researchers from academia. Organisations act as Data Study Group 'Challenge Owners', providing real-world problems and datasets to be tackled by small groups of highly talented, carefully selected researchers. Researchers brainstorm and engineer data science solutions, presenting their work at the end of the week.

The week before the event there are precursor meetings online where it is explained how the event is organised, introductions are given to the data challenges, and it is explained how to access the computer facilities. There are four different data challenges and each participant has to rank them in order of preference during the pre-cursor week. The rankings were used to make the teams that worked on each challenge.

Andrea got to work on his first choice challenge, the NBN challenge, which consisted in visualising and finding gaps in the data collected for UK priority species contained in the NBN Atlas Details of all the challenges at this study group can be found here. Andrea’s team came from lots of different backgrounds including engineering, climate science, ecology, mathematics and venture capitals.

Andrea said ‘It has been great getting to know everyone and I learned a lot from the way they were thinking and coding. I think I strongly improved my data mining and visualization skills, and I also had my first experiences of coding and report-writing as part of a team. At the end of the week, we presented our findings to the other groups and challenge owners.’

‘I strongly recommend this experience to everyone in LIV.INNO as it is a great opportunity for improving your coding skills and networking. I am also happy to give more info about my experience to anyone interested in participating.’

Details of future Alan Turing Data Study groups can be found on their website here