OBT Announces Data Science & Intelligent Automation Community of Interest (COI) February Tech Talk

By Christine Irving and Ethan HayesFebruary 23, 2021

(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Mr. Bakari Dale, OBT's Director of the Office of Business Enterprise Data Analytics, has announced the details for February’s Community of Interest (COI) Data Science and Intelligent Automation (DS & IA) Tech Talk. This month’s talk will be held on Thursday, February 25, from 12 PM to 1 PM EST, and will be kicked-off by the Hon. John Whitely, acting Secretary of the Army, who will provide the opening remarks.

The talk will address the transition from Excel to Python, and focus on using the Python Pandas Library. Topics covered will include match/index, pivot tables, if functions, cleaning numeric data, creating graphs, and the application of these tools in a business case study. The forum will also explore, how you can get started using Python and highlight what they can do with Python, which would otherwise be more difficult in Excel.

Monthly Tech Talks is the latest initiative being advanced by the OBT Data Science & Intelligent Automation Community of Interest. Originally derived from the Deep Green Tech Talks, the new forum was developed to help data scientists and analysts collaborate and advance Data Science & Intelligent Automation related issues.

This community is open to all DoD military, civilian, and contract employees. It is the perfect place to for experts across the Army to find each other and keep learning; especially in this time of social distancing.

And that is exactly what has been happening. Participation in the Tech Talks has been growing exponentially. In only a short period of time, the community of interest has grown from an initial twenty-person working group into a much larger community with almost 400 active members.

The Army strategic performance management coordinator, Ashley Russell, points out that “every commander and leader is pushing their people to grow their analytics capabilities.” As we all know, the daunting challenge of advancing the Army’s military advantage will depend on leveraging our sharpest minds.

In the Information Age, Tech Talks, and other similar venues, will become increasingly important. A sentiment that is also reinforced in the Army’s strategic objectives, which address the need to build critical working relationships. According to Ms. Russell, we will know we are heading in the right direction, when we “invest in collaboration, conversation, and the expansion of our organic capabilities.”

These strategic objectives are also articulated in the Enterprise Data Analytics Strategy for Army Business (EDAS). EDAS reinforces the need to build and strengthen the communities working on data science and analytics. This is why developing the Community of Interest Forum and Tech Talks are so important.

A key organizer of these events, Kristof Ladny, reminds us that the new COI initiative will also help connect uniform and civilian data scientists. The monthly Tech Talks and the new MS Teams Channel (where analytical professions can share datasets, tools, and modelling techniques) will enable collaboration and help boost productivity.

Working together and sharing experiences has never been so easy. And for the Army, this is a great thing. Without a large and vibrant community of interest, the large investments in cutting-edge platforms, like Vantage and Sagemaker, would not generate the innovations and improvements our nation needs.

For more information on the DS & IA COI, or the February Tech Talk (Transitioning from Excel to Python – Using the Pandas Library), please visit the OBT Website (https://www.army.mil/obt#org-spotlight\)