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EPSRC CDT in Next Generation Computational Modelling

Seminar by Robin Wilson: Writing Python to process mobile phone data

Robin Wilson and the Southampton Python User Group

In April 2015 there was a devastating earthquake in Nepal, killing thousands and displacing hundreds of thousands more. Robin Wilson was working for the Flowminder Foundation at the time, and was given the task of processing millions of rows of mobile phone call records to try and extract useful information on population displacement due to the disaster. The aid agencies wanted this information as quickly as possible – so he was given the unenviable task of trying to produce preliminary outputs in one bank-holiday weekend...

Robin described how he managed this feat to the Southampton Python User Group, which is sponsored by NGCM. With fascinating asides on how key data structures work, he demonstrated how much is possible in a short time, on a low-powered computer with no internet access. As well as university staff and students, the topic also attracted people from a local Linux user group.