The rise of R EARL conference 2015

Nick Mandella our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 11/2/2015 1:21 PM
There is a fundamental shift happening in the analytics space at the moment, one which is seeing the rise of open-source software staking its claim on the sector. More frequently we at Harnham are seeing companies of all sizes introducing open-source software such as R, Python and Hadoop. Moving away from the traditional analytics tools of the past – most notably, SAS. This dramatic shift is something which has been comfortably reinforced at the EARL conference 2015.  Back by popular demand, it hosts a number of key figures in the analytics space to showcase the latest trends and topics in R.

Over the past decade R programming has arguably become the most important tool for statistical analysis, data visualisation and predictive modelling, used by statisticians and data scientists to name a few, in both academia and the commercial world.

The Benefit of Being Open

So why is R so great? Well first of all, being open-source, it’s FREE – anyone can use it. Who doesn't like stuff that comes for free? After this, you also have a robust tool that can manage any statistical task whilst providing the ability to deliver high quality visualisations. Something nicely illustrated by Joe Cheng’s presentation on the increasingly popular applications of Rshiny. On top of this, once you know how to, it’s easy to use R, and gives fast results. Romain Francois and Dirk Eddelbuettel’s ‘Rccp’ package is a perfect example of this, and has become the most widely used R package. Seamlessly combining the power of C++ and an easy to approach API that lets you write high-performance code it’s easy to see why.

Finally (and probably most importantly) its open-source nature means it becomes a collaborative effort to constantly find ways to improve its use, keeping the tool ahead of the game. With over 2 million users worldwide experimenting, finding bugs and working together as a community. R manages to stay at the forefront of its field. A tool of this nature has thrived as well as similar projects, such as Linux and MySQL; in culture; which has collaboration/brainstorming and sharing information as the key to its continued furtherance and enrichment.

One Step Ahead of the Competition

Combine these factors, and you can see why R has become one of – if not the – most popular analytics software tools right now. Both companies and universities alike are jumping on the bandwagon, meaning that more and more analysts are coming into the field having added R to their toolbox. What occurs is a snowball effect, sustaining the continued rise of R.

With R thriving it places a huge pressure on others to keep up – can they adapt or will they soon come to play little, if any, part in the analytics space in years’ to come? Whilst there was little talk at the EARL Conference about R’s biggest competitor, it became clear that the battle beginning to take shape, potentially for the years to come is between R and Python. Who will win the fight to become the data scientist’s language of choice? Despite all the talk it is obvious to see that there are pros and cons to both, and use cases whereby one would be more effective than the other. Therefore is it really a war? Or, is the outcome more likely a co-existence?

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Where Tech Meets Tradition

Where Tech Meets Tradition

If you’re lamenting the decline of handmade traditional products, cast your cares aside. There’s a new Sheriff in town and its name is, Tech. Just a generation ago, children would leave the farm or the family business, go to school, and then move on to make their place in the world doing their own thing. Away from family.  Today, the landscape has changed and those who have left are coming home. But this time, they’re bringing technology with them to help make things more efficient and more productive. Is Tech-Assisted Still Handmade? In a word, yes. Artists still make things “from scratch”, except now technologies allow them to not only see their vision in real-time, but their customers, too. Have you ever wondered what the image in your head might look like on paper or in metal? What about the design of prosthetic arms and healthcare devices by 3D printers? You’re still designing, creating.  But just like any new technology, there’s still a learning curve. Even for cutting-edge craftspeople who find that sometimes, the line between craftsmanship and high-tech creativity may be a bit of a blur. Not to mention the expense for either the equipment required or being able to offer art using traditional tools at technology-assisted prices. Somewhere between the two, there is a trade-off. It’s up to the individual to determine where and what that trade-off is. Life in the Creative Economy One of Banksy’s paintings shredded itself upon purchase at an auction recently. AI is making music and writing books. Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Blockchain all have their place in the creative economy from immersive entertainment to efficient manufacturing processes. Each of these touches the way we live now. In a joint study between McKinsey and the World Economic Forum, 'Creative Disruption: The impact of emerging technologies on the creative economy', the organisations broke down the various technologies used in the creative economy and how they’re driving change. For example: AI is being used to distill user preferences when it comes to curating movies and music. The Associated Press has used AI to free up reporters’ time and the Washington Post has created a tool to help it generate up to 70 articles a month, many stories of which they wouldn’t have otherwise dedicated staff.Machine Learning has begun to create original content. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality have come together as a new medium to help move people to get up, get active, and go play whether it’s a stroll through a virtual art gallery or watching your children play at the playground.  Where else might immersive media play out? Content today could help tell humanitarian stories or offer work-place diversity training. But back to the artisan handicrafts.  Artistry with technology Whilst publishing firms may be looking to use AI to redefine the creative economy, they are not alone. Other artists utilising these technologies include:  SculptorsDigital artistsPaintersJewellery makersBourbon distillers America’s oldest distiller has gotten on the technology bandwagon and while there is no rushing good Bourbon, but you can manage the process more efficiently. They’ve even taken things a step further and have created an app for aficionados to follow along in the process. Talk about crafted and curated for individual tastes and transparency. It may seem almost self-explanatory to note how other artisans are using technology. But what about distilleries? What are they doing? They’re creating efficiency by: Adding IoT sensors for Data Analytics collection Adding RFID tags to their barrels Creating experimental ageing warehouses (AR, anyone?) to refine their craft. Don’t worry, though. These changes won’t affect the spirit itself. After all, according to Mr. Wheatley, Master Distiller, “There’s no way to cheat mother nature or father time.” Ultimately, the idea is to not only understand the history behind the process, but to make it more efficient and repeatable. A way to preserve the processes of the past while using the advances of the present with an eye to the future. If you’re interested in using Data & Analytics to drive creativity, we may have a role for you. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expect consultants to find out more. 

How Will New Financial Risk Regulations Affect European Banks?

How Will New Financial Risk Regulations Affect European Banks?

The financial crisis of 2007-2008 changed banking. The world moved from taking mortgage loans in our dogs’ names to introducing strict regulations for banks prohibiting them from giving out loans to “anyone” without assessing Risk properly. In 2010 the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) introduced BASEL III, a regulatory framework that builds on BASEL I, and BASEL II. This framework changed how banks and financial institutions asses risk. It introduced an Advanced Internal Rate Based Approach (Commonly known as the AIRB approach).  Now, the committee has introduced new changes and, by 2022, all banks and institutions will have to implement the revised IRB Framework, as well as new revised regulations for the standardised approach, CVA Framework and new frameworks for Operational Risk and Market Risk. So, what does this mean for those working Risk? Change Is Coming Change is inevitable, no matter what you do. If you work in Risk Management and Compliance, change is something you can expect to happen, often. As mentioned above, by 2022 there will be lots of changes. The Basel Committee calls this initiative the “finalised reforms”, or BASEL IV which builds on the current regulatory framework BASEL III. Quickly summarised, the changes limit the reduction in capital that effect banks IRB models.  This change is predicted to impact banks in Sweden and Denmark the most, with estimations that capital ratio will fall by 2.5-3%, far higher than the 0.9% expected for the average European bank.  So what does all this mean for Swedish and Danish banks?  What’s Happening Now? One of the main things that Swedish and Danish banks need to revise for these new regulations, are their internal models. The new regulations introduced a new definition of Probability of Default, measured through a model commonly known as a PD model. Effectively this means that every bank must “re-develop” their internal PD Models in the IRB approach. Consequently, we are already seeing a clear response from the banks in their strategies moving forward. It has already become quite apparent that many banks are looking to make IRB model development their focus for 2019-2020 and 2021. This has resulted in a boom in the hiring space for developers with experience in IRB Modelling and Credit Risk Modelling in general, which in turn has led to high demand in the face of the low supply of these types of candidates. Understandably aware of this, modellers are now looking to negotiate higher salaries.  What You Can Do  For candidates that hold the right experience, there are good opportunities at hand. If so inclined, they can utilise this chance to finally see if the grass actually is greener on the other side, or not. However, there are a couple of things worth considering before making a move.   Firstly, are you actually keen on switching jobs? Your skills are probably equally in demand at your current employer and, if you are having doubts about moving from the get-go, you may well be able to negotiate a rise without pursuing a new opportunity. However, if you are serious about finding something new, this is a great time to do so. The majority of banks have found that these new regulations are creating an unsustainable workload,  and are now looking for talent externally to expand their teams. This means that the experienced modeller can pretty much have their pick of the litter.  Furthermore, if you are a junior modeller, there are now plenty of opportunities for you to enter a niche area known for being exciting and innovative. So, wherever you are in your career, these regulatory changes  are likely to have a large impact and open up new avenues for you to explore.   We all know that regulations in banking and finance are now essential, we all agree, even if they can be a little frustrating. However, what people often fail to think of are the opportunities new regulatory requirements create. In the case of BASEL IV, we’re already seeing an increase in demand for strong talent, and a demand for people who are passionate about Risk Management and model development.  For businesses, new regulations also provide the chance to not only improve their teams, but to  create new models that can be utilised to optimise and automate. A lot of financial institutions are already aware of this and are using these models to gain competitive advantage over their competitors, as well as to stay one hundred percent compliant.  If you’re looking to build out you Risk Management team or take on a new Risk opportunity for yourself, we may be able to help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

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