The Big Data workshop was timely as the Faculty recently acquired High Performance Computing equipment and already has Big Data researchers and students.
Many of world’s biggest discoveries and decisions in science, technology, business, medicine, politics and society as a whole, are now being made on the basis of analysing massive data sets. However, experts warn that data collection alone creates a high risk of drawing false conclusions. Professor Widom’s workshops aim to avoid this by providing a broad introduction to data science, which includes history, case studies, pitfalls and basic tools and techniques for collection and analysis.
The Design Thinking and Creativity course focused on Collaborative Problem-Solving, a concept in which participants learn design processes, innovation methodologies, need finding, human factors, rapid prototyping and team dynamics.
“I am often asked how the students, and my teaching experience in general, have differed across the wide variety of places I’ve been to already. There is no crisp answer. As expected, broadly speaking the more developed the country, the more prepared and knowledgeable the students are, but not particularly more eager or engaged,” Widom said.
Namibia is the eleventh country, which Widom has visited during her many trips, with approximately five more destinations left on her schedule. The workshops form part of Prof Widom’s sabbatical year of traveling the globe offering free short-courses and round-table discussions to young people. She has studied and worked in the U.S. technology sector for over 30 years.
NUST students expressed their satisfaction with the workshop, saying they enjoyed the hands-on approach to the exercises, which in turn encouraged team work. They added that they also found it mentally stimulating as they were required to have a modest understanding of basic mathematical concepts.