​​​​​​​​​XD²S​: Accelerator in Data and Decision Science


Between 20 January and 7 February 2020, Blue Label Telecoms, Stellenbosch University and Business Finland will be hosting an Accelerator Programme for Data and Decision Science. This is an opportunity to build and accelerate your skills in data and decision science. The two weeks of short courses will culminate into a real-live case study, using the skills that you have just learnt. Industry partners are hoping to hire the best  performing candidates, so this is your chance to shine.

Businesses rise and fall on the quality of their decision making. Yet all too often, the world in which we operate is volatile, ambiguous and tough to make sense of. It's not that there isn't enough information – it's often that there's too much. Also, the challenge is not that people don't want to make sound decisions – it's that the urgent often trumps the important. Indeed, the hard and time-consuming work of discerning signal from noise, of making new connections, means that critical decisions are either delayed or left to gut instinct. Decision Science has emerged as the most sensible way of resolving this tension. It employs big data and machine learning to guide decisions that address real business problems.

If you have a background in mathematics, statistics, computer science or other quantitative discipline and are curious about pursuing a career in big data and machine learning, you don't want to miss this.

Practical info


Wilcocks Building, Stellenbosch University


Scholarships are available via a competitive selection process​. That means the programme will be free to successful applicants, including lunches and coffee/tea breaks. Candidates must submit a motivation to outline their suitability for the accelerator programme, after which a panel will select the successful candidates.


In the first 2 weeks (20-31 January), participants follow one of two streams: The Software Engineering stream or the Analysis stream, which consists of an intro course in machine learning with Python and a course in social network analysis with R. In addition to improving their conceptual understanding and technical skills of software engineering, machine learning and data analysis, participants will also grapple with critical ethical and governance aspects of data science. The format of the courses are highly interactive, with lectures that are interwoven with practical exercises. Make sure to carefully read the sections on target audience and prerequisites in the course descriptions (links in this paragraph) to ensure that you are a good match with the target audience and that you have the necessary pre-required skills and knowledge before applying.

In the third week (3-7 February), participants will get the chance to work in small, dynamic teams on a real-world case study. ​This is where the rubber hits the road and participants will be challenged to apply what they've learned. ​​​​Organised as a Scrum team doing a "sprint", participants will be using Agile methodology to work together in solving a set of challenging problems in the telecommunication industry. Large datasets and high performance compute infrastructure will be made available, and observers from top companies in South Africa will be following the action from close by. They are hoping to be making job offers to the best performing participants​. A nice extra is that all participants will have the chance to ​take part in a psychometric test that is designed to help people understand themselves, understand others, and the value they bring to the team​. 

To apply for the XD²S​​ programme, fill and submit the form below.

For more information about the XD2S programme, contact Prof Wim Delva