UTS Science in Focus: Big data and The Paradox of Probability

16 November 2016
6:00 PM

University Hall

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Big data: the future is here  - Prof Anthony Dooley

Have you ever wondered, when Coles or Woolworths email you their weekly specials, how they know what’s on your shopping list? Is this a coincidence or pure luck?

Neither I’m afraid. It’s a clever use of information and understanding of big data by businesses who want to better target their customers’ buying behaviours. Information is power, and more and more businesses are now recognising the opportunities that big data brings. In fact, Forbes recently listed ‘data analyst’ as one of the hottest job in 2016!

So, what is big data? What information is being collected? Does that mean my information is readily out there? What do businesses do with all this information? How do they store it? Is it secure? How can understanding data help solve problems? Or is data controlling our lives? 

Join Professor Anthony Dooley, as he helps us makes sense of big data. Professor Dooley is a mathematician and Head of School, at UTS Science’s School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences. Professor Dooley is passionate about communicating the usefulness and importance of mathematics to the public, and believes that mathematics can help us better understand the almost infinite amount of digital data around us. 

The paradox of probability - Dr Stephen Woodcock

Barely a week passes without seeing a headline proclaiming that some common food or behaviour is either associated with an increased or decreased health risk, or often both, in contradictory reports. How can it be that seemingly rigorous scientific studies can produce the exact opposite conclusions?

In this talk, Dr Stephen Woodcock takes us through some ‘probability paradoxes’ explaining how surprising, counterintuitive and often misleading results can arise. With so much data and information around us, understanding statistical models and their correct interpretation is becoming incredibly important.

Dr Woodcock is an applied mathematician whose research is motivated by a drive to develop solutions and models for solving real problems in both natural and engineered systems. He is a regular contributor to outreach programs to schools and very passionate about science communication. He frequently writes for The Conversation where he applies his skills to issues as diverse as traffic congestion, game theory to Footy tipping and cricket scoring and negative gearing.

He is currently working on a diverse range of projects including coral health, facial recognition software, fertility outcomes for chlamydia patients and modelling the physical development of elite youth sportsmen. 

UTS Science in Focus is a free public lecture series presented by special guests and UTS experts in science; discussing a range of important scientific issues confronting contemporary Australia.

Registration is essential, follow the "attend" button above.

Level 3, Room 623
14 Oct 2016
Categories:
Health and Science