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Art exhibit shows off the beauty of data

The Art of Analytics project visualizes complex datasets as works of art.

In her day-to-day work, Yasmeen Ahmad tackles immensely complex datasets, deploying an arsenal of approaches and methodologies that would sound intimidating to most lay people. From predictive modelling to text analytics, time series analysis to development of attribution strategies, few people can easily wrap their heads around what such terms mean, and even fewer are capable of drawing actionable insights form them – which is why data scientists such as herself are always in such high demand.

Ahmad worked in the life sciences industry before pivoting to commercial work, where she is now Director of Think Big Analytics, the consulting branch of IT service management company Teradata. Over many years helping clients across a variety of industries to make sense of their data, however, she realised that the best way help them see meaning in those datasets was to literally paint them a picture. Visualisation is a core component of any data science and analytical project," she explains.

"It is almost always used at the beginning to understand the datasets you are working with, and can help to quickly identify anomalies, outliers and strong correlations in the data. As far as data is concerned, she says, a picture really is worth a thousand words, as visualisation helps to add meaning on top of data that is much easier to assimilate for humans than descriptive words or single numbers and values alone.

Her team would therefore routinely include such visuals when they presented their key results to clients, and found that even people who might not be well versed in data science or technology could still connect with them. The visualisations supported storytelling around a project, engaging business stakeholders to understand connections, relationships and associations in the data.


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