By Hugh Quigley see more by Hugh here.

Irish Tech News was pleased to be invited to the inaugural DatSci Awards at the Aviva Stadium last week where over 200 of those involved in the Data Science industry came along to celebrate some of their achievements.

Data Scientist is the title given to an emerging field of professionals who make a science out of studying data.  Wikipedia defines Data Science as “an interdisciplinary field about processes and systems to extract?knowledge?or insights from?data?…,either structured or unstructured” and is garnering attention with a projected growth in excess of 1.5million jobs according to management consulting firm McKinsey.  Data scientists are now being seen as valuable contributors to organisations by providing valuable insights drawn from data.

These inaugural awards were the first opportunity for practitioners in Ireland to gather together and recognise some of the significant achievements amongst their peers. And just to counter any concept of data scientists being a quiet bunch, happiest in a dimly lit corner mining data, the awards ceremony was a glittering event with a live DJ pumping out music and a Gin Bar keeping the spirits lively.

Explaining this emerging profession a 2012 Harvard Business Review article suggested that Data Scientists should be thought of as a “hybrid of data hacker, analyst, communicator and trusted advisor” which gives some indication of the left-field thinking and creativity typical of so many of the attendees at the awards.  This HBR article was titled “Data Scientist: The Sexiest Job of the 21St Century” and mentioned more than once at the awards – clearly for a young dynamic sector it doesn’t do any harm to emphasize the sexiness of its members.

Master of Ceremonies for the day was Paul Hayes, one of the luminaries of Dublin’s start-up world, who maintained an entertaining and irreverent commentary on all involved, even dispensing some free PR advice along the way. One of the highlights of the ceremony was a wide ranging debate on the future of Artificial Intelligence with Paul O’Grady and Fergal Reid: both the panelists were apparently able to outdo Paul Hayes on the number of doctorates acquired.

A highly informative key note address was given by Noel Garry of IBM who outlined some of the interesting data science work being undertaken by the team in Damonstown.  Noel explained how IBM and Watson are beginning to make significant progress in the Health Sector, helping to identify significant healthcare cost savings for New York State and working with Memorial Sloan Kettering on improving oncology diagnosis.  One of the interesting areas of data analysis is the correlation of weather and climate with other data, prompting IB|M to invest in The Weather Company, i.e. the application providing weather data to billions of smartphones.

It was suggested at the awards that Ireland could become a leading centre for Data Science in Europe and the ceremony clearly showed a vibrant and engaged community of professionals ready to lead the way.  As part of building the future, income from tickets to the event is being invested in a Level 9 Scholarship Fund, to help a future Data Scientist along their way.

The awards were organised by a team from CeDAR (Centre for Applied Data Analytics) and Next Generation Recruitment with much of the success of the event due to Laura Kennedy of Next Generation and Grooveyard Event Management.

A full list of the award nominees and winners can be found at

Derek Anderson at Startup Grind Dublin, bringing value to startups

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