Big Success in Big Data

by Becki Marshall, BSc Computing and Information Technology student.

Birmingham’s Thinktank Science Museum hosted a “Meet the Experts” event on Big Data during the half term. “Big data” is used to describe data sets that are too big or complex for ordinary data analytics methods to handle. In a world of growing technology, it’s important to understand how we can deal with the masses of data produced each day. Dealing with large amounts of data can lead to problems such as information capture, retrieval, searching, analysis and transfer.

Experts from the School of Computing and Digital Technology at Birmingham City University spent the day showing visitors the impact of Big Data and the benefits that come from understanding it. There were a number of data analytics tools on show for visitors, including IBM Watson and Tableau Software, as well as computer demonstrations and informative videos.

Simran Heer, a student ambassador, was the “expert” for the Tableau Software demonstration. She showed a large data analytics application she made for her placement company, Domino’s, as an example. Student ambassadors Becki Marshall and Arwa Tawawala led the IBM Watson demonstration and other student ambassadors Tej Khatri and Esther Uche also provided support and helped with activities throughout the day.

Visitors were attracted to our interactive demos, videos and colourful posters. Children enjoyed the data themed word search activity, and were helped by their families and our ambassadors to complete it to win prizes. Older audiences enjoyed playing with things like the binary boxes, which are a simple colour coded communication system similar to the Morse Code. These helped them to understand how digital binary communication works.

The team of experts

A special thanks to everybody involved with planning and ensuring that the day was a BIG success! The event couldn’t have taken place without organisation from University staff – Jeff Chilton and Jagdev Bhogal, who worked with Thinktank to arrange our space for the day. Lecturers Chris Maguire and Ash Mahmood both provided invaluable knowledge in their respective subject areas to help with the creation of the demonstrations and conversations with visitors.

This was a hugely successful event, with many visitors commenting on how well the experts balanced the activities with education. I really enjoyed being part of this and would recommend getting involved in such events to all students.


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