What is WiDS?
It is no longer a secret that the power of data defines strategies and lead global and local transformations. Hence, data science has become critically important world wide. Governments and companies are racing to grasp more data and apply all sorts of data analysis. As a result, data science study programs has been introduced in universities and academic institutes around the globe. As well, many conferences are being held specially for data science to keep up with the new needs, techniques and tools in this field, the Global Women in Data Science (WiDS) Conference is one of them. WiDS conference aims to inspire and educate data scientists worldwide, regardless of gender, support women in the field, and features outstanding women doing outstanding work in the field.
WiDS conference was held for the first time in Standford University at United States at 2015. In March of this year the German Jordanian University hosted the WiDS conference in Jordan for the first time, through its ambassador Eng. Rasha Al Ababseh. WiDS Jordan 2018 was attended by diverse audience being students, academics, and professionals. Through this article I will walk you through some of the outstanding sessions and keynotes.
My favorites keynotes
Prof. Rehab Duwairi, the professor of data science and machine learning, gave the first keynote, about global and local perspectives of data science. Prof. Rehab talked about data science in general, the common approaches and tools, and data initiatives by governments. Also, she presented statistics about the academics programs in the world and Jordan, and statistics about female faculty members in Jordanian colleges and universities. As a matter of fact, only 43 of the PhD holders in technology faculties in Jordan are females!
The medical sector has been taken to a whole new level in the light of data science and machine learning. Dr. Dima Jadaan demonstrated how data science helped in medical research field, mainly in terms of medical data analysis specially using data visualization tools and tracing epidemics. Furthermore, she illustrated that data science combined with machine learning helped in developing highly sophisticated diagnosis programs like IBM Watson, and the pros and cons of such programs nowadays. Dr. Dima explained the challenges for data science when it comes to the medical sector. The main challenges are data privacy, communication and misclassification.
My third favorite keynote was given by Eng. Russia Haddad about obtaining and cleaning data. She explained that the first step in any data science project is to obtain the date and validate its correctness, authenticity and accuracy. The next challenging step is to reformat the raw data to structural form, in order to prepare it for analysis. Also, she talked about Pentaho Data Integration tool (PDI, also called Kettle), which is used for the extract, transform and load (ETL) processes.
Finally, I want to express how thrilled I was, WiDS Jordan 2018 was great. Not only it provided us with deep insights on data science field specially in Jordan, but moreover introduced female leaders in the field. I cannot wait for WiDS Jordan 2019.