EARL 2016 talk

I spoke on 14th September at the EARL (Effective Applications of the R Language) conference in London. This is event is concerned exclusively with the R programming language and it was the first time I’ve attended an event like this (user group meetings excluded). It was excellent, with a diverse range of interesting talks, I certainly plan to be back. This post contains my talk abstract, the slides and finally some of my personal highlights.

The talk I gave was based on my PhD research and a spin off discussed during my viva. In short, to consider the risk of water impoundment structures to extreme snowmelt. The abstract for the talk was:

September in London feels a long way from snow and mountains, but as the year draws to a close many people will be thinking of winter breaks to enjoy the white stuff. However, snow isn’t just fun; it can bring benefits and hazards. Across places like the western US and Canada snow is a vital store of water for the dry summer months. On steeper slopes, snow sits precariously and can avalanche, which causes deaths each year. In this talk I’ll discuss how snow contributes to flood risk. The second largest recorded flood event on the River Thames was attributable to snow, following the harsh winter of 1947. Snowmelt is frequently part of river flows in colder regions, in the UK these are invariably further north than the Thames and the rivers begin in mountainous terrain. In Scotland the uplands are often used for water storage, e.g. for hydro-power and water supply. Structures are used to retain the water, but these structures were assessed for exposure to snowmelt risk using a fixed daily melt rate, which I will show can be exceeded. I used R to model the risks of snowmelt to reservoirs in Scotland. The talk will cover data management, linking R with GIS, time series modelling, statistical extremes and what impacts there are for society.

As always with these things, the actual talk differed a little from the abstract, I didn’t talk about data management, and only made superficial comment on connecting R with a GIS. However, I hope the story was better for not getting bogged down with technical detail. The slides are embedded below and you can download them here. If you have questions – please ask them in the comments.

I was only able to attend a single day of the conference. Here are some of my highlights:

Joe Cheng showing rstudio dashboard, books and directly written websites.

Tal Galili giving an in depth discussion on heatmaps, so I didn’t need to!

Alice Daish describing how the British Museum is becoming data driven and tracking toilet flushes (visitor flow). Alice gets my nomination for a keynote next year.

Doug Ashton showing reasons and approaches to A|B testing. Not least, some good ideas for organising testing code.

Jérôme Durussel evening discussion on sports ethics and performance enhancement.

Many people who had great chat (the golden standard of being interested and interesting). Including Jess Parker (from Australia, surname uncertain), Roman Popat, Pete and Andy from Mango, Marcus Gaul and many others whose names I can’t remember! Huge thanks to the organisers at Mango Solutions – a great event and well worth attending.