Power in a pandemic: the importance of data - presented by Monash Tech Talks

calendar icon

Event Details

3 Jun 2020 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Online – via Zoom Webinars


The advent of the COVID-19 situation has made the world hungry for information.

How many coronavirus cases are there in the world? Where are outbreaks most severe? What are the chances of recovery? 

This Tech Talks webinar ‘Power in a pandemic: the importance of data’ is a chance for you to learn from world-leading data scientist, Professor Geoff Webb – the mind behind widely-used machine learning algorithms.

Professor Ann Nicholson, a celebrated specialist in AI and bayesian networks, will also discuss her work with medical infectious diseases experts to uncover how COVID-19 affects the human body.

By tuning in, you’ll explore how:

  • advanced analytics is being applied in this novel situation to draw out key insights and answer important questions
  • we’re integrating data with human expertise to inform the decisions of governments, clinicians and individuals in real time
  • industries are using insights from data and models to shape technology and tackle big societal challenges – with examples from special guest Bharat, an award-winning innovator in data analytics.

Register now

Webinar details

When Wednesday 3 June
Webinar: Starts 12:30pm
Live Q&A: Starts 1.10pm 
Where Online – via Zoom Webinars

Meet the host

Professor Jon Whittle
Dean, Faculty of Information Technology

Professor Whittle is a world-renowned expert in software engineering and human-computer interaction, with a keen interest in IT for social good. Throughout his career, he has partnered with professionals and organisations around the world to drive many large-scale, interdisciplinary projects. In recent years, Professor Whittle has been the Principal Investigator of projects totaling over £8 million.

In software engineering, Professor Whittle’s work focuses on model-driven development (MDD) and in particular, the industrial adoption of MDD. In HCI, he’s interested in how we can develop software systems that incorporate social values.

Before joining Monash, Professor Whittle was Head of the School of Computing and Communications at Lancaster University where he led eight multi-institution, multidisciplinary research initiatives. These projects focused on the role of IT in society, and incorporated digital health, sustainability and digital civics. When in the UK, Professor Whittle was a Royal Society Wolfson Merit Awardee – a prestigious award given to outstanding and respected scientists in the country.

Meet the speakers

Professor Geoff Webb
Research Director, Monash University Data Futures Institute

Professor Webb is a leading data scientist and the only Australian to have been Program Committee Chair of the two leading Data Mining conferences, ACM SIGKDD and IEEE ICDM.

He was elevated to IEEE Fellow in 2015 and his numerous awards include the inaugural Eureka Prize for Excellence in Data Science.

In his career, Professor Webb was editor-in-chief of Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery from 2005 to 2014. He is a Technical Advisor to BigML Inc, which has incorporated his best of class association discovery software Magnum Opus as a core component of its cloud-based Machine Learning service.

Professor Webb developed many of the key mechanisms for support-confidence association discovery in the 1980s. His OPUS search algorithm remains the state-of-the-art in rule search. And he has pioneered diverse research areas such as black-box user modeling, interactive data analytics and statistically-sound pattern discovery.

Professor Ann Nicholson
Professor, Department of Data Science and AI

Ann Nicholson is currently a professor and the Deputy Dean (Research) for the Faculty of IT. She has previously held the roles of acting Deputy Dean and Associate Dean (Education).

Professor Nicholson is an expert in artificial intelligence and a leading researcher in bayesian networks  – now the dominant technology for probabilistic causal modelling in intelligent systems.

Throughout her career, she has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers, co-authored the well-received ‘Bayesian Artificial Intelligence’ and attracted more than $12M in research funding.

After completing her Bachelor of Science (Hons) and Master of Science (Computer Science) at the University of Melbourne, she was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford. There, she completed her doctorate in the Robotics Research Group.

After completing her postdoc at Brown University, she returned to Australia to become a lecturer at Monash.

Bharat Rao
Principal, Advisory, KPMG, U.S.

Bharat is a leading expert in health analytics, big data, machine learning and personalised medicine. He has more than 25 years of experience using data analytics to support clinical, financial, regulatory and operational improvements for health care and life sciences organisations.

Bharat is the recipient of multiple innovation awards, including the highest lifetime award in data analytics, a frequent speaker and published author. In fact, he boasts over 100 publications, 62 patents and one book.

A notable achievement in Bharat’s highly-successful career has been launching and growing the first-to-market health quality startup for Siemens, which sold to over 300 US hospitals.

He also pioneered the Siemens ‘Corporate R&D program for Data Mining’, leading a global team of 100+ data scientists, software engineers and regulatory, marketing and implementation specialists.

About Monash Tech Talks

Deepen your knowledge. Join the conversation.

High-profile speakers. Cutting-edge topics. And important insights into how tech is impacting our world. That’s what Monash Tech Talks are all about.

These unmissable events will open your eyes to the disruption that’s shaping our future and challenge everything you thought about emerging tech.

Sometimes controversial, yet always stimulating, Monash Tech Talks are the perfect way to deepen your knowledge – and join the most significant conversations of the tech industry today.

Event Contact

Penny O’Sullivan