Big Data on the Company Day

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Big Data sessions on the WUR Company Day

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4 oktober 2018

The Wageningen Data Competence Center was hosting three well-attended sessions about big data on the WUR Company Day the 27th of September. The head of Wageningen Data Competence Center Willem Jan Knibbe opened the sessions.

Machine learning, Modelling & Analytics

First session, organized by Claudia Kamphuis
First speaker Erik Wijnen of the Ministery of EZK tells the audience to focus on ICT and big data challenges and organize the synergy between the sector and the knowledge. Big data has geopolitical relevance with big investments by many nations. Dutch government focuses on a public private partnerships and human centred approach.

In the big data panel discussion with Bram Visser (HendrixGenetics), Pierre Allexandre Billiet (CEO Gondola Group), Claudia Kamphuis (WUR) and Lucas Noldus (NoldusIT), Noldus mentions that the biggest hurdle in the development of Artificial Intelligence is the availability of well documented and computer understandable data. Lucas Noldus thinks many scientists are too conservative in willing to share their data because they first want to publish or do a PhD.

Claudia Kamphuis reacts that research is often not allowed to share the data because they belong to the client.

Willem Jan Knibbe launches an interesting idea: send the algorithm to the data and come back with the results and leave the data protected.

Overall conclusion of the first session: to explore the potential of big data, data need to be shared in a more open manner by both researchers and companies.

Data sharing, Interoperability & Linked Open Data

Second session, organized by Richard Finkers and Ben Schaap
Culture as key was debated (not agreed) in the panel discussion with Graham Mullier (Syngenta UK) Frido Hamoen (CRV/Breed4Food), Ben Schaap (GODAN) and Lonneke van der Geest (WUR).

“Who owns the data?” was a question from the audience in the second session. Interesting question, to which there is no clear answer. “Legally there is no owner of data” says Frido Hamoen. “Farmers, researchers and companies need an incentive to share data”.

Manoel Barral-Neto: “One of the obstacles in data sharing is the perceived extra work. We need better supporting tools designed having the end-user in mind”.

Concluding remarks of the second session: "The value of data is limited for society and the agri-food sector, without expert knowledge of agronomists”. “Good scientists will not be replaced by robot systems."

Governance & Business Modelling

Third session, organized by Sjaak Wolfert and Anne Hoes
The Panel with Hans Huijbers (JoinData/LTO Nederland), Borg Exelmans (Monsanto), Charlotte Linnebank and Gustaf Haan (QuestionMark) and Jos Verstegen (WUR) discussed about transparency. The most urgent issue in data governance is “the lack of a proper format to share and exchange the sustainability information and transparency” says Gustaf Haan of Questionmark.

“Should farm data by example be open to society because we have the right to know how our food is produced?” was a question from the panel. The panellists as well as the audience have mixed feelings about the issue. “However, not opening up data bears the risk of stagnation of innovation” says a member of Farm Hack.

Concluding remark from Sjaak Wolfert in the third WUR big data session at the Company Day: "Big data technology moves too fast for legislation. It worries me that it seems that parties who will benefit most from big data in agri-food are technology providers."