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How does Grab assign you your driver in the shortest possible time? Are driverless cars safe?


To address these questions and how Mathematics and Statistics come into play in the realm of data science, the Department of Mathematics held a Data Science and Analytics themed-event on 15 March 2017.

Prof Zhu Chengbo, Head of Department, welcomed the audience and shared more on our programme in Data Science and Analytics.

This is a four-year direct Honours programme, designed with sufficient technical depth to equip graduates with the ability to develop novel analytical tools for new scientific applications and industry problems that will emerge in future.
(The programme is offered by the Departments of Mathematics and Statistics & Applied Probability in the Faculty of Science, in conjunction with the School of Computing.)

Sharing their expertise at this event were our Science alumni Mr Tay Yu Xuan (Data Scientist, GovTech, alumnus of Department of Statistics & Applied Probability), Dr Yang Liuqin (Data Scientist, Grab; alumnus of Department of Mathematics), and Associate Professor Ji Hui from the Department of Mathematics.

Mr Tay provided a peek into what Data Science is, his work in this field, and career prospects

Dr Yang delved into mathematical problems faced by Grab and how their data science team solves them, using two main mathematical models: optimization model and prediction model.


A/P Ji ended the event with his intriguing presentation on driverless cars, and how Mathematics is a driving force behind the advance of visual navigation technologies critical for safe driving. He also shared several mathematical ideas and computational algorithms that contribute to building state of-the-art visual navigation systems.

Targeted at pre-university students and the general public, the Department hoped to share more about data science and its applications in our daily lives.

The event was attended by more than 150 participants. Here’s what some of them have to say:

I have learnt how data science is applicable for different activities. Especially for GrabTaxi, I get to know how data science is being used to navigate the Drivers to the best suited passengers according to the distance, and this can only be done with data science. As we progress to become even more advanced in technology, data science is definitely crucial. I've always been hearing about driverless cars but only after attending this Programme, that I truly understand the system of driverless cars such as the sensors and how data science play such a significant role in it. The programme is useful as it was really insightful as we get to know how mathematics is very applicable in our daily lives like how matrix is being used in driverless cars. Hence, I feel that mathematics play a huge role in making Grab and driverless cars possible. Also, through the introduction of data science, I get to know more about the job scope of being a data scientist, like what they will bring doing as a data scientist and what kind of companies they will be working for.

Serene Lee Si Ni
Student, Meridian Junior College

It is an enriching experience to attend the Data Science Outreach event as it provides insights into the exciting field of Data Science and Analytics and demonstrated the real-life applications of Mathematics. In particular, it is fascinating to learn about the application of Mathematics in optimising Grabshare matches and how operations in matrices are used in data processing for driverless cars and it enabled us to appreciate how data science analytics is relevant to the recent evolving technologies.

Teacher, Meridian Junior College

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