Reflections from the 2017 Second Data Science Nigeria boot Camp
Four days of world-class learning, seven PhD level data scientists as on-site tutors and dial-in instructors, three on-going Hackathons, and 1 female winner (Adeola Dorcas, a level 300 computer science undergraduate of the Obafemi Awolow University, Ile-Ife.
Dr Raphael Yemitan of PwC explored the fundamental principles of feature engineering in a data science project.
Dr Sulaimon Afolabi, a leading data scientist from South Africa, led a step-by-step class into the fundamental theories of data science from statistical and machine learning perspectives.
Corne Nagel, Chief Data Scientist with OneFi, explored both the bottom-up and top-down approaches of model development using an exciting showcase of Zeppelin, and the hands-on use of automatic ML with DataRobot. Zeppelin is a solution which allows users to combine R, Scala, and Python in a single, seamless pipeline on the fly. He also kicked off a second hackathon on credit risk scoring.
Wale Akinfaderin, a doctoral researcher and expert data scientist dialled in from the USA to discuss feature engineering, data preparation, overfitting, and managing missing data (including mean, median, mode, regressed value or even nearest neighbour values).
Professor Raj Krishnan of the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago and a Microsoft leading expert in Microsoft Azure led a hands-on immersion in machine learning using the cloud-based Azure platform.
Dr Johnson Iyilade from Canada explored how we have moved from a system-centric to a user-centric connected data architecture, with practical explorations of the major big data technologies (Hadoop, HDFS, MapReduce, etc.).
Dr Ponmile Oloyede, a computational physicist and USA-based finance modelling expert showed many practical use cases of big data in everyday life, and introduced Rattle as a simple R interface.
Ladi Aduni, an Associate Director with KMPG led the briefing on the KPMG Segmentation hackathon at the bootcamp. The hackathon required participants to use unsupervised learning to cluster banking customers. The best participants in this hackathon will qualify for internships and possible job placements at KPMG. The project was extended beyond the bootcamp for maximum participation.
Ngozi Dozie of OneFi was at the bootcamp discussing how to build industry-ready algorithms that can solve real world problems. For example, he spoke on how weather forecasting correlate with loan default. When the weather is bad, people default more on their loans.
Usoro Usoro, General Manager of Digital Financial Services engaged the bootcamp participants on how to leverage the robust intelligence of big data algorithms to unravel local opportunities in payments and lending within the emerging Nigerian financial tech space.
Mrs Oby Ezekwesili, former Minister o Education followed the event real-time on Twitter and challenged the team to drive the structural shift that the 2nd Machine Age has made imperative with a strong focus on raising girls’ STEM education.
The event had a gala night, during which the top performers on the Kaggle competitions, Mr and Ms Algorithms (individuals who epitomise values of leadership, excellence and team-spirit), PhD participants, bootcamp instructors, and volunteers were recognized with gifts and accolades.
Bootcamp participants came from far and near; over 65% were from outside Lagos. Major clusters of attendees include Owerri (FUTO), Kaduna (Ahmadu Bello University, ABU Zaria), the southwest (Ibadan, Ile Ife, Ogbomosho, Abeokuta and Ilorin) among other locations.
The two events were supported by Microsoft, 4Afrika, Interswitch, Diamond Bank, OneFi, L5Lab, Keoun.ng, KPMG, ProShare Nigeria, Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, DataCamp, BusinessDay, CFATech.ng, BrandCrunch and the Machine Intelligence Institute of Africa.
Read inspiring story of the experience of a participant at the boot camp : here