How can we design software to help law enforcement catch the bad guys and avert terrorist activities?


This was one tough question asked of a highly driven group of 30 local teenagers who participated in a challenge event hosted by SAS Scotland in the Glasgow office on Aug. 9.

student program

"The Recruit" is an intensive summerlong challenge programme for 16- and 17-year-olds from the Inverclyde region, near Glasgow. Its objective is “Developing Business Leaders of the Future." The challenges of the programme are loosely based on TV show "The Apprentice," along with a strong education element, and entrepreneurship aimed at raising funds for charity.

The SAS team in Scotland gave an overview of how SAS helps customers solve real-life problems, and gave a detailed presentation on roles in Research & Development and software development. SAS industry specialist and former senior police expert John Gillon presented an overview of the intelligence life cycle, captivating the young students with real-life examples from his experiences within Police Scotland.

The challenge set was in two parts: Firstly, the students were given a real-world task of open-source intelligence gathering, collating, managing, and summarising events from the series of European terrorist attacks in November 2015. They learned that often information can be conflicting and fuzzy, often repeated information made it difficult to find lost nuggets of intelligence quickly, and that accurately and concisely summarising this when briefing others can be challenging.

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The second half of the challenge was to build on this experience and think how software could be used to assist in managing and analysing information – and to present their product ideas.

They showed great maturity in their approach, with imaginative winning ideas ranging from ways of visualising and charting to products to "de-clutter" and de-duplicate repeating information. Some even thought of product names – "InfoWipe" being one.

The day finished with a short live demo of SAS software in action and presentations to the winning team. The day was well-received, and has inspired some to look at data science and software development as a future career option.



About Author

Mayra Pedraza

Associate Briefing Program Specialist, Marketing Executive

Mayra is a Marketing Specialist for the Academic Programme at SAS UK, she develops the brand awareness across the whole UK & Ireland student community. She joined SAS in January 2016 as an intern. Mayra manages the UK Academic social media platforms to share ideas and support other SAS users, she also creates events and sessions which contribute to engage more students into the analytics world.

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