GigaScience is going to Bangalore!

A short announcement that I am now listed as one of the speakers at the ISI CODATA International Training Workshop on Big Data. The workshop is a collaboration between the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) and CODATA (International Council for Science : Committee on Data for Science and Technology).

One of the highlights of the workshop is a 2 day Data Carpentry session, aiming to galvanise a network of Data Carpentry-prepared trainers and organisers that can spread the knowledge and ethos around Asia and the Pacific. GigaScience is very keen on improving data curation and interoperability standards, particularly in the region near our base in Hong Kong (heads up China!), so we’re very happy to be supporting and learning from the Data Carpentry system. Data Carpentry is just starting up really (first UK workshop was Nov 2014) but as a partner to the awesome Software Carpentry movement, it has a pedigree that you can trust.

CODATA has been concerned with scientific data for the last 40 years! Only now is the world catching up with their advanced thinking. You may have only just starting considering ‘big data’ because all the banker-types are pumping money into it in a way not seen since the housing bubble of 5 years ago or the DotCom bubble of 15 years ago… those investors need to pump something until it bursts. CODATA on the other hand has been working behind the scenes to try to get scientific data of all shapes and sizes, open, shareable and usable – go check out their website and get involved!

In total geek mode, I’m very excited about going to the ISI because it was founded by P. C. Mahalanobis. Of all the distance metrics used in statistics and machine learning, the Mahalanobis distance is my favourite – seriously. All I’m going to say is that when we were learning about ‘Euclidean this’ and ‘City block that’ in machine-learning class, I was depressed that they didn’t account for uneven variances in my data clusters very well… but then the Mahalanobis distance popped up and gave me exactly what I was looking for, I was young, impressionable and I was wowed. OK, geek-fest over.

On top of that, I’ve never been to India and hear great, great things about Bangalore. So prepare for pictures of curry in the near future and perhaps a meeting report focusing on the Data Carpentry workshop.

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