Over the weekend of Nov. 21 and 22, NYU Shanghai held a symposium on Data Science and Applications – specifically, a conference on the evolution of ‘big data’ and the era of information technology. The two-day event featured speakers such as Vice President of IBM Matt Wang and NYU Shanghai professors Clay Shirky and Andrea Jones-Rooy.

The event commenced with introductions from NYUSH Vice-Chancellor Jeffrey Lehman and Dean of Engineering and Computer Science Keith Ross. Following the introductions, Wang gave his keynote address, which detailed the way in which enterprises benefit from IBM’s Big Data and Analytics service.

The consequent talks were focused on three issues: Social Science and Social Networks; Big Data and Smart Cities, and; Data Science and Infrastructure.

Professor Shirky began the first session by addressing the conflict between privacy and big data, with his overarching question being “can citizens ever understand the kinds of insight Big Data makes possible?” The rest of the session detailed the link between social media and big data, with Jones-Rooy’s speech commenting on the difference between the application and theory of big data.

The following two sessions became discussions on the implications big data has on cities and the overall framework of the application and the development of data science, respectively. These sessions featured talks from NYUSH professors Claudio Silva and Zheng Zhang, as well as professors from Shanghai Jiaotong University (上海交通大学) and East China Normal University (华东师范大学).

The second day of talks revolved around the topics of Health and Climate, and; Recommendation and Forecasting Systems. Weili Ding, currently a Professor of Economics at Queen’s University, gave a talk on “The Big Data Revolution in Health Economics”. Ding will be joining the NYU Shanghai Economics faculty in January 2015 and introduced the audience to both her research interests and specialties.

However, the symposium was primarily focused towards members of the information technology community, rather than students themselves. Sophomore Oliver Barry stated “there was a lot of technical information, and it was somewhat hard to follow.” Many students also stated that they were unaware of the event, or were not able to RSVP as the event quickly filled up.

This article was written by Bella Farr. Send an email to managing@oncenturyavenue.com to get in touch.
Photo Credit: Zhang Zhan

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