Liemiso Mpota

Data Scientist, Barclays Africa Group Limited/ABSA

My name is Liemiso Mpota. I am  from Lesotho but work in South Africa in the banking industry. I hold a masters degree in computer science from the University of the Witwatersrand.

I have passion for data science as well as impacting young Africans.  I hold a masters degree in computer science which was conducted purely by dissertation. I performed very well and ended up being granted the degree with minor corrections and as a result was invited to join the prestigious international society of Golden Key. In my dissertation, the objectives were to define Bag Context Picture Grammars which at the time had never been defined before in the field of formal language theory. As part of proof of concept I then used a program written in Python to generate similar pictures with very small differences. To prove that the pictures were indeed different, I created a content based image retrieval system in Matlab which use artificial neural networks to perform classification according to the grammar in which the pictures belonged. This part of the research was not included in my dissertation as my supervisor felt it would be part of future work to be explored in PhD level.

In addition, in my fourth year of study I also conducted research for CSIR which is a national research institution in South Africa. I again used Artificial neural networks together with Bayesian networks to detect patterns in snowfall in South Africa. It was during this project that I worked with Images taken by the Modis satellite, where I encountered noise in the form of clouds in the pictures.  I used HSV color classification method to distinguish illumination and texture qualities in the pictures in order to distinguish cloud pixels from snow pixels as they have the same color in RGB color space.

I am currently working at BACL which operates under the name ABSA in South Africa. Here I work as a data scientist for the financial crime team. In this post I have created a dashboard for the team using R programming language to help pick up trends in the financial crime space. I have also assisted in build a model again in R using random forests to help pick out companies that may be running pyramid schemes in our bank and hence warn our clients and the South African Reserve Bank of such companies. I am currently working on a tax fraud project where we are building a model that will help detect customers who commit fraud especially VAT and income tax refund fraud.

I have ambitions to start a Phd program next year. My project would definitely be linked to artificial intelligence especial deep learning and neuroscience. I attended the Imbro Simmons computational neuroscience summer school in January which sparked my interest in the field of computational neuroscience. I have a great passion for big data and artificial intelligence. I cannot wait to see Africa become one of the leading continents in this field.

I am really interested in this program and I hope my application will appeal to you and my skills will be of value to you. I look forward to hearing from you.



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