LIDA Seminar: Series Launch and Big Data and the Obesity Epidemic

The Leeds Institute for Data Analytics (LIDA) is holding a series of seminars and data soc were delighted to be invited to the first one, a lecture by Professor Adam Drewnowski, who researches (amongst other things) spatial epidemiology in diets and health. Professor Drewnowski leads the Seattle Obesity Study, an investigation into the socioeconomic factors behind the distribution of obesity in the city, and his presentation focused on outputs primarily from this tract of research.

Professor Drewnowski’s work was very engaging, with many insights that are valuable to this all too frequent hand-wringing discussion on public health.

Mapping Health: Slow/Fast Seattle from Schema Design on Vimeo.

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Python + Poutine

The primary programming language that data soc members know is R (though certainly not the only one!), so we decided to challenge our evangelism with a tutorial from Dr Andy Evans, a senior lecturer in computational Geography from the School of Geography here in Leeds (FY maps!). Dr Evans very kindly created the front end for a tutorial on data manipulation with Python, guiding an intrepid crowd through Anaconda installation and their first steps of data processing in a new language. We were pleased to see that this was one of the larger tutorials that data soc has hosted, aided by turnout from some of Andy’s students looking for practice but also an increasingly academically diverse crowd of people curious about data science and programming – for a few, this was their first ever experience coding.


After this we went to A Nation of Shopkeepers near Leeds city centre for Poutine, as one of our founders (Karen) is Canadian and was keen for a taste of home.

Missed the session? The opening for Andy’s tutorial is available here, which then leads you into the Data Carpentry course.

What can Elite Sport teach us about Effective Analytics?

Our first speaker event (ever! but also of Semester II) featured Professor Bill Gerrard discussing what sports analytics can bring to analytics as a whole field. After speaking about his background and path into sports analytics from a start in economics and econometrics, Bill covered three topics; what does Moneyball tell us about using analytics effectively; why simple is often the best in analytics in sport and business; what skills do you need to be a great analyst?

It was a fascinating session and great to hear Bill’s insight, driven from his work with Billy Beane and then on bringing analytics to the UK. It seemed like a tough start but as anyone who even watches the highlights of any televised sport in the UK these days, it has now taken off with gusto. We’re really pleased our first event was a success and hope to hold follow up sessions with Bill, and with other guest speakers too!