We are proud to present several BDVA’17 Data to Decisions CRC researcher talks.

Sanjay Mazumdar


Dr. Sanjay Mazumdar is the CEO of Data to Decisions Cooperative Research Centre, a collaboration between Government, industry and academia established to tackle the Big Data challenges of National Security. He has also been the CEO of the Defence Systems Innovation Centre, Head of Engineering for BAE Systems Australia, Operations Manager at Motorola Australia and Research Scientist at the DSTO.

Sanjay was recently listed in the Australian newspaper’s Knowledge Nation 100 as a “Big Data Pioneer”.

Sanjay holds a Bachelor of Engineering (First Class Hons) and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from The University of Adelaide, and is a Fellow, Institution of Engineers (FIEAust) and a Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng).  Sanjay is also a Board Director of the Defence Teaming Centre and member of the SA Council for the Australian Information Industry Association.

Presentation Title

Big Data for national security: finding the needle in the data haystack

Presentation Synopsis

The threat landscape for national security agencies continues to evolve at an unprecedented rate. Terrorist and criminal activities are growing globally and becoming increasingly sophisticated. The use of new technologies by these groups offers them the ability to plan and coordinate attacks and crimes with impunity. The sheer volume of data and complexity driven by the use of diverse software applications means much of the activity remains hidden. The need to develop and apply advanced data analytics capabilities and tools has never been acuter and it applies across a broad range of national security domains, including border security, financial intelligence, defence, counterterrorism and cybersecurity. This presentation will describe some of the new capabilities and tools that must be developed to support the national security agencies to achieve their mission of creating a safer and more secure nation.

Lewis Mitchell

Lecturer, University of Adelaide

Lewis is a lecturer in applied mathematics at the University of Adelaide. His research focuses on large-scale methods for extracting useful information from online social networks, and on statistical techniques for inference and prediction using these data. He works on building tools for real-time estimation of social phenomena such as happiness from written text and assimilating observational data in predictive mathematical models for weather or disease prediction. Perhaps unsurprisingly given his research interests, Lewis is an avid Twitter user who you can follow at @lewis_math.

Presentation Title

Predicting civil unrest from open data—from research to product.

Presentation Synopsis

In this presentation, Lewis will discuss from a research perspective the experience of working with D2D CRC and its end users on a project to predict civil unrest events from open data sources. This project takes real-time data inputs and applies statistical and machine learning algorithms to filter, clean, and then make predictions from these large, unstructured datasets. The team consists of a diverse set of researchers from applied mathematics, statistics, and computer science, and involves personnel from postdoctoral fellows and researchers, to software engineers, and members of the industry. The talk will outline the research problem and discuss some of the approaches that have been taken to solve it. It will also describe the team’s experience in attempting to turn research outcomes into a product for end users.

Brenton Cooper


Dr. Brenton Cooper is the CTO of the Data to Decisions Cooperative Research Centre, a collaboration between Government, Industry and Academia established to tackle the Big Data challenges of Defence and National Security. Brenton is also CEO of Fivecast, a startup that delivers insights from the information deluge facing law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Brenton has previously held a variety of technology and management roles in BAE Systems, Tenix Defence and Motorola. He has led a variety of projects that demonstrate the value that can be extracted from large data holdings, with application to fraud detection, counter-terrorism, law enforcement and battle-space information management.

Presentation Title

Fivecast—Taking the product to market

Presentation Synopsis

Translating research into commercial success is an inexact science. What is the key ingredient? If it’s great science, surely that’s enough. Brenton will discuss the approach taken within the D2D CRC that has led to Fivecast—a startup with a bright future and in doing so uncover the “secret sauce”.