Microsoft Research Connections Blog

The Microsoft Research Connections blog shares stories of collaborations with computer scientists at academic and scientific institutions to advance technical innovations in computing, as well as related events, scholarships, and fellowships.

Learn to tell stories with data at the Excel for Research webinar

Learn to tell stories with data at the Excel for Research webinar

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We hear a lot these days about “data science,” but what is it, exactly? Data collection, data management, data wrangling, big data, broad data—these are all pieces of the data-science puzzle.

One view is that data science is all about telling stories—with data. However, the stories are definably non-fiction: it’s about separating fact from fiction, gut instinct from incontrovertible evidence.

Free Excel for Research webinar

Finding compelling storytellers is not easy. That’s why pinning down what a data scientist does is so difficult; it includes such a wide variety of tasks and required skills. It’s an interesting mix of finding the right question, then putting together the answer and presenting a narrative with numbers, analysis, charts, and animated visualizations to make the point. While Microsoft Word and PowerPoint are seen as the tools of choice for more traditional storytellers, in the new era of data-intensive research, Microsoft Excel is becoming the new star. And now it has a few nice surprises, such as Power BI for Office 365, the new multipurpose-tool for the data scientist—allowing you to clean, slice, dice, plot, map, and animate your data easily.

If you’re one of the many researchers who already use Excel extensively, these new features mean you can continue to use a familiar tool but with much wider and deeper capabilities. It’s a convenient entry point for data on the web and in the cloud, allowing you to make use of data in Windows Azure from computations, experiments, and field studies.

To find out more about how Excel and Power BI can help your research, tune into our webinar on February 26, 2014, at 16:00 UTC/GMT (08:00 PST), and we’ll walk you through how to find, query, analyze, and visualize your data in new ways. Register to join us for this free, interactive webinar.

We’d also like to hear your Windows Azure project stories. Tell us how you’re using Windows Azure in your research—what problems you’re trying to solve and how using the cloud is working out for you. Just post your story on the Windows Azure for Research LinkedIn Group and you could be chosen to tell your story at one of our worldwide events, inspiring other researchers to follow your example.

Kenji Takeda, Solutions Architect and Technical Manager, Microsoft Research Connections

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