Launching Data Discussions

Cem Baris 21.11.2016

The Morgan McKinley Data team have for a while now been bouncing around ideas on how to pull together an event, which will be of interest to our clients, as well as candidates.

Our focus was to create a group of individuals sharing an interest in all things Data and our events would be a mixture of learning something new, discussing new technologies or skillsets within this continuously evolving space and simply networking with those who share a similar interest in Data. Having been involved in creating these communities in the past, I knew of the challenges involved, but also the huge benefits of holding these types of events. 

It’s needless to say there was a certain level of pressure on our first event, we needed to gain the interest of our Data community and we needed to show how beneficial networking with those working in a similar field is. For this reason we had to kick start with a bang…. After months of planning, debating and organising we were finally ready to go. 

On the 17th of November, we were fortunate enough to invite Felix Sanchez Garcia, The Lead Machine Learning Scientist at The Guardian, who presented his thoughts on “Designing Machine Learning Models”. With circa 40 attendees, we were worried that it could be quite difficult to attend to everyone's expectations and needs, but Felix did a great job in doing so. Felix opened his talk by providing an introduction on the basic concepts of Machine Learning to the audience. In principle, he gave a very simple explanation on the most common algorithms and provided examples of where one might look to implement one of these models. The models listed included Logistic Regression, Naive Bayes, Decision Trees, Random Forests, Bayesian Models and Deep Networks. The talk was very interactive and at the end our speaker opened up to the audience, who got involved with their thoughts, turning this into an interesting discussion and a few even challenged some of the concepts mentioned.

I think it’s fair to say that regardless of the level of understanding before joining our conference, we all left having learnt something new. In fact, the most impressive thing about Felix’s talk was the way he managed to cater to everyone, irrespective of their experience in Machine Learning. It was interesting to see the way that Machine Learning can be used by organisations, as Felix gave a number of examples in doing so at The Guardian, allowing the company to really tailor themselves to their consumers. Whether this was around what The Guardian’s readers prefer, gender preferences, or even the types of devices and operating systems used by their customers, Felix gave a comprehensive overview of how and why organisations should be making use of Machine Learning principles. 

Before and after the presentation, we all enjoyed some networking time with a few nibbles, as well as a few drinks. We were happy to see so many stay behind to network with other Data professionals, discuss Felix’s talk and even thank us for organising such a successful event! 

So here we are… our first event out of the way, our LinkedIn Group growing by the day and our emails full of further requests for information. Our first event was such a success that we are now worried it will be difficult to beat, but watch this space… We have our next few speakers lined up and Data Discussions is now up and running, so don’t miss out on our next event and join our LinkedIn group to be the first to hear when we announce our future talks! 

We hope to see you at the next one! 

I want to thank the whole Morgan McKinley Data team for their involvement in making this event such a huge success, Felix Sanchez Garcia for his presentation and time, as well as our Marketing and Design teams for their support in making all of this happen.

Cem Baris's picture
Director
cbaris@morganmckinley.co.uk

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