Data Science Nigeria (DSN) said Microsoft Africa is the lead sponsor of the third edition of the DSN Artificial Intelligence boot camp, which is aimed at building capacity in the use of deep learning concepts in addressing analytical gaps in financial inclusion.
According to Bayo Adekanmbi, MTN’s chief transformation officer and convener of Data Science Nigeria, the all-expense-paid boot camp will focus on the use of modern tools, particularly Microsoft Azure in Deep Learning, for emerging concepts including Convolutional Neural Networks, Recommendations Systems and Natural Language Processing, with a view to applying them in Nigerian -centric, solution-oriented use cases.
Adekanmbi said the boot camp is driven by a broader strategic intent to accelerate Nigeria’s development through a solution-oriented application of machine learning in solving social and business problems and to galvanize data science knowledge revolution for employability, technological innovation, and sustainable socio-economic development.
He said DSN is spurred on by a compelling drive to raise a new generation of data scientists and knowledge entrepreneurs who will lead high-impact artificial intelligence research for socio-economic development, transformational innovation and economic prosperity of Nigeria and the African continent at large.
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“This is reinforced in the DSN’s vision to create one million new jobs in the next ten years through world-class knowledge and best practice application,” he said.
He said distinguished data scientists from leading research anacademic institutions from the USA, United Kingdom, and South Africa will facilitate the five-day residential Artificial Intelligence boot camp and Hackathon, which will be held between 10 and 14 October 2018.It will feature face-to-face teaching, virtual online classes, and a hands-on hackathon using the Kaggle.com platform,” he said.
Microsoft, through its 4Afrika Initiative, has for the last five years been aggressively upskilling the African developer community in their use of modern technologies, equipping them to innovate in the fields of healthcare, education, finance, and agriculture.
Through its 16 AppFactory academies, Interns4Afrika, MySkills4Afrika, Microsoft Virtual Academy and AI PopUp Lab programmes, it has paired developers with technical experts to gain real-world experience in cloud computing, secure coding, machine learning, bot framework, and data analytics.
According to Adekambi, the free residential boot camp comes with an intensive requirement.
“All the participants are selected from an ongoing pan-Nigeria selection competition on recommendation engine algorithm after an intensive ninety-day pre-study of learning materials in machine learning theories and practice. All participants are also required to have a working knowledge of Microsoft Azure,” he said.
The boot camp learning sessions will be enriched by leading experts from different parts of the world, including Matt Grasser, director, Inclusive Fintech, Bankable Frontiers Associate, USA; Moustapha Cisse, Google AI Lab; Emmanuel Doro, principal data scientist, Jet.com, USA; Sara Hooker, Google AI Lab; Tom Dietterich, a professor & director at Oregon State University & founder BigML; Sulaimon Afolabi, Argility South Africa; and Ekow Duker, ex-chief analytics officer, Barclays Africa and MD IxioAnalytics South Africa.
Others are Jacques Ludik, CEO Cortex Logic, South Africa; Karim Beguir, CEO Instadeep AI, London; Omoju Miller, senior data scientist, GitHub, USA; Abiodun Modupe, a researcher, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa; Adewale Akinfaderin, graduate researcher, Florida State University & incoming senior data scientist, Lowe’s Inc., USA; Sakinat Folorunso, lecturer, OOU Nigeria; Robert John, data science officer, enter5ive and Yinka David-West, director, Lagos Business School.
Adekambi said Microsoft executives will visit the boot camp to facilitate classes and share global best practices on Microsoft Azure and provide hands-on mentorship to the students.
The boot camp will be heralded by a one-day industry stakeholders’ seminar on the theme, “New Algorithms for the Financially Excluded Segment”. The summit, scheduled foe Wednesday 10 October 2018 in Lagos would focus on understanding emerging trends and advanced data analytics use cases in financial inclusion.