Quest for answers to energy challenge continue in SAS Top Data Scientist competition

More than 100 data scientists can access SAS analytics software to unlock energy insights

Budding data scientists are being called on to join more than 100 that have already signed up to take part in the UK & Ireland's first national data science competition. SAS, the leader in business analytics software and services, is making its software available for free so data scientists can analyse an open data set from the Department of Energy & Climate Change. The data has the potential to provide answers to the UK's affordable energy and ecological challenges – as outlined in the recent Energy Act. Pressure to do something is mounting in the UK energy industry as the surplus of energy supply versus demand nears zero.

The competition - which requires entrants to forecast energy demand in 2020 - has already attracted a lot of interest from student and professional data scientists, including employees from some of the UK's largest financial, energy and commercial organisations, as well as universities across the UK & Ireland. A high quality panel of judges has also been assembled, including Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP and renowned artist Stanza. A full list of the judges is available on the website.

This high standard of participant is an encouraging trend for the UK Government's Information Economy Strategy, which values a skilled workforce, advanced tools and 'data as an enabler' as the three pillars for success. However, research by SAS and e-skills UK, the employer body for the digital industries, reveals the number of big data specialists demanded by business will grow by nearly 250 per cent over the five years to 2017, yet three in five businesses already struggle to hire people with this expertise. This is why SAS invests nearly £10m a year in developing these skills at schools and universities, and wants even more people to get involved in the Top Data Scientist competition.

Dr Mee Chi So, Lecturer in Marketing Analytics at the University of Southampton, commented: "We are seeing industry looking for more people with skills in data analytics, whether that is at the basic level of merging data to the ability to manipulate and model huge data sets. Students are not always aware of the new opportunities in this field and they need to realise that this is a really great and rewarding career to go into. People still think about the most secure and well-paid jobs being in traditional areas like law and medicine."

Laurie Miles, Head of Analytics at SAS UK & Ireland and one of the competition's judges, added: "The Top Data Scientist competition is a great platform to showcase the combination of being data savvy and creative. In today's world, it is no longer enough to simply manage spreadsheets. Data needs to be creatively analysed by asking the right questions and finding answers that you did not know even existed. This competition is all about showcasing the art of the possible from analysing data."


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SAS is the leader in analytics. Through innovative analytics, business intelligence and data management software and services, SAS helps customers at more than 83,000 sites make better decisions faster. Since 1976, SAS has been giving customers around the world THE POWER TO KNOW®.

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