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Leading Human Capacity Development in Big Data and Artificial Intelligence

The Wits Institute of Data Science (WIDS) and the Wits Institute for Collider Particle Physics (ICPP) have partnered to organize a workshop on Big Data and Artificial Intelligence. The workshop will take place during the National Conference of the Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC), to be held at the Birchwood Conference Centre, Kempton Park, 1-5 December. The conference will gather about 500 researchers, students and representatives from industry partners, in what has become one of the largest events of its kind in South Africa. 

The workshop, a two day activity, will include a few introductory lectures pertaining to Machine Learning and the handling of Artificial Intelligence with a large variety of data sets, including the Big Data problem. The workshop will include a hands-on session using standard tools. This will include the use of Python, TensorFlow and other open source packages.

The first day will be devoted to an introduction to Machine learning that will include notions and algorithms, such as linear and logistic regressions, gradient descent, support vector machines, decision trees, boosting and clustering. Lectures will be followed by a hands-on session with exercises in text analysis, image classification and recognition.

The second day will build upon the material covered during the first day, where the Big Data problem will be defined. Lectures will cover the symbiosis between Big Data and Artificial Intelligence driven by Big Sciences. The hands-on session will cover practical problems in anomaly detection.

WIDS contributes to running of the DSI-NICIS National e-Science Postgraduate Teaching and Training Platform (NEPTTP) which is a multi-institutional platform. The NEPTTP aims to develop qualifications, curricula and pedagogic interventions to advance training of postgraduate students across disciplines in e-Science. The ICPP is a member of the South Africa – CERN program, funded by the DSI and hosted by the NRF’s iThemba LABS. The SA-CERN program facilitates knowledge and technology transfer in High-Tech, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence to South Africa from the European laboratory, CERN.

Lectures and discussions will be led by Professors Turgay Celik, Deepak Kar, Bruce Mellado and Terrence Van Zyl from Wits University, who will be assisted by Dr. Xifeng Ruan and other researchers during the hands-on sessions.

“Meeting the challenges the fourth industrial revolution requires collaboration across disciplines. This includes mathematicians, computer scientists, statisticians, physicists…” Dr. Happy Sithole, Director, Centre for High Performance Computing and Center Manager, National Integrated Cyber-Infrastructure at CSIR-NICIS

“Big Sciences play a pivotal role in the dissemination of knowledge and provides a platform for skill and human capacity development in areas that are invaluable to a modern economy”, says Bruce Mellado, the Director of the ICPP.

“Data Science and Artificial Intelligence are amongst the major foundational blocks of the nation’s 4IR initiative. NEPTTP and WIDS continuously make significant contributions towards forming and strengthening those foundational blocks.” says Turgay Celik, the Director of the NEPTTP and the WIDS.

More information about the conference and how to register can be found at: 

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