A week-long festival focused on maximising the economic and social benefits of data-driven innovation kicks off today with over 45 events taking place across Scotland.
DataFest18 will showcase Scotland’s world-class data science capabilities with experts from around the globe descending on Edinburgh for the international conference at the heart of the festival, Data Summit, on the 22nd and 23rd of March.
The festival has been organised by The Data Lab in partnership with Scottish Enterprise and The Scottish Government. It is sponsored by SAS, Merkle Aquila, Sainsbury’s Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, Heineken and Barclays. UNICEF and Street Soccer are its charity partners.
Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Derek Mackay, who is one of the keynote speakers at Data Summit said: “I am delighted to give my support to DataFest18, which brings key figures from around the globe to Scotland and showcases our work in this area. Scotland already has impressive data infrastructure and skills, with world class research taking place in our universities and a thriving data business sector. We are now in a great position to seize the advantage of data driven innovation to help boost our economy and become the data capital of Europe.”
Gillian Docherty, CEO of The Data Lab, added: “Scotland is recognised as one of the leading data science landscapes in the world. DataFest18 will showcase the nation’s leading role in data innovation on the international stage with the programme of events designed specifically to appeal to as wide an audience as possible.”
At the Data Summit, data scientist Dr. Kirk Borne will speak about how and why data science can be used for societal good.
Dr Borne said: “The world is now digital. Everything (person, product, and process) is generating and/or using data. The resulting vast quantities of digital signals are informing us about what has happened and what is happening in every sector, while providing vital input into powerful models that predict what will happen and how to optimize those outcomes. The application of the algorithms and techniques of data science on such massive data collections is leading to greater insights and innovations in all organisations, as well as igniting great interest and inspiration among diverse participants to apply data science in solving problems and challenges that have significant social impact.
“DataFest18 will put Scotland and Scottish data warriors at the nexus of those discussions, developments and difference-making opportunities in the coming week.”
Hugo D’Ulisse, director, Public Sector at SAS, premier sponsor of DataFest18, said: “We are delighted to be involved in the activities making up DataFest18 as it’s vital that business and academia work together to deliver the data science skills now in such demand by the analytics economy and the Edinburgh City Deal announcement.”
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