Business musings

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Introducing Erick Ratamero

Today, we’d like to introduce Erick Ratamero. Erick is a PhD student with the Marie Curie Centre for Analytical Science Innovative Doctoral Programme (Marie Curie CAS-IDP), with which we are involved as an industrial partner. It is our pleasure to offer an industrial secondment to Erick and we’re thrilled to share with you his experiences at PyCon UK.

Photo of Erick Ratamero standing in front of his academic poster at PyCon. Erick is wearing glasses, a blue shirt and a red lanyard. The poster is white, with a blue border, and is entitled 'A multi-layered approach to cultural Dynamics (with Python!); it includes an abstract, background, details of our model and future work.

2015 was the first time PyCon UK, a well-established community conference for Python developers in the UK, added a Science track to its schedule. As it was happening here in Coventry, I have decided to join them and present the work I have been developing with my supervisor at the University of Warwick, Matthew Turner, and Matt and Debbie Stocker.

We have been working on a model for studying the two-way interactions between populations and “broadcasters”, that is, agents that can influence the opinions of a whole population. With small adaptations, broadcasters can come to represent media, advertisers, political parties, innovators and so on. It’s not finished and there is a fair amount of work to be done, but it’s interesting and we have some preliminary results, so we decided to show it to the world!

PyCon itself was a great experience. I am used to academic conferences, so going to an event where most people are in industry was a welcome change of pace. I was amazed by how strong the sense of community was! Everyone seemed completely comfortable striking conversations with anyone else, no matter how ‘important’ they were. I think there is a lot more both industry and academia could be learning from each other when it comes to software.

The poster session was really interesting. I realized how much I have come to rely on jargon to explain my work, and having to describe what I do to people who are very clever but who do not share the same vocabulary was a great challenge (that I hope to have overcome). There seemed to be a lot of interest for the work I have been doing, with lots of people asking to take pictures of the poster to read the references later and some great discussions with academics and developers alike. I will certainly attend again in 2016!

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