Friday lunchtime lecture: Improving UK government spending using data science

Friday 27 November 2015, 1:00pm - 1:00pm

Open Data Institute, 65 Clifton Street

You bring your lunch, we provide tea and coffee, an interesting talk, and enough time to get back to you desk.


In February 2015 the UK government launched Contracts Finder, a portal that advertises open government-spending contract opportunities, allowing companies to easily and quickly bid for them. The UK spends £250 billion every year on public spending contracts, including vital public services like the NHS and it’s important that this money is spent as efficiently as possible.

As part of an ASI fellowship, William Jones worked in collaboration with the UK Cabinet Office to increase the number of companies bidding on these contracts. He did this by automatically recommending them contracts which are available and relevant, using publicly accessible information from UK companies. The web application William built is called Contracts Recommender. His talk will explain the public sources of information he uses as well as how Contracts Recommender works.

William Jones was recently awarded the MPhil in Advanced Computer Science from the Cambridge Computer Laboratory with Distinction. During the ASI fellowship he first worked on a deep learning image classification project with Tractable.io, using the convolutional neural network framework Caffe. Following this he joined a project with the Cabinet Office using natural language processing to automatically recommend relevant government procurement contracts to companies in the UK. He has just started a PhD in Mathematical Genomics at Cambridge.


About our Friday lunchtime lectures

With a broad range of topics in open data such as tracking government expenditure, British landscape mapping and creating art, there’s bound to be something that interests you.

The sessions run from 1pm to 1.45pm weekly during UK school term-times, with informal networking until 2pm. Each lecture lasts for around 20 minutes, leaving time for questions afterwards. The lectures don't require any specialist knowledge, but are focused around communicating the meaning and impact of open data in all areas of life.

Each week the lectures are streamed live on YouTube and then uploaded to our YouTube and Vimeo channels. You can also download the Friday lunchtime lectures as a podcast on iTunes.

You can follow the lectures and contribute to the discussion using #ODIFridays on Twitter.