On 18 July the Derby data science team hosted their first Data Science and Machine Learning meetup at Loughborough University. The idea behind the event, primarily organised by Ayo Akiwowo and attended by Darshna Shah and Andrew Booth, was to meet some like minded people, network and have some fun with a simple, but real world data set.
The evening began with an introduction to the team and ElastaCloud from Ayo followed by Andrew who gave an overview of the data science life-cycle/CRISP-DM and how the activities planned for the evening could relate to them. The plan was to explore the Road Safety data set provided by York Open Data and ask the attendees to consider how they would present their findings back to York City Council if they were a real client.
After being split into teams of four the attendees were ready to tackle the task. It was interesting to observe how the mixed ability teams approached the problem, with often one person taking the role of coding in R or Python, whilst the remaining members offered ideas and explored the data using simpler tools such as Excel. In fact, the team work aspect of the evening was amongst some of the very positive feedback we received.
Following a quick break for pizza, kindly provided by ElastaCloud, the teams presented their final findings. Despite the relatively short time available, the teams had managed to begin to understand the data, provide insights and start making suggestions as to how these could be used to inform further decisions in the data science life-cycle.
Overall the evening was a resounding success, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive and we were already getting requests for the next session! There are already plans in the pipeline for future meetups, with sessions perhaps being more focussed towards particular topics or technologies.