Why Western Australia wants data scientists

With 70% of the country’s goods export coming from the mining industry, it is not a surprise that the industry is looking to tap into the value of data through data scientists.

Mine, tunnel front, silhouette of a successful miner/worker.
aeduard / Getty Images

The resources sector makes for 8% of Australia’s economy, with exports generating billions every year and accounting for 70% of the country’s goods exports. With almost half of Australia’s mining companies located in Western Australia, the state government is looking at how mining companies there are using data science for prediction and optimisation across the business and what issues Western Australia companies face in hiring data scientists.

Western Australia is also home to the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, one of two high-performance computing facilities in Australia; such centres do modelling, analytics, and other forms of complex computing that extensively use data science.

According to the November 2020 report ‘Data Science in Western Australia,’ one participant from the mining industry said that every team will have a data scientist in it. ‘Data scientist’ was defined in the report as “one that looks at problems through the patterns in data and applies mathematical constructs to the data to generate knowledge”.

The report, prepared by the WA Data Science Innovation Hub (WADSIH), consultancy KPMG, and AI platform provider Faethm, was based on a survey of the local data science sector.

Having interviewed only 15 organisations covering agriculture, construction, utilities, finance, healthcare, mining, IT, and public administration, the report is far from representing a local picture. But it does share some insights on the importance of data scientists for the region.

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