Students, researchers, and patrons from the University of Miami, FIU, Ransom Everglades School, and the local community gathered at Robert and Judi Prokop Newman Alumni Center for the combined annual Big Data Conference and VizUM Symposium, held on Wednesday, December 11, 2019. The event began in the Bruce & Robbi Toll Library with Poster Presentations. This was the event’s first call for posters and cash prizes were at stake!
Big Data Conference 2019
The Big Data Conference officially opened with a few words from CCS Center Director Nick Tsinoremas who welcomed the audience to the fourth annual Big Data Conference and the sixth annual VizUM Symposium. Nick also introduced the event’s keynote speaker, Matthew Denesuk, Senior Vice President for Data Analytics + AI for Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd.
Matthew took to the stage and delivered to the audience a talk on the relevance, necessity, and importance of data analytics and artificial intelligence in the business and corporate realms. Overall, he spoke at length of the nature of data-driven transformations (including the types of data scientists involved in those transformations) at the organizational level. (Click here for Matthew’s slides)
The Conference featured a panel discussion that focused on “Digital Disruption:” how big data, data analytics, and artificial intelligence are impacting various aspects of the business world, including health care, cybersecurity, and real estate. The panelists, Ashwin Kumar (Associate Vice President, Revenue Cycle Management at Jackson Health System), Roy Lowrance, PhD (Founder + CEO of Applied Data Science, LLC), Olivia Ramos (Founder + CEO of Deepblocks), and Yuda Saydun (Founder + President of CyVent), answered a variety of questions from both the moderator, Nick Tsinoremas, and from the audience.
Distinguished guest speaker Jessica Hullman PhD, an Assistant Professor in Computer Science and Journalism at Northwestern University, was the opener for VizUM 2019. Her talk entitled “Supporting Reasoning with Uncertainty Using Data” described how visualization techniques for conveying uncertainty through discrete samples can improve non-experts’ ability to understand and make decisions from distributional information. Jessica also described what’s been learned by developing visualization interfaces that encourage users to reflect on their expectations and use them to predict and improve belief updating.
Jessica was followed by Alberto Cairo PhD, who addressed the audience with his talk “How Charts Lie: What You Design Isn’t What People See.” Alberto is CCS Visualization Program Director, and Associate Professor and Knight Chair in Visual Journalism in UM’s School of Communication. He explained how scientists, statisticians, designers, and journalists are often taught that “a picture is worth a thousand words”, that we should “show, don’t tell”, and that charts are “intuitive” and useful to “simplify” information. His talk explained why these ideas are myths that if taken at face value, are wrong and dangerous. Alberto went on to explain what we can do to help the public increase their visual literacy and understand charts, graphs, maps, and infographics better. (Click here for Alberto’s slides)
Poster Presentation winners were announced with the first-place prize ($500) awarded to Ransom Everglades student, Joseph Gross, et al. for “Machine Learning for Metal Identification in Water Samples using Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS).” The poster won for originality, scientific rigor, organization, and presentation of the topic. (Accepting on Joseph’s behalf, Ransom Prof. Luis Felipe, pictured below.)
The second-place award ($250) went to University of Miami student Chitra Banarjee, et al., for “Turn, Turn, Turn: Objectively Characterizing Movement in Autism using Big Data.” This poster aimed to understand problems in social interaction with children with autism by charactering their movement patterns.
Third place ($100) was awarded to University of Miami student Alma Gracic for “News Sentiment and Network Effects.” This poster used big data, e.g., twitter feeds, to understand public opinion about political and economic issues.
A total of eight posters were submitted, with topics ranging from Autism to Data Warehousing. In appreciation, all poster participants were given certificates of participation: Mary Lourdes Andreu, Suat Babayigit, Chitra Banarjee, Stephany Coxe PhD, Alma Gracic, Joseph Gross, Benjamin Thorpe, Carlos Valle, and Xin Zhao MS. CCS looks forward to having poster presentations again next year.
The Big Data Conference is a collaboration with the Center for Computational Science, the Miami Herbert Business School, and the College of Arts and Science.
The VizUM Symposium is a collaboration between the Center for Computational Science and the School of Communication.