Discussion: Frederik Obermaier, Süddeutsche Zeitung & Kevin Connor, Little Sis
Workshop: Neo4J

Discussion: 5:00-6:30pm, February 23, 2018
Workshop: 10:00am-5:00pm, February 24, 2018

Discussion Description

Data journalists often find that the complexity or the relationships between the various entities they are investigating force them out of simple data analysis techniques. Stories often reduce to figuring out "Who is connected to whom?". While standard data tools (like relational databases) can be a good choice for some datasets, connected data (such as company registries, investor information, and communication networks) can be difficult and cumbersome to work with. Data journalists today turn to new tools to gain deeper insight. Have you ever struggled with trying to make sense of a spreadsheet with a dozen tabs? If so, then a graph database might be the tool you need to keep track of connections in your data. Through a seminar on Friday and a workshop on Saturday, participants will hear from experts who employ network techniques to tell stories, as well as learn how to use a graph database to analyze highly connected data by applying network analysis techniques. The workshop is good for those with some familiarity looking at data, but we don't assume detailed database experience -- all we ask is that you be curious about how you might exploit the connections between people, places and things of your story to take you even deeper in your investigation.

Workshop Description

Graph databases are optimized for working with complex and connected data. Social media data is a great example of a complex dataset where the connections in the data are often as important as the discrete data points, making it a great use case for applying network analysis using a graph database.

In this hands-on workshop we will cover how to model, import and query Twitter data using the Neo4j graph database. We will focus on learning how network analysis can be applied to the data by using the property graph data model and Cypher, the query language for graphs, to write queries that can help find stories in the data. We will use a dataset of tweets from Twitter accounts tied to Russia that were released as part of the House Intelligence Committee investigation into Russia's potential interference in the 2016 US election.

Workshop fascilitators:

Lars Nordwall: Lars is an entrepreneur and leader with a successful track record of building software and services companies. He has a unique sense of clarity how to identify a promising technology, and how to transform it into a leading company. Track record includes senior leadership positions at Pentaho (sold to Hitachi for $600M), Cambridge Technology Partners (IPO, market cap >$5B, and later sold to Novell), SugarCRM (pre-IPO), and now Neo4j where he is the President & COO. Find him at and @lnordwall

William Lyon: Will is a software engineer at Neo4j, the open source graph database, where he builds tools for integrating Neo4j with other technologies and helps developers be successful with graphs. Prior to Neo4j, he worked as a software engineer for a variety of startups, building APIs, quantitative trading tools, and mobile apps for iOS. William holds a master's degree in Computer Science from the University of Montana. You can find him online at or @lyonwj

Jesús Barrasa: Jesús is an engineer based in London. He's currently heading Neo4j's, Global Telecom Practice where his mission is to get all Telcos in the world getting value from graphs with Neo4j. He combines over 15 years of professional experience in consulting in the Information Management space. Prior to joining Neo Technology, Jesús worked at Ontology (now EXFO) for seven years, where he got the first-hand experience with large graph DB deployments in many successful projects for major Telecommunications companies all over the world. Jesús holds a PhD in Computer Science from the Technical University of Madrid, where he carried out his research on graph data modeling and Semantic Technologies. He blogs at and tweets occasionally at @BarrasaDV