November 7, 2023
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Event Insights: Making Data Work for You

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The Hartree Centre North East Hub recently hosted its first fully funded data workshop for SMEs.

Towards the end of October, the Hartree Centre North East Hub hosted a free event at The Catalyst, Newcastle for organisations to learn more about the role that data science can play and how a data driven culture can impact productivity, increase sales and reduce costs. Throughout the session, organisations were able to get hands-on with popular data science tools and platforms, whilst chatting with our data experts.

Workshop Insights

The full day workshop was jam packed with key insights from experts across a wide range of topics and attendees left with the know-how to think about data within their own organisations.

Developing a Digital Mindset

For the first deep dive session, we were joined by Ben Mushen, one of the Digital Adoption Specialists at Digital Pathfinders. Ben was able to share how developing a digital mindset can often be the first step in thinking about data and how it impacts a business’ strategy. To conclude, Ben shared some nuggets of wisdom, saying that classifying, cleaning and understanding data fully before automating it is the key to success.

What is Data Classification?

Data classification is the process of categorising data based on attributes like sensitivity and importance. It helps organisations to organise, secure, and manage their data effectively, ensuring compliance with regulations and making it easier to understand.

What is Data Cleaning?

Data cleaning, also known as data cleansing, is the process of identifying and correcting errors, inconsistencies, and inaccuracies in datasets. It is crucial for improving data quality and reliability, ensuring that data-driven decisions and analyses are based on accurate information.

To Code or Not to Code

That is the question! Whilst coding can often see like the conventional, albeit intimidating, solution, there are often other ways around it that might not be as complex or may be better suited to the problem at hand, such as using no code or low code tools.

What is No Code?

No-code is an approach to software development that allows users to create applications and automate processes without writing traditional code, using intuitive visual interfaces and pre-built components. It democratises app development, making it accessible to people with limited programming experience and accelerating the creation of digital solutions.

What is Low Code?

Low-code combines visual, drag-and-drop tools with some degree of traditional coding to streamline and accelerate the application development process. It allows developers to build applications with less manual coding, reducing development time and making it easier to create custom software solutions.

Reflections from an SME

Steven Brewer, Research Manager at the Hartree Centre North East Hub then shared some insights and a cautionary tale about past endeavours with data, text mining and using Large Language Models (LLM)s.

What are Large Language Models (LLM)?

Large language models (LLMs) are advanced artificial intelligence systems that have been trained on vast amounts of text data to understand and generate human language. They use deep learning techniques, such as neural networks, to process and generate text, making them capable of tasks like language translation, text summarization, and question-answering. You may have heard or even used OpenAI’s LLM, ChatGPT.

Steve spoke about the importance of adaptability, being aware that things can (literally!) change overnight and that being flexible is often a necessity rather than just a recommendation.

Sentiment Analysis

The last session of the day saw Dr Diana Maynard from the Department of Computer Science at University of Shefield talking about how Natural Language Processing has helped to better understand gender-based online violence against female journalists.  

What is Natural Language Processing?  

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a branch of artificial intelligence (AI) that empowers computers to understand, interpret, and generate human language, enabling them to process and interact with text or speech data.  

In this case, NLP was used for sentiment analysis of tweets directed at female journalists. The processor has been able to find and track offensive words, understand subtle language differences, identify gaslighting and is now even working towards being able to predict when online hate can become a physical threat.  

Thank You

Thank you so much to our knowledgeable speakers for coming along and sharing some fantastic pearls of wisdom. All of the organisations in attendance were able to leave with some information about how data can help them to grow, and plenty of next steps to consider.

“I thought it was really good that the event opened up possibilities of what you can do with your business going forward with regards to data.”

- Mark Bewick, MB3 Holdings Ltd

Want to Learn More?

Please keep your eyes peeled over the next months for future fully funded events and longer form data projects from the Hartree Centre North East Hub by checking out our website to sign up to our newsletter for email updates.

If you would like to better understand more about how data can help your organisation to grow, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at Hartree Centre North East Hub at: