Statistics and data science fully in the spotlight

Listening to a professional talking about his work gives energy! Koo Rijpkema has been working for the Eindhoven University of Technology for almost 35 years in the field of applied statistics and data science. When you hear him talk, his enthusiasm is contagious. About 30 years ago, he and his colleagues believed that academic knowledge should not just remain within university walls, but that it should be accessible to everyone. That's how they started giving courses for business.

Engineers of the future
Since the start of Koo's teaching position at PAO Techniek en Management and the advent of the internet in 1992, a lot has changed in the field of data – the field is still on the rise. If you look at data mining, the insights from a few years ago are no longer new. During Koo's courses for PAOTM, the most current insights are always discussed.

“So much is happening in statistics, data science and data mining! When I give another course in 3 years' time, it will be very different." Therefore, useful for businesspeople who want to keep their knowledge up to date in a manageable way and who want to update their knowledge about data with the latest developments.

More than just some tricks
Nowadays there are a lot of people working in data science. Koo notices that there is a great need to understand the conceptual ideas behind the formulas and techniques applied, and that is exactly what he wants to achieve. ''It's not the case that during the course you get a few tricks in the spirit of ''Here you have a program, just press that button and it works.''

''Sometimes you also have participants who think 'Give me a fantastic software package and tell me what I should and shouldn't do.'' However, that is actually not what we are trying to achieve with the course. We want the participants to really understand what they are doing so that they can get started themselves.”

Why would you want to do that, start yourself?
A nice example: “It's a bit like with driving lessons. You don't have to memorize all the roundabouts in the Netherlands – it's about learning how to safely cross them." And once you master that, you can also use roundabouts you've never seen before in a safe way! Knowledge of the technology behind the formulas is not only important for the people who work with data themselves, but also for people who must assess the work of others. The floodings in Limburg in the summer of 2021 is a good example to illustrate why accurate data prediction is so important. “You can predict water levels with models. But if a forecasting model does not work properly and misses the actual risk of flooding, that is really disastrous!"

Cooperating on knowledge sharing
During the courses, cases from participants can be discussed in an interactive way – together we look for solutions. Koo: “Not only very useful for participants but also vice versa. The challenges showing up in business and engineering applications provide feedback to keep our courses up-to-date.” That is how we cooperate on knowledge sharing. Koo: ''I am grateful for the people who attend a course in a positive critical way. I love it when people counteract in a constructive way!' Koo loves getting people excited about data science. “Sharing knowledge and perhaps more importantly, sharing your fascination with the field, cannot be replaced by watching a video lecture.”

Want to participate in one of Koo’s courses?
Do you work in the field of data science, and do you face a challenge? Or would you like to stay informed of the latest developments in an interactive way? Then sign up for Koo's courses in data science and applied statistics.


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