National Big Data and Technologies Workshop 2018 in Pakistan

By Kashif Bashir - Chair, IEEE ComSoc Lahore Section, Pakistan

The IEEE ComSoc Lahore Chapter, in collaboration with the IEEE Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) Student Branch Lahore Section, organized a two-day event, the “National Big Data and Technologies Workshop 2018” on 24-25 March 2018. The event was hosted by LUMS Pakistan.

In the context of the emergence and recent advancement of big data industries around the world, this workshop was organized to enable the participants become familiarized with the concepts and receive the hands-on experience of some of the tools and techniques used both in industry and academia. The program covered three lab sessions and five very informative talks on various applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence. A total of 130 participants from both industry (36 percent) and the academia (64 percent) attended the workshop.

At the start of this event, in his welcome note, Dr. Shahid Masud, the Dean of the LUMS School of Science and Engineering, stressed the importance of big data and artificial intelligence and thanked all the speakers and said that this workshop would be beneficial to inspire more interest in intelligence-based applications in academia and industry, and that it would solidify our efforts for a quick adoption of such technologies in our society.

Dr. Faisal Sheikh from KICS UET Lahore, in the first technical talk of the event, presented a talk on “Deep Learning and Applications.” In his talk, Dr. Sheikh presented his work on Optical Character Recognition and General Pattern Recognition to digitize historical manuscripts. Next, Dr. Rana M. Gufran from FAST National University of Computer & Emerging Sciences (NUCES) Faisalabad delivered a lecture on “Gradient Descent Algorithm and its Variants.” In the third talk of the event, Prof. Dr. Mian M. Awais from LUMS presented his work on “Muweshi Paal (Animal Farmer) System.” He explained that the aim of this system is to provide “virtual veterinary services” to indigent animal farmers in remote areas.

In the first lab session, Mr. Ahmad Nadeem, a data analyst at Energy Informatics Group (EIG), LUMS conducted the session on “Data Analytics Workshop using R” Part1. The attendees were first introduced to IDE, which is used for R and its coupling syntax. Participants used a data set on statistics of the Kickstarter project from Kaggle and applied different machine learning algorithms to predict certain future outputs, and gained an insight into data by introducing data visualization using Plotly. R was indeed one of the most important takeaways for the attendees, as they received hands on experience with machine learning

In the second lab session, Mr. Mazhar Javed Awan from the University of Management & Technology (UMT) Lahore first delivered an introductory lecture on how SQL is used in big data analytics and its useful features such as distribution of data across a cluster, parallel data processing, and its support for different machine learning algorithms. The lecture was followed by a 90-minutes hands-on workshop during which participants implemented the learned concepts.

Then Mohsin Ali, senior manager from Infogistic, presented a talk on big data in health care. In the last technical talk of this event, Dr. Ali Hammad Akbar from the University of Engineering & Technology (UET) Lahore presented his research paper, “Indoor Localization Using Wi-Fi: Top Five Technologies,” on application of machine learning algorithms on fingerprinting data to improve indoor localizations. His work showed that the performance of the top five algorithms obtaining an average accuracy of more than 95 percent.

In the last lab session, Mr. Ahmad Nadeem, a data Analyst from Energy Informatics Group (EIG), LUMS conducted the session on “Data Analytics Workshop using R” Part2.

Mr. Kashif Bashir, Chair of the IEEE Lahore chapter, presented the Lapin pin for the 65th anniversary of ComSoc to all the invited speakers at the workshop

At the end of the event, Dr. Amjad Hussain, Chair of the IEEE Lahore Section, gave a closing speech sharing his experience with the students and commending the effort of the IEEE ComSoc Lahore chapter and IEEE LUMS Student Branch Lahore Section and all those who organized this event and the participants as well for their motivation to learn about the new trends. At the end, souvenirs and certificates were distributed to the speakers and participants, respectively.