IRIS.TV Visits UCLA DataFest2016

by | May 9, 2016 | Events, News


Last weekend I volunteered at the American Statistical Association’s Data Fest which is held annually on UCLA’s campus. Robert Gould, Vice Chair of Undergraduate Studies at UCLA and Director for the “Center of Teaching Statistics”, organized the event this year in an effort to give LA area students hands-on experience working with datasets in a competitive yet collaborative environment. Data Fest includes many of the usual trappings of a hackathon – boxes and boxes of pizza, late nights, and long days crunching numbers trying to meet the Sunday deadline. Over 250 undergraduates attended, which was a huge increase from last year’s 100 participants.

For me it is always a pleasure to help students and others along their career goals. It allows me to remain humble, and reconnect with where I was in my own career at that time in my life. Being able to share and relate my own career and worldly experiences with the community is refreshing.


IRIS.TV Data Scientist, Nick Oswald mentors UCLA Datafest participants

One aspect of the event that I noticed was the amount of collaboration. Everyone was working on the same problem. By collaborating together each team was able to learn and fail faster. Most of the students in attendance studied statistics and were primarily using the “R” programming language to do their data munging, analysis, and visualization. At similar events I have gone to in the past such as Startup Weekend, everyone is working on different problems with team members that each bring unique skillsets to the table. The result is a much more competitive and widespread presentation of apps and ideas by the time the weekend is over.

At one point during the weekend I tweeted an article about a professor who crafted a CV of his failures. I found it to be interesting, funny, and relevant to share with the students.

Remember guys…it’s OK to fail as long as you try your hardest. 

Photo published for This Princeton professor posted his CV of failures for the world to see

This Princeton professor posted his CV of failures for the world to see

This Princeton professor posted a resume of all of his failures for the world to see. Here’s why.

My hope is that they took it to heart; everyone fails and often times people who fail the most are the most successful, as long as they learn from those failures. I’m hopeful that through this event and in part through IRIS.TV’s support, these students are able to achieve their career goals and dreams being much more prepared for the possibilities and opportunities that lie ahead.

At IRIS.TV, we are building the programming platform for the future of television. We urge anyone who is interested in learning more about what we do to visit our webpage or reach out directly.

Come see IRIS.TV at Big Data Day LA on July 9, where we will be giving a more in-depth presentation on our thoughts on data science and it’s uses within our industry.

Nick Oswald is a Data Scientist for IRIS.TV. You can follow him on Twitter @nickoswald


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