Lab Meeting on 3 October 2019

There was no lab meeting this week because there was a Turing Town Hall (where we get to grill the Institute Director).

We are delighted to share this video from May of the Pint of Science panel discussion featuring Kirstie Whitaker, Dianna Smith, Rebecca Sterry, Suzanne Iwai and Georgia Aitkenhead on Empowering autistic people through citizen science.

Now on to the updates!

Celebrations and cool things to share

Kirstie is excited to be standing for membership of the inaugural Brain Imaging Data Structure (BIDS) Steering Group. It’s taken a lot of work to develop this iteration of the governance structure. The nominees had to find groups of 5 people we thought would be a balanced “slate” of committee members. She’s looking forward to see how it all shakes out!

Patricia came across this course about ways of thinking in informatics and thinks it should be mandatory for everyone working with data! 💯 She also recommends watching Angela Saini on BBC in “Eugenics: Science’s Greatest Scandal”

Konrad has enjoyed working with Kirstie, Petra Vertes and Ross Markello this week to pythonise their analyses of Allen Human Brain Atlas gene data. They were working on making sure that Ross’ pyls package: (which unfortunately needs to be renamed because someone already has that name on PyPI 😢).

Yo has her PhD programme’s 9-month review next week to double check if she’s good enough to continue researching with Manchester. She and the lab are all very confident that the answer will be yes 💖

Sarah has been busy writing her SSI Fellowship application but did manage to squeeze 4 Hacktoberfest PRs in! (In the first 3 days of October 🚀✨)

Elizabeth shared this extract on privacy dependencies from the most recent Data Science Community Newsletter (#177):

these are the revelations that come not from an individual’s admissions, but from the disclosures of others or patterns that pertain to a group of which we are a member…. so much anomaly detection is rooted in graph theory. The groups to which we belong are incredibly revealing and it’s great to see data privacy theory catching up.

Louise finished her Carpentries instructor training! Congratulations!! 🚀🎉✨

Questions we’re thinking about

Kirstie wrote a one page description of data science and AI for the Autistica Artificial Intelligence and Early Intervention Summit. It needs to be accessible for a very broad audience….who are spending two days designing AI studies! It was a difficult task - there are so many different definitions (to the extent that there are almost none!) For example Elizabeth considers AI distinct from data science, with machine learning being the link between the two, whereas Kirstie defines AI as strongly overlapping with data science! One possible distinction is that data scientists have to carefully complete their feature engineering and data cleaning in a way that AI scientists don’t!

Ten team members standing in front of a lake smiling at the camera
Venn diagram describing data science and the skills needed to get a job in the field. Source: The Berkeley Science Review, 2013 written by Anna Schneider and artwork by Natalia Bilenko (modified from Drew Conway).

Patricia was looking for some encouragement to get in touch with a German language podcast that talks about podcasting. We all agreed it was a great idea. Go for it!

Yo is struggling with getting her work done at work - there are too many interruptions! She uses headphones and they help but not enough and was wondering if anyone had had success with “please don’t interrupt me between time x and y” types of agreements in their office? The lab generally agreed that open plan offices are terrible for getting work done, and recommended booking meeting rooms to get totally focused! (This only works if you have enough rooms that you aren’t making it difficult for your colleages to have meetings!) The research engineering team at the Turing are experimenting with having no meetings during particular times to try to make it easier for folks to have concentrated work time without being interrupted. We’ll see how it goes 🤞

Sarah wrote a script for her SSI Fellowship presentation and is looking for feedback and opinions:


Phew! Amazing work. Thank you everyone! 💖💖💖