Yesterday, I had the privilege to present some of my graduate research at the 2nd International Food Security & Sustainability conference in San Diego, CA, USA. I joined lots of experts from around the world that spoke about alternative food sources such as spirulina, yam seeds in West Africa, ways to process rice for increased yield, applying egg shell powder to prevent E. coli, ways to detect adulterated olive oil using physics, climate change adaption strategies in various cultural settings, and ways to prepare for a global food catastrophe.
Most of the presentations provided a technical solution to a specific food production problem. My talk was definitely in ‘left field’ but supported the conference research theme of providing information access to everyone. I was elated to give a talk on how I used Big Data principles to examine the Venezuelan Food Crisis. For more details on this research, here’s a link to one of my earlier blogs on it.
Since this was the first time speaking at a conference, it was a little intimidating and fun at the same time. It was nice to be the Big Data expert in the room even though I definitely don’t consider myself one yet. I think this may often be the case as data scientists work in many disciplines (from food security to cyber security and beyond) and as companies seek to fulfill their data gaps with people with these skills.
For this project and presentation, I was thankful to have the support from Dr. David Wild and Vincent Malic at Indiana University’s School of Informatics and Computing. I learned so much about this field and was energized at the potential of Big Data within some of the research I heard about at the conference. I also enjoyed exploring the North Park neighborhood with friends, Old Town and Little Italy of San Diego in the three evenings after the conference.