Artificial Intelligence Focus at University of Georgia Data Conference

Rhiannon Eades

Friday, March 1st, 2024

The University of Georgia Carl Vinson Institute of Government plans an active lineup for the second annual Developing Data Analytics Capabilities Conference, set for March 27 and 28 at the UGA Center for Continuing Education & Hotel in Athens. This year’s conference focuses on generative AI and advanced analytics. Those who work with data in government or academic settings—from leaders making data-informed decisions to analysts and developers in more technical roles—will connect with experts in the field and learn more about AI and how it will impact governments.

“The growth in advanced analytics and artificial intelligence is happening at a very rapid pace. Now is great time for agencies and local governments to continue the conversation on how to use these tools and what they can mean for our organizations,” said Anna Wrigley Miller, UGA Institute of Government faculty member and conference organizer.

The two-day conference will be packed with keynotes, panel discussions, breakout sessions and more, featuring experts from industry, education and government.

“AI is present in many aspects of our lives. We have been utilizing a form of AI since the introduction of spell check. By comprehending AI and mastering its application, productivity can be enhanced within your organization for your employees and clients,” said Timothy Chester, UGA vice president for Information Technology. “The objective of this conference is to foster an understanding of how this technology can have a positive impact on communities.”

Chester will open the conference with a keynote on practical uses of generative AI for higher education and beyond. Taka Ariga, chief data scientist and director of the Innovation Lab at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, will present the second day’s keynote about building an organizational data strategy.

New this year, attendees can choose among three tracks to customize their conference experience based on professional interests and skill level. Conference attendees who want basic knowledge to inform their decision-making and lead teams will benefit from the Data Foundation track. People who have more hands-on roles in analytics and data visualization will find sessions with case studies and knowledge sharing as part of the Data Analyst track. Finally, the Data Developer track is for those who perform more technical work with databases and servers.

Also new this year, preconference sessions are available for $75 each. Donald Addison, a lecturer at the UGA Terry College of Business Institute for Leadership Advancement and presenter at last year’s conference, will return to lead an in-depth preconference workshop on change management principles.

“We’re excited that he’s coming back to lead a workshop that goes deeper into those concepts,” Miller said. “As people implement these new AI and analytics programs, they’re changing the way they do business. This workshop will be a fantastic opportunity for people who want to learn those skills.”

UGA Institute of Government faculty and staff will lead two other preconference sessions in which participants will get hands-on experience building their own data visualization dashboards step by step using Power BI or Tableau.

This year’s conference also will feature a UGA student poster session and the BI Tools Bakeoff. The “bakeoff” is a live demonstration where representatives from Tableau and Qlik will showcase their business intelligence tools’ capabilities by developing data visualizations in real time, enabling conference participants to see how both tools work.

The conference is just one way the UGA Institute of Government’s Georgia Data Innovation Hub enhances the data analytics capabilities of state and local governments to improve data-informed decision-making statewide. Through the Georgia Data Innovation Hub, the institute offers support and trainings, such as webinars and the new Data Analysis and Decision Making for Governments Certificate program. In fact, the certificate program’s first cohort will graduate at this year’s conference. Registration for next year’s cohort will launch soon.

More information and registration are available via the institute’s website.