Mexico: Amazing interest in Data Science
Posted on September 29, 2016 by Saeed Aghabozorgi
When I was asked by Raul F. Chong, BDU WW leader, about the opportunity to travel to Mexico to deliver the bootcamp I had been running in China, I was hooked immediately. Tequila was of course my main motivator (just kidding!). I was curious about the interest in Data Science in other countries other than North America, and China.
From September 19 – 22, I had the honor to deliver the Data Science bootcamp in collaboration with IBM to 80 participants (40 university professors, 15 researchers and 15 IBM employees) in Guadalajara, Mexico. This city is like an IT hub in Mexico with big companies like IBM (5000 employees), Intel, Oracle, HP, etc. It has a large population, and it has the second biggest university in the country with 17 campuses!
In this bootcamp, I gave an intro about Data Science, BDU, and then hands-on workshop on Intro to R language, data analysis, visualization, , machine learning and working with Spark. The bootcamp was very successful and I believe it was academically profitable for participants. The bootcamp was offered at no charge, with the motivation to get professors to teach this knowledge to their students. The ultimate results of this initiatives won’t be known for at least 6 months, but the interest it generated amongst all attendees was incredible.
I modified the delivery of this bootcamp slightly from the way I ran it in China. I included many data science case studies as the organizer wanted the bootcamp to be not just about teaching the R language, but also wanted topics about research in Big Data and Data Science. I have personally received many positive feedback, but the most important one is that we must launch BDU in Spanish!
BDU, being a community initiative, relies heavily in the passion of its members. The people from Mexico are super excited and will be helping to translate BDU material, so we should soon see courses in Spanish popping up in our web site.
Participants loved the Data Scientist Workbench (DSWB) which ran smoothly for the entire 4 days. I’m happy with the stability the team has been able to achieve with DSWB.
I’m looking forward to a return to Mexico in 2017. The University de Guadalajara has invited me as keynote speaker in their annual conference in February!