Data science news round up

Our tight-knit community of data scientist have shared a wealth of news and inspiring projects from around the web over the past couple of months. Here is a brief round up of the more interesting articles, and remember, you can join in on our slack group.

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Millions of Chinese farmers reap benefits of huge crop experiment

An article that demonstrates the world changing potential of evidence based approaches to the world’s problems. For me, it’s also a reminder that it’s often not the latest buzzword or most glamourous topics that have the most impact.

Winning with Data Science

Next is an article examining the business and organisational side of data science. This is a topic that probably doesn’t get enough attention compared to the latest and coolest algorithm. It’s important for data scientists to take an interest in how organisations should adapt, if they don’t it will probably be decided by someone not qualified to make the decision!

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What Comes After Deep Learning?

This article examines whether deep learning is actually a blind alley and considers what new approaches might be next for data science. Also a brief examination of the question of US vs China in the AI “arms race”.

‘Who’s Leading AI’ Isn’t the Intelligent Question

Our final article explores the much talked about question of whether the US or China is winning and why it’s not the right question to ask.

If you found any of these articles interesting then do come and join the discussion on our Slack group, where you will also find details of meetups. https://datasciencehk.slack.com/

September un-Hackathon

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Our second event!

Following the success of our first event, we again met up at the MakerHive in Kennedy Town for our un-hackathon. This is our term for a hackathon where the agenda would be set by participants and people would have fun coding together, instead of being a competition. It’s a way to improve your skills and share projects you are passionate about with the community.

Some projects from our previous event were pitched again while a number of new projects were also started. After teams were formed, the coding quickly got under way.Attendees gathered for the presentation as the teams showed off their results.

Web scraping

A initiative to scrape public data with Python and R, Scrapy was used to pull HKEX data.

Visualisation of the block chain

On 12th May, computers worldwide were hit by the WannaCry ransomware attack. The attackers asked ransom payments to be made to a number of bitcoin wallets. Blockchain data about these wallets from the period of the attack was sourced and visualised using D3.

Horse racing prediction

“Anomalies” in betting market for horse racing mean that the outcome of a horse race could be predicted. RapidMiner and Python was used to scrape the data and create a predictive model.

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The team were well organised and even produced a presentation of their results!

Traffic analysis

This team scraped data on traffic incidents using Scrapy (Python) and then visualised using R.

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Crypto-currencies investment strategies

This project is a follow-up of the previous unhackathon, at the end of which we remained puzzled by some unexplainable moves in certain currencies.
This time we had better grasp at it and we went for analysing correlations and properties of simple indices made of a basket of currencies.

The global correlation among 20 first currencies amounted to 36% since 2017

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this is low enough to hope for some diversification effect to take place.

Building an index where each currency has the same weight is indeed providing a real overperformance if we consider BTCUSD as the benchmark.
Moreover scaling down the index so that volatility, or risk, is equivalent to the one of Bitcoin vs USD then produces significant gain of 15% over BTC.
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On top of this the skew while negative for Bitcoin becomes positive for the index : this means that frequent small losses encountered by the index are compensated by less frequent big much bigger gains !

This is encouraging to build up some other indices and strategies, and this project could yield to promising applications :

  • Trading strategies, either short or medium term, dynamic or static, including machine learning algorithms for the discovery of alpha in this market
  • The development of an algorithmic trading tools following these strategies
  • Also some online analytics on single currencies or portfolio of them
  • Potentially some advisory for portfolio construction

 

Our first event: Unhackathon at the Hive

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What is an Unhackathon anyway?

Data Science Hong Kong was set up to as a way for people interested in data science to network and share ideas. We have an active public Slack group where people regularly share articles and discuss all things tech and data science. The group has organised a number of informal meetups before but we wanted to a start a regular event based around coding and presenting, and not just on talking and networking.

There are many IT, tech and data science events in Hong Kong but they are infrequent and often serve primarily as a marketing or recruitment tool. Not satisfied with the state of tech events in Hong Kong, we set out to create an event that was started from the bottom up and would focus on who knew the most and not who spoke the loudest, which is inviting to beginners but not to those uninterested in technical details.

We have therefore started a regular unhackathon. This is our term for a hackathon where the agenda would be set by participants and people would have fun coding together, instead of being a competition. It’s a way to improve your skills and share projects you are passionate about with the community.

Our first event gets under way

Our first gathering was made possible by The Hive. They were very keen on supporting the data science community in Hong Kong and let us use the MakerHive in Kennedy Town which was a fantastic venue for our first event.

The event started with the floor being opened to pitches. After signing up for a slot by putting up a post-it, pitchers were given 5 minutes to convince others to work on their project.

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There were many great ideas and teams were formed around those that attracted enough interest. Discussions were soon under way on what each team wanted to achieve by the end of the day.

 

Of course, being a hackathon, there was coding, coding and more coding!

 

As it became time for lunch, teams headed out to Kennedy Town center to find a restaurant. Any loss of coding output was more than made up for by the opportunity that people got to better know their teammates. Real data scientists don’t skip lunch!

Presentation time

4 hours and much coding later the deadline for presentations loomed. All the teams gladly accepted a 20 minute grace period to put the final touches on their work.

 

Some of the projects presented were :

  • Address mapping in Hong Kong
  • Twitter topic analysis
  • Crypto-currency analysis
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    This team aimed at building an index of cryptocurrencies similar to usual financial market indices, to be used as a benchmark of refined to explore portfolio strategies.

 

  • Facial Expression Recognition using Keras
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    The team of 3 used a MNIST convolutional neural network model and retrained it on facial expression data from Kaggle, with 55% accuracy over 7 categories

 
Everyone had made great progress on their projects and a common theme across presentations was that so much more could have been accomplished with just a bit more time. It’s good then that we already have started planning for our next event in September!

Just because the event is over does not mean the coding stops! If you enjoyed the project you worked on or more importantly enjoyed the people you worked with then do continue collaborating and share with us what you did at our next event!

If this event seems interesting then please contact us by email, social media or join our slack group. We’ll keep you updated there about any future events.

Data Science Hong Kong