Africa Data Science Intensive Programme

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Our partner SARAO recently organised the 2nd Africa Data Science Intensive (DSI) Programme, which is hosted as part of the DARA Big Data project. This has been an immensely successful programme which sees a surge in interest each year; this year 2268 people applied for only 20 available places. Participants come from South Africa and the 8 SKA Africa partner countries and are as equally gender balanced as possible. 

The programme is hosted over several months and covers several modules; regression, optimisation and forecasting, and Natural Language Processing (NLP). The final part of the programme involves students choosing their own topics and submitting a full project report on them, including a blog post, presentation and code file. The topics chosen are varied and have covered diverse areas such as bioacoustics, object detection of solar radio bursts, data analytics for blood service management, restaurant/music recommendations, and using voice recordings to detect early-stage Parkinson’s disease. This year the winning project (from Christopher Mbeva of Kenya) created  an online plant disease classifier and detection tool where users could upload photographs and receive advice on how to manage any problems detected. 

The Africa DSI has provided intensive data science skills training to talented young Africans for the past 2 years; it is hoped that this programme will continue next year and widen its impact even further. Key industry and academic figures from all over the world have taken part and provided valuable advice and mentoring to participants. One of this year's participants (Arnold Kgabi from Botswana) said that 'the relationships and partnerships found here will help us make a real difference. This program changes lives and it would be great to see it continue and reach out to more people.'

You can read more about both intakes of the Africa DSI programme on the SARAO press releases below.