THE WORLD OF INTELLIGENCE: THE JOURNEY SO FAR
I am ARIMORO, Olayinka Imisioluwa, a Data Science and Machine Learning enthusiast. I have an M.Sc. in Statistics from the University of Lagos, and I’m in pursuance of my PhD in Biostatistics.
Where and how did I start my journey into the world of Artificial Intelligence? This is a question I will gladly answer over and over again because, it was at this point I discovered what I could do with my life (career-wise) and it also opened my mind to what solutions could be handed down to the world using data.
It all started way back to sometime in May, 2018 when I decided to start work on my M.Sc. thesis just to avoid delay. I took up an area in Statistics that was totally new to me (this is because my first degree was in Mathematics Education). I took up this area in line with my supervisor’s area of interest (Stochastic Processes – Hidden Markov Models).
Due to my interest in healthcare and medical data, and after a while of thinking about the perfect topic for the work, with scrutiny from my wonderful supervisor, I decided to work on “A 5-State Markov Model to Predict the Natural Progression of Diabetic Nephropathy”. That sounds interesting, right?
To cut the story short, I couldn’t proceed with that topic even though I had spent about six (6) months researching, reading journals on diabetes and Markov chain models, watching YouTube videos and lot more.
In fact, I had to take an online course in Biomedical Data Management as one of the ethical requirements for acquiring data from Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH).
My Certificate on Biomedical Data Management
At the end of all these efforts, I still couldn’t get the data because of some procedural issues (It’s a long story). From all these, I learnt that before I embark on any project or research work, I must get my data ready!
I knew I had to find a new topic and I had start working on it immediately. Fortunately, it was around the time that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in Nigeria embarked on a strike action. I started thinking about working on “Survival Analysis”. A friend of mine, Mr. Patrick Abumere told me to look into Machine Learning.
This was again something entirely new to me. To be honest, I had never heard about Machine Learning or AI before the time he told me to check it out. As an adventurous person, I took it up again and started work.
I informed my academic mentor, Mr. Olawale Ayilara (University of Manitoba, Canada), who help me with data on Hospital readmission rates.
AI SATURDAYS LAGOS
About the same time, on this lovely day in December, my school mother from undergraduate days, Mary Abiodun sent me a link about a free 16-week AI Saturdays training, that was to start on Saturday January 26, 2019.
I told myself that this could be the opportunity I have been looking for (this my thought ended up to be true because the training provided me the strong foundation to continue my pilgrimage in the world of AI).
At AI Saturday Lagos, I met great and humble people, Tejumade Afonja, Oreva, Tayo Jabar, George, Opeyemi Fadebi, Kenechi Dukor, Adeola Oni, Aminah Rufai, Ibrahim Gana, Kehinde and a lot of people whose passions and commitments were really inspiring.
Me listening with rapt attention during AI Saturdays training at Zone Tech Park, Gbagada, Lagos
Me listening with rapt attention during AI Saturdays Training at CITS, UNILAG
AI WEDNESDAYS — DSN
Around the same time, I saw an advert on Twitter concerning a free Wednesday Machine Learning class hosted by Data Science Nigeria (DSN). Wow! Thanks to Daniel Ajisafe and Roseline Roseline Olasunkanmi Olawunmi for the teachings. It was impactful and thrilling.
Me at a Master Class organized by DSN at AI Hub, Unilag
First day of classes at AI Wednesdays at AI HUB, Unilag
On Wednesday 17th April, 2019, I defended my project alongside other group members in the Wednesday ML Class at DSN. The project was on “Breast Cancer Classification”. Working on this project was a great motivation.
Project defense at DSN AI Hub, Yaba
Project defense on Breast Cancer Classification, at DSN AI Hub, Yaba, Lagos
A week to my M.Sc. defense, on Thursday 18 April, 2019 at about 3 a.m., thieves invaded my rented apartment and took away my phone and my laptop. This came as a shock but I encouraged myself and I still defended on the date stated (in fact, I was the first to defend on that day).
In the end, the topic for my M.Sc. thesis was “A Statistical Comparison of the Logistic Regression and Naïve Bayes Classification Models Using 10 – FOLD Cross Validation”.
Losing my gadgets made me completely shut out of the AI world as I could not practice or read up any material. I barely attended the Saturday trainings, and the ones I attend, I went just to listen to what was taught but I kept encouraging myself.
In between, I attended Deep Learning INDABAX, Nigeria, 2019. Again, the event came in timely, because it encouraged me. Listening and seeing great people doing great stuffs in the AI world was enough consolation for me to gather myself together and keep practising. I am indeed grateful for the opportunity to attend the program.
This is my journey so far.
I can boldly say that the last six (6) months of this journey have been great. I know for sure that the months ahead will surely be amazing as I have my gadgets back to start exploring.
Thank for reading through.
I am forever indebted to Tejumade Afonja (Convener of AI Saturdays, Lagos). Just watching her talk is really inspiring (I learnt some English words and pronunciations from her). She taught us the theoretical aspects of the ML lessons, while Kenechi Dukor (a jovial and amazing person) taught the code sessions.
Kenechi and Tejumade delivering a training at Civic Hive, Yaba
Tejumade Afonja during a training at CITS, UNILAG
Daniel Ajisafe and Roseline Olasunkanmi Olawunmi of DSN are lovely people, always open to attend to us.
Also, I salute, Dr. Bayo Adekanmbi for his great and clear vision of “Raising 1 million AI talents in 10 years”, and all the well-laid out plans he has set to achieve this vision. He is a great source of inspiration. Listening to him speak at INDABAX 2019, I was like “What am I doing with my life”. God bless you sir.
AI Wednesdays Classes anchored by Roseline Olawunmi and Daniel Ajisafe
So, WHAT’S NEXT?
- Get added to important groups
- Get necessary resource materials from fellow AI guys.
- Start practising hard.
- Continue to practise hard,
- Join the DSN’s 100 DAYS of Machine Learning peradventure I can still qualify for the bootcamp
- Start teaching friends around the little I know and hope for opportunity to teach on a bigger platform.