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.

The Herd Digital Jobs Fair, Leeds

HERD flyerHerd are a technology focused recruitment agency who held their first digital jobs fair in the cake tin the First Direct Arena, which several members of data soc put a look-in to. It seemed quite busy around the halls, showing a good turn out from people both from Leeds University and Leeds Beckett, the latter of which sponsored the event. There were interesting talks on personal branding from Google and how to optimise the web presence when starting up one’s own business. Amongst others, companies featuring at the event included Call Credit, Sky, Plus Net, Unilver and William Hill. While data soc members found it interesting, it seemed quite heavily weighted towards the developers cross section of digital jobs, and so it would be nice next year if they could have a few more stands/companies interested in data scientists and analysts.

Big Data Surveillance: Snowden, Everyday Practices and the Digital Future

Leeds University School of Law hosted Professor David Lyon for its annual CCJS lecture, which several members of the Data Science Society were pleased to be able to attend. Professor Lyon is a pioneering figure in the study of surveillance and his lecture centred on how the rise of Big Data has affected the practice of surveillance by various authorities, most notably by the NSA whose activities were revealed by Edward Snowden, and how its development will continue to change surveillance practices.

A sociologist by background, Professor Lyon’s perspectives were particularly helpful to data soc members whose interests in public policy and health often intersect questions about privacy and decision making, as well as the nature of making predictions from aggregated data sets.