IIT holds big data analytics forum for IT & corporate professionals

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LtoR: Dr. Sampath Kannangara (CEO-IIT), Prof. John McCall (Robert Gordon University, UK) , Prof. Nirmalie Wiratunga (Robert Gordon University, UK), Dr. Gamini Wickramasinghe (Chairman - Informatics Group), Dr. Ruvan Weerasinghe, Mr. Cassim Farook (Senior Lecturer-IIT)

Making decisions based on the analysis of Big Data is the secret to success of many organizations in today’s competitive business world. With the aim of providing insight into the new trends of Big Data, the Informatics Institute of Technology (IIT) recently held the Big Data Analytics Tech Forum at BMICH.

Several industry leaders, senior IT and corporate professionals representing a wide range of sectors attended the Big Data Analytics Tech Forum 2016. At the event, leading researchers and experts in the field of data science shared key insights based on their experience in the field of Big Data. Prof. Nirmalie Wiratunga, Professor of Intelligent Systems Research at Robert Gordon University and Prof. John McCall from the Smart Data Technologies Centre of the Robert Gordon University, UK addressed the gathering of professionals who attended the Tech Forum.

Prof. Nirmalie Wiratunga spoke on the topic of Data Driven Recommender Systems, while Prof. John McCall spoke on Data Driven Optimization, with an emphasis on naturally inspired algorithms. This was the second Big Data Analytics Tech Forum held by IIT with the focus on giving Sri Lankan professionals an insight into the use of Big Data and its advantages.

“Organizations around the globe have recognized the immense business value which can be gained by using data. There is currently a huge demand for skilled professional in data related jobs around the world. There is a growing need for Sri Lankan companies to keep up with current global technology trends in order to achieve greater organizational goals. With the objective of empowering Sri Lankan organizations and producing specialized professionals in Big Data, IIT is offering an exclusive MSc Big Data Analytics programme from Robert Gordon University, UK,” Dr. Sampath Kannangara, CEO of IIT said.

“IIT is a pioneer in providing internationally renowned undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Over the years we have been focused on producing all-round graduates that are able to empower their respective organizations. IIT graduates are in high demand in the Government, Corporate and IT sectors mainly due to our focus on catering to the industry needs,” Dr. Kannangara added.

What is Big Data and why is it important?

‘Big data’ is the study of gaining insight and analysing large volumes of data, filtering it out and presenting it to principal decision makers, explained Prof. John McCall.

“When you have very complex sets of data and you must make decisions at a rapid speed, systems should have intelligence to present you with the best options. Big Data takes away the effort of simply working out how to make decisions with all constraints and allows you to focus on the things that require a human’s decision to make. Decisions are not made using big data, but instead you are presented with good quality solutions,” Prof. McCall said.

Prof. Nirmalie Wiratunga said that the study of Big Data would allow cheaper and more productive solutions as the same job would be done with fewer resources.

“There’s an immense amount of data available in today’s day and age especially because of the wide use of social media. The study of Big Data provides a mechanism to harness this data and provide suitable recommendations and can be used in various sectors with the use of artificial intelligence, machine learning and smart algorithms,” Prof. Nirmalie Wiratunga said.

“Online retail stores and social media sites such as Facebook and Amazon can greatly benefit by this analysis and filtering of data to show their customers advertisements and products that they would be interested in. This can also be used in the health sector to provide digital health solutions. Big data facilitates a faster and cost effective method of managing data and can truly empower industries by providing accurate information and greater performance. By forecasting and predicting, these systems can further be used in renewable technology and nuclear industries, telecommunications and in common company operations such as staff rostering and resource allocation,” Prof. Wiratunga said.

Robert Gordon University’s MSc Big Data Analytics which is exclusively offered at IIT Campus with the aim of producing specialist Data Analysts, Data Visualization Specialists, Data Managers, Database Designer/Managers, Data Mining Experts and Big Data Scientists.

IIT is now calling for applicants for the second intake of the MSc Big Data Analytics programme from Robert Gordon University, UK for January 2017.