‘Hack weeks’ teach about big data through teamwork

Every night, high-definition cameras are mounted in order to collect terabytes of data about objects in the sky. Each day, scientists are involved in sequencing the genomes of people, animals, plants, and microbes for biomedical as well as evolutionary research. Indeed very fascinating to observe.

Science has rather become a big-data endeavor. Yet, scientists are not actually universally adept in “data science”—the computing and statistical skill sets that are required to handle, sort, analyze, and draw conclusions from big data. The shortage of know-how in data science can hamper research, medicine, and even private industry.

The hack weeks are actually opportunities to learn about new concepts, foster new connections, share the data openly, and also develop skills and work on problems that will no doubt positively affect their day-to-day research lives.

The idea behind hack week was to bring together people who were interested in data science and also give them a place to meet, talk, and exchange ideas.

Efforts have been on to bring together big-data researchers in astrophysics and cosmology. All hack week events have the same basic design as well as organizing principles. They usually do commence with some structured periods for instruction, and then shift toward time for participant-driven, open-ended projects, as well as peer networking as well as free discussion.

Hacking The World

The projects can also resemble a hackathon, but there needs to be greater emphasis on collaboration and learning rather than specific outcomes. Hack week participants do tackle their projects in smaller groups, with organizers circulating to observe and provide feedback or encouragement.

The ideas are to set up ways to encourage participants at all levels of ability as well as comfort. Know about Ripple Blockchain Payments App ‘MoneyTap’

A hack week does take a different kind of preparation, as one need not have the security of ‘falling back’ on the structure of traditional talks as well as lectures.

Organizers do strive to select participants to maximize diversity—including scientists of different abilities, backgrounds, and at different stages of their careers. Participants also do agree to abide by a code of conduct that does emphasize respect as well as positive interactions.

Spreading the Idea

Efforts were also made to as part of hack weeks to learn, teach, network, and foster relationships. The idea is to widen the dialogue about data science and skill development.

The concept of promoting open-science principles has been pursued and the focus has been on sharing their datasets, code, and methods. One of the goals of the hack week format is to be able to elevate the quality of science and to do this is to try out new ideas and share whatever one has learned.

Collection of big data does play an important role in scientific matters and scientists have been much involved with it. Hack weeks are meant to focus upon new ideas and concepts and sharing of data is also very important. It is important to share what has been learned with a larger group. This has been leading to innovative idea and concepts that can be applied to scientific progress.

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About the Author: Jaya Nandini

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