HELENA – On St. Helena, the remote volcanic outcrop in the South Atlantic where Napoleon breathed his last, big changes are afoot -- well, big by St. Helena standards. In the heart of the capital, Jamestown (population 600), Constable Cowie is worried about the Christmas traffic; Craig, the dive-master, is checking his emails twice a day; and Lucille, the local taxi magnate, is introducing 24-hour shifts. For the 4,500 residents of the island, separated from Africa by nearly 2,000 km (1,240 miles) of ocean, the arrival this past weekend of the first ever commercial flight was cause for celebration and marked another step closer to their inclusion in the 21st century. Saints, as locals are known, only got mobile phones and the Internet 18 months ago, supplementing the five-day boat trip to Cape Town that represented their only connection with the outside world. Now, there is a weekly flight from Johannesburg -- via Namibia's Windhoek -- to the spectacular St. Helena airport, perched precariously on the edge of a cliff.
We are excited to announce our next MIIA event that will be hosted by PwC in V&A Waterfront, Cape Town on the 16th of August 2017 at 6pm. The theme of the event is "Data Science Applications to help businesses thrive in the Smart Technology Era" and we have speakers from PwC, Dimago, Cortex Logic and UCT. The Machine Intelligence Institute of Africa (MIIA) has also recently partnered with the Africa Data Forum and will be participating in the upcoming All Things Data Conference at the Westin, Cape Town on 29-30 August 2017. MIIA has decided to join forces with the Africa Data Science Association and will also have Board representation in this non profit organization that aims to ensure alignment between the academia and corporates on data science curriculum. We are excited to have many of the MIIA community members also participating in the upcoming Deep Learning Indaba at Wits, Johannesburg from 10-15 September 2017.
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has partnered with five South African universities to launch the Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research (CAIR) on 24 May 2016. Based at the CSIR and chaired at the University of Cape Town, the centre aims to build research capacity in the field of artificial intelligence, and to ensure work reaches commercialisation. CAIR will also ensure artificial intelligence research is spread beyond the traditional institutions of the field. The five partner universities, or collaboration nodes, are the University of Cape Town (UCT), the University of Pretoria (UP), Stellenbosch University (SU), the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and North-West University (NWU). The centre is funded by the CSIR, the Department of Science and Technology (DST), and the participating universities, and the wide research scope of the programme is evident by the variety of university departments involved.
The Explore Data Science Academy (EDSA) has announced 400 free internships for its 12-month Accredited Skills Data Science Programme in 2019. The announcement coincides with the opening today of registrations for next year's intake. The Cape Town-based academy will also open a campus in Gauteng next year to accommodate its expanding student base. Growing local demand for data scientists, however, has propelled us to quadruple the number of internships offered in 2019. "These internships are sponsored by South African corporates drawn largely from the ICT, banking, insurance and retail sectors, which are leading the application of data science in their businesses to leverage competitive advantage," he adds.
The announcement coincides with the opening today of registrations for next year's intake. The Cape Town-based academy will also open a campus in Gauteng next year to accommodate its expanding student base. Commenting on the announcement, EDSA co-founder Shaun Dippnall said: "We opened the Academy in January this year with 100 interns. Growing local demand for data scientists, however, has propelled us to quadruple the number of internships offered in 2019." "These internships are sponsored by South African corporates drawn largely from the ICT, banking, insurance and retail sectors, which are leading the application of data science in their businesses to leverage competitive advantage," Dippnall added.