Our experience at EARL London 2017
Earlier this week, I had the immense pleasure to attend EARL in London. I flew in from Warsaw on Tuesday and headed straight to my room. The event started with an evening reception, which was great for networking, obviously. I didn’t believe that the weather in London could change so quickly, but as it turns out, I was wrong. When I stepped outside after the reception, I was faced with squalls of rain and strong gusts of wind.
On the day of my talk, I woke up and was surprised to see a sunny blue sky. I had done my research and knew exactly which presentations I wanted to see. Cathy Atkinson from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy gave a very detailed talk on ‘What to do when your data is words.’ One of the most interesting things she discussed was that processing data to remove various stops words and punctuation. Some phrases, like ‘state of the art’, lose their meaning when stop words are removed. One of the things she mentioned where methods to counteract these kinds of issues. After processing the data, she was able to convert it into numbers and treat it as if it were any other data set. She was very methodical in her presentation, which allowed the audience to fully understand what they would have to do to recreate the process.
James Lawrence, from the Behavioral Insights Team, gave my favorite talk of the second session on ‘Reducing traffic deaths and serious injuries.’ This talk was not as technical as Cathy’s, but had great storytelling and was very insightful. It turns out that East Sussex County has a surprising number of traffic deaths. What was most shocking is that a motorcyclist in a crash at highway speeds has more than a 50% chance of facing serious injuries or death. What’s more, residents of East Sussex were not responsible for most of these accidents. Most serious accidents were outside of cities on the roads connecting them. This allowed local police officers to be more informed about the location of their caution signs. As this is an R conference, James presented how they used R for analysis and to present their results.
I spoke during the second session on ‘Scaling Shiny to 700 users’ You can take a look at the slides here. Feel free to comment below if you have any questions.
The evening reception topped off the evening with a cruise along the Thames from Parliment all the way to the Thames Barrier. The views were amazing, providing a unique perspective of London.
I hope to see you at the next EARL.