Tuesday, 23 August 2016

CODATA-RDA School of Research Data Science

I recently attended the 'CODATA-RDA School of Research Data Science' at International Centre for Theoretical Physics,Trieste, Italy. With participants from almost 16 developing countries from varied academic backgrounds, we had an amazing workshop with all hands-on training with specific tools and softwares.
Middle East and South-east Asia
Opinions from Africa

Ideas about Open Science from East and Australia

Reasons not to share data and counter-arguments

The idea of Open Science and it's principles was the key focus of our workshop. We discussed a lot of myths and stereotypes surrounding our individual ideas of Open Science and how different factors influence different regions for open sharing.

While accessibility to Internet connection  is a major issue in Cuba, unwillingness to share one's work before publishing it is mostly common among all regions.
With hands-on practice, we learned about topics ranging from basics like Unix, R, SQL and Git to advance like Neural Networks, High Performance Computing, Distributed Environment and Visualization.

A peak into one of the visualization ideas

Participants experimenting with visual ideas through pen and paper

 We got lucky enough to grab the recent journal of 'Open Data in a Big world', too.

Apart from technical expertise, I met so many people and learned about new culture and places due to the global immersion. It was a lot of learning.The fact that how 'where we are born' can influence our lives so much, amazed me. How subtly we get entitled to so many things and we don't appreciate them enough!
A Saudi Arabian friend told me that there are still walls within the university classrooms to segregate boys and girls.While a Cuban guy shared that there is no internet there, for general people. Just because he's a professor, he can access the web at 36Kbps. I can't even imagine, both the situations!

Somehow, they depict how important and hard , open access and sharing of research is, for some communities. And it's a bigger and much needed goal!

My favorite success story from the workshop is about my roommate from India. With no technical background at all and complaints of how her programmer colleagues from office used to trick her by telling how complex work they are doing, she gained a huge confidence after the workshop and learned a lot of 'know-hows' about Data Science.

In and all, it was an amazing experience with lot of learning. I learned about international standards of Open access and data sharing. I got a huge community to keep the spirit of 'Open Science' high and spread across our own local communities.
Thank you all organizers, directors and sponsors for making it possible.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Jagriti Yatra 2015

JY is about living life with some 450 random strange souls.
It is about that feeling of owning the whole train.
It's about that care a random yatri shows, when you are freezing in the cold nights of Deoria.
It's about exposing oneself into the rural sands of India, while all you did until now was visiting malls.
It's about being introduced in new cultures, states and languages.

JY is about exploration of self and outside.
It is about hidden heroes and unsung stories of India.
It's about letting go of your own personal opinion and putting oneself in other's shoes.
It's about couples, lasting relationships and business partnerships.
It's about summarizing 15 days into 'Who are you?' , 'What do you do?', 'From which part of the world, do you belong?'

JY is then about forgetting a fellow yatri's name with whom you had an introduction hour before.
It's about sleeping in the bumpy buses, moving trains, longer sessions and comforting auditoriums.
It's about those continuous complaints regarding food which we can't stop eating.
It's about looking for friends from all the states and 23 countries to crash, while traveling
It is about breaking myths and stereotypes about middle India and their real problems

JY is about that bio-gas plant working in a self sustainable village of Bihar.
It's about that family business being replicated around the world.
It's about realizing the fact that not only bitcoin, but clothing can be used as a currency
It's about interaction with grandmothers who never learned to read and write, but pursuing careers as solar engineers
It's about stories that defines success in variable terms

JY is about physical strain, mental boggling and transformation, no matter how little
It's about that yatri who is keeping record of 450 numbers, e-mails and adding friends on facebook
It's about thousand selfies everybody took on their voyage of exploring India.
It's about learning French and teaching Hindi to an Algerian woman.
It's about forming new opinions

JY is about celebrating new year's eve in train that one will never forget,for life
It's about a conversation with both not knowing each other's languages
It's about having meals on the platform and days of continuous eating
It's about that experience of bathing in the train and hanging clothes around
It's about reminiscing this feeling of owning the train,every time one steps onto a station.

for some, it's life changing
for others, a travel exploration
for some, it's about new friends
for others, new ideas and enterprises
for some, meeting inspiring role models
for others, those ever lasting bonds
for some, that feeling of not missing home
for others, finding a new comfort zone

We learned to unlearn
we demystified, we criticized
we agreed to disagree
we brainstormed, we pondered

JY is about resonating with same views, ideas and people
JY is about ordinary souls with an extraordinary story
JY is just about a train with a very crazy idea.