Cortana Intelligence Suite and learning Azure ML, Jupyter notebooks with R and Python


With Cortana Intelligence Suite, students had access to a rich set of tools such as Azure ML, Jupyter notebooks with R and Python, and rich visualization capabilities with Power BI.

At each of our hacks, students were given access to a collection of local data sets and challenged to develop a useful predictive analytical application. Students picked from a wide range of areas including healthcare, environment, smart city design and more. With the support and mentorship of university faculty and Microsoft technical staff, students wrestled through the creative problem solving and technical implementation aspects of data science.

It’s no secret that there’s a vast trove of benefits that data science can offer to organizations of all stripes. However, we simultaneously face a situation where there is a global shortage of data science talent.

As Patrick Wolfe, Deputy Director of the Alan Turing Institute in London, put it,

“Data sets are coming faster than we can even conceive them, so we need really smart people to come up with new algorithms, new ideas and new solutions on how to make sense of this data.”

Many high-performing teams even published their models in app stores.

One example is Live London, the winners from UC London, who developed a safe neighbourhood tracker app available on the Android app store. Learn more about the London hackathon in the video below:

Participants in the hackathons found Microsoft Azure Machine Learning to be powerful and easy to use, combining their own knowledge of R and Python with the built-in algorithms using ML Studio.

“I found that Azure ML was great because of how smooth the workflow got, and the ability to swap between languages,”

Hyojong Justin Kim from UCL goes further, comparing Azure Machine Learning to MIT’s popular kids’ programming environment:

“…for me [it’s] like Scratch for data science, it makes everything so much easier, and [allows me to] visualize everything. So I just have to drag-and-drop and boom it’s done!

Programs for researchers and educators

Regardless of where you are in your academic or research career, there are a number of ways we can support you. Azure for Research offers access to cloud computing for your data science projects, as well as training around the world. Cortana Intelligence Suite offers big data advanced analytics. Students can get a DreamSpark account on Microsoft Azure to use for their coursework and educational activities. The DreamSpark program gives students no-cost access to the Microsoft software used by professional developers. Schools that are enrolled in DreamSpark can get additional software as well. If you’re an educator interested in bringing data science tools to your classroom, or if you want to point your students to low- and no-cost access to software and developer tools, visit the Azure in Education program.

By hosting hackathons we have seen the desire and passion for budding Data Scientists to drive progress through data knows no geographical bounds.participants share a deep passion to harness the power of data and use it to improve the world around us.

So what’s next if you’re a faculty member or educator, we provide curriculum assets and free grants for teaching purposes and consultation support to educators. Please email analyticsedu@service.microsoft.com to join this invite-only program.

If you are looking to participate in an online data science hackathon, click here.

If you’re a researcher, the Microsoft Research Data Science Initiative provides grants and dozens of datasets for data science projects – learn more here.

Learn more

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