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Facilitator Stresses Importance of Data Science to Businesses

The Guest Speaker at a recent Town and Gown Seminar of the Department of Physics, Covenant University, Mr Olusoji Alegbemi, has stressed the importance of data science to businesses. In his presentation titled “Physics in the World of Data Science”, he said that data science enabled businesses to process huge amounts of structured and unstructured big data to detect patterns. “This, in turn, allows companies to increase efficiencies, manage costs, identify new market opportunities, and boost their market advantage,” he stated.

Mr Alegbemi, the Chief Executive Officer, ELMICLON Limited, Lagos, described data science as the practice of mining large data sets of raw data, both structured and unstructured, to identify patterns and extract actionable data insight from them. He said data science was an interdisciplinary field, and its foundations included statistics, inference, computer science, predictive analytics, machine learning algorithm development, and big data.

While highlighting the life cycle of data science, the Guest Speaker said the first stage in the data science pipeline workflow involved capture, which meant acquiring data, sometimes extracting it, and entering it into the system. “The next stage is maintenance, which includes data warehousing, data cleansing, data processing, data staging, and data architecture,” he noted.

He explained further that data processing followed and constituted one of the data science fundamentals. According to him, data exploration and processing distinguished data scientists from data engineers. He said this stage involved data mining, classification and clustering, modelling, and summarizing insights gleaned from the data - the processes that created effective data.

Mr Alegbemi, who stated that the next thing to do was data analysis, explained that data scientists conducted exploratory and confirmatory work, regression, predictive analysis, qualitative analysis, and text mining. “This stage is why there is no such thing as cookie-cutter data science - when it’s done properly,” he said.

The Guest Speaker said that during the final stage, the data scientist communicated insights, which involved data visualization, data reporting, the use of various business intelligence tools, and assisting businesses, policymakers, and others in smarter decision making.

On why data science was important, he said there would be around 40 zettabytes of data (40 trillion gigabytes) by the year 2022. “Internet users generate about 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. By 2022, every person on earth will be generating about 146,880 GB of data every day, and by 2025, that will be 165 zettabytes every year,” said Mr Alegbemi.

He said that simple data analysis could interpret data from a single source or a limited amount of data; however, data science tools were critical to understanding big data and data from multiple sources in a meaningful way. He added that looking at some of the specific data science applications in business illustrated his point and provided a compelling introduction to data science.

The Guest Speaker said people could use data science for anomaly detection in dynamic graphs and the Hubble space telescope project. He pointed out that people could also use data science for risk reduction systems in sniper detection, counter-sniper, surveillance detection counter-surveillance operations, and counter-intelligence operations.

He stated that data science was also important in counter-intelligence operations, with national security relying more and more on big data. “For instance, spy agencies have long relied on multiple data sources to produce intelligence reports. These reports include a terrorism-based report, terrorist groups, activities, and individuals etc.,” said Mr Alegbemi.

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