Recently, the actual development of the African data initiative project started. I am seeking to look back and see the progress that we have made since the team started actual work and where we are headed to in a few weeks to come before Christmas.
African Data Initiative is the Latest project by the African Maths Initiative (AMI) which seeks to bridge the gap that exists in understanding of statistics. Through AMI works in Africa in partnership with Statistical Service Center, it was clearly evident that there was a problem with learning, understanding and teaching of statistics and hence this initiative came about. This seeks to solve this problem in four easy phases. First phase is building a simple but powerful statistical software to be used in all academic levels. This software will be a menu driven software but runs the most powerful data analysis software called R.
Second phase will be using the software by the lectures to teach statistics in universities in a simple but concrete way. This will facilitate better learning and understanding of statistics which will in long term facilitate good decision making. Third phase is to have a wide variety of audience by having the software able to be translated to as many languages as possible and finally to use the software in all levels of education to enhance teaching of statistics.
I have never been involved with this kind of a big project before. It is really overwhelming and there is equally as much learning as working. I have the roles of implementing the multilingual capability of the software as well as working on the front end.
Currently, we have managed to achieve a lot. The loading of data to the software, and establishing a link to R from the front end was one of the biggest milestones. We are now able to send commands to R through the menu system. We have quite a good number of dialogs working and most plots in statistics working as well. They are generated in R and the output displayed in R graphics. This has just been achieved in a few weeks and we are working tirelessly to make sure that in less than a years’ time we deliver a complete package.
We will be releasing the alpha release soon, actually in a few weeks from now. This will come before Christmas. It will have all the basic functionalities. The other releases will include beta release as anticipated in February and a final release in June.
It has an amazing experience to be part of this team. It is really evident from this progress that we have made by now we will be able to deliver this package by June. We greatly appreciate the support from everyone out there. Its through that support we are able to develop this life changing statistical software.