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SAS® Global Forum 2019

Analytics in Action

Blog written by André Zitzke, Manager, Academic Programs, Africa

With an 8% share of a record breaking over 5400 attendees at SGF2019 from the Education sector the future workforce and the faculty teaching them are at the spearhead of AI technology.  

Starting off the conference with an Academic focussed stream split up in two sub-streams for Professors and Students. Both well attended with discussions on ‘Teaching Analytics in a World of Data Privacy and Ethics’, various career options, applying data for good and analytics in action case study from the real world. Students attended for free while faculty received a 50% discount and a few (17) received faculty scholarships attending free and a free workshop. 

At the awards luncheon the SAS Student Ambassadors received their trophies. Romana Sipoldova from University of Economics in Bratislava the only winner in SEMEA. 

During the conference the Student Symposium winners were announced: Echo Escape Team from Oaklahoma State University with The Type III Errors from Kennesaw State University in second place. Next time a winning team from SEMEA? Let’s get the ball rolling!  

The users program provided a multitude of opportunities to attend papers, super demos in the Quad, time to interact with R&D staff at the various SAS booths, partner and academics booths. Was it valuable? Prof Delia North from University of KwaZulu-Natal had the following to say: ‘There were so many interesting talks and demonstrations that focused on new and novel approaches to enrich the classroom experience from primary school through to the highest level at graduate school. The level of support available in the Quad, both for educators (all level trainers) and people from the workplace, was something I never could have expected.’ Don’t forget the opportunity to have your picture taken with Dr Goodnight. Faculty had multiple opportunities to meet and discuss the current state of affairs with SAS senior executives.  

The opening session with Dr Goodnight showing SAS face recognition capabilities, the Technology Connection with Oliver Schabenberger showcased SAS Analytics in Action from cancer detection imaging, interpretability enhancements to the mobile Visual Investigator app. Inspirational messages from women in analytics rocket scientist and Girls Who Code founder to scientific futurist had us all going away with tinkle in the eye about the bright future of analytics in action. 

Should you attend the next SAS Global Forum in Washington? Prof Rénette Blignaut has to following advice for other faculty: ‘In order to understand the latest technologies SGF provides a good exposure to software, hardware, applicability and networking.  I has been my best conference learning experience ever and I have attending many national and international statistical and computer conferences.  The balance in the keynote speaker selection was also well planned.  The hands-on workshops also assisted me greatly to learn and experience new technologies.  Some of the training opportunities placed me in the shoes of my students, thus better preparing me for what I need to teach in future.  The learning curve was exponential, and I would not have learnt so much by just reading about new applications or studying research papers.’ 

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