First Summer of V’s workshop

IDIR’s Summer of V’s kicked off to a flying start on Monday.

The V’s of big data — volume, velocity, veracity, and variability (and sometimes more, depending whom you ask) — try to capture what makes data-intensive research different to, and complementary to, our existing techniques. IDIR is running a series of half-day workshops this summer to bring St Andrews researchers together to discuss and make plans, ably organised by Daniel Barker and kindly supported by the Principal’s Office. For the first workshop we picked variability as our topic.

Lunch in the Bell Pettigrew museum

Over sixty people attended the event, which is a remarkable number for a university the size of St Andrews and just shows how significant the growing data availability is across disciplines.

Sheelagh Carpendale gave a keynote on the importance and challenges of scientific visualisation posed by variable (and plentiful) data. There then followed three talks by Emma Hart (History) on the challenges historians face when doing data-driven research; Urska Demsar (Geography and Geosciences) on visualising time-variant geographical data; and Simon Dobson (Computer Science) on the challenges that the sensitivity of complex systems poses when trying to use public data sources. We’ll hopefully be posting short blog posts about all these talks in the comping weeks. We concluded with a panel where the speakers were joined by Andrew Mitchell of the DataLab and Ian McDonald who manages data storage in the University’s IT Services.

The panel

Discussion of the next V — veracity — is scheduled for early July, and we’re actively seeking participants, speakers, and suggestions for other events that people would like IDIR to organise.