The R community and some of South Africa's most forward thinking companies have come together to bring satRday back to Cape Town. This conference provides an opportunity to hear from and network with top Researchers, Data Scientists and Developers from the R community in South Africa and beyond.

Some pictures from Cape Town's first satRday in February 2017.


Keynote Speakers

Maëlle Salmon
Data Scientist
Maëlle is a data scientist with experience mostly in public health, both in infectious disease and environmental epidemiology. She holds a PhD in statistics from the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich and has lived in several European countries. She is a very enthusiastic R user and loves sharing her passion, with involvement in the community including blogging, co-founding the R-Ladies Barcelona meetup, package development and being a co-editor at rOpenSci, providing an onboarding system for R package developers.
Stephanie Kovalchik
Data Scientist and researcher
Dr. Stephanie Kovalchik is the lead data scientist in the Game Insight Group at Tennis Australia, the governing body of tennis in Australia, and a Research Fellow in sports analytics at the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living at Victoria University. Her research focuses on the use of statistical methods to understand performance, game strategy, and mentality in high-performance tennis. Stephanie received her PhD in statistics from UCLA and her Bachelor’s of Science from Caltech. Stephanie is an avid R user and the author of several packages, including RISmed (an R interface to NCBI databases) and deuce (a package for tennis analytics). She is also the creator of the tennis analytics blog On the T and regularly writes about tennis there and on Twitter.


Neil Rankin
Stellenbosch University
Peter Kamerman
University of the Witwatersrand
Michael Johnson
BI Architect
David Lubinsky
Managing Director
OPSI Systems
Vishalin Pillay
Data Analyst
Schalk Heunis
Senior Data Scientist
Vodacom Big Data Analytics
Marc van Heerden
Advanced Analyst
Bain & Company
Wiebke Toussaint
Data Scientist
UCT Energy Research Centre
Sean Soutar
University of Cape Town
Jasen Mackie
Product/Business Owner
IRESS SA Electronic Execution
Jed Stephens
University of Cape Town
Wasim Lorgat
University of Cape Town
Robert Bennetto
Head of Consulting
Pivot Sciences
Deveshnie Mudaly
Data Analyst
Hanjo Odendaal
Data Scientist
Stellenbosch, BER, Eighty20
Andrew Clark
Alice Elizabeth Coyne
Gen Re
Christopher Waspe
University of KwaZulu Natal


The satRday Cape Town conference will kick off on the 16th of March 2018 with a day of workshops held by our Keynote Speakers. Note that these will be full day workshops and will take place in parallel, so you'll have to choose between them!

R package development

...from laying functions to package hatching!

Maëlle Salmon

This hands-on workshop will allow you to transform a bunch of R functions into an R package. You'll also learn how to make it usable and used! We'll assume you can write functions, and a basic familiarity with Git & GitHub.

Here is what we'll learn:

  • Why develop a package?
  • What is in a package?
  • devtools workflow to create a package
  • Automatic tools for improving a package, from R CMD Check to linting
  • Creating a slick documentation website with pkgdown
  • Why and how to have your package reviewed?
  • How to make your package famous or at least reach your audience?
  • Package analytics via CRAN logs and via the gh package.

Attendees should bring a laptop with the latest versions of R and RStudio installed. Also bring your experience and questions about packages!

The Sport Statistician’s Toolbox in R

Stephanie Kovalchik

The workshop will cover a number of skills and statistical models that are common in sports statistics and show how each can be implemented in R. The workshop will introduce participants to a range of R packages and real sports examples will be used throughout. It will be very hands-on!

After completing this workshop, participants will be able to gather and clean public sports data more effectively, explore data with graphics, apply several common models used in sport, and share their sports statistics ideas through a blog. A brief outline of the workshop is given below.

Workshop Outline:

  • Sports data resources
  • Web scraping
  • Data exploration and validation
  • Sports models and real applications
    • Bradley-Terry paired comparison models.
      Application: Which team is the strongest in the English Football Association League?
    • Pythagorean Theorem.
      Application: How can we predict an NBA teams expected wins for the season?
    • Forecasting.
      Application: What is the chance that a tennis serve will be a service winner?
    • Generalized Additive Models.
      Application: How can we model the strike zone from baseball tracking data?
  • Sports Blogging

Further details and instructions will be sent to participants prior to the workshop.

Data Carpentry Workshop for R novices

This year we will offer a Data Carpentry workshop which will include R programming for novices. Data Carpentry workshops teach introductory computational skills needed for data management and analysis in all domains of research. For more information on syllabus and requirements please visit the workshop webpage.

The Data Carpentry Workshop will take place on the 15th and 16th March 2017. Note that registration for this workshop is separate from satRday.

More Info Register for Data Carpentry


Workshops Programme

StartEndFriday 16 March 2018
8:30 9:00
9:00 10:30
First Session
10:30 11:00
Tea / Coffee
11:00 12:30
Second Session
12:30 13:30
13:30 15:00
Third Session
15:00 15:30
Tea / Coffee
15:30 17:00
Fourth Session

Code of Conduct

satRday is dedicated to providing a harassment-free and inclusive conference experience for all in attendance regardless of, but not limited to, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, physical attributes, age, ethnicity, social standing, religion or political affiliation.

We do not tolerate harassment of participants (including organisers and vendors) in any form. Sexual innuendos and imagery are not appropriate for any conference venue, including presentations.

Anyone violating these rules may be given warning or expelled from the conference (without a refund) at the discretion of the conference organisers.

Our code of conduct/anti-harassment policy can be found here.


Situated on the slopes of Devil's Peak, the University of Cape Town (UCT) is South Africa's oldest university, and one of Africa's leading teaching and research institutions.

UCT Upper Campus

UCT's new lecture theatre, located at the southern end of University Avenue, is the largest venue on campus and the first to earn a four-star green rating.

UCT New Lecture Theatre outdoor area

UCT New Lecture Theatre amphitheatre

UCT New Lecture Theatre cafe


Located in the heart of the Southern Suburbs, UCT is within easy reach of transport and accommodation.


Early Bird tickets now available! Offer ends 2018-01-20*.

  • Early Bird price for Conference and Workshop passes will be R200 and R1000 respectively.
  • Early Bird tickets on offer until 20th January 2018 (or until sold out!).
  • Standard price for Conference and Workshop passes will be R500 and R1500 respectively.
  • No late or at the door registration available.

Workshop Pass

A workshop pass gives you access to one of the workshops held by our Keynote Speakers. These full day workshops will be run in parallel on the 16th March 2018.

Workshop Pass
(Early Bird R1000.00)
1 Day Workshop
Networking breaks with refreshments provided
Free 1 month trial for DataCamp

Conference Pass

The Conference Pass gives you access to South Africa's second satRday. Come and join us on the 17th March 2018 to meet with and hear from both local and international R enthusiasts!

Conference Pass
(Early Bird R200.00)
Morning Tutorials
All Conference Talks
Networking breaks with refreshments provided
Free 1 month trial for DataCamp

Important Dates

Working up to the conference on 17 March 2018, these are the most important dates on your calendar:

Event Date
Early-Bird Registration Deadline 2018-01-20
Tutorial Submission Deadline 2018-02-03
Talk Submission Deadline 2018-02-03
Official Notification of Submission Acceptance 2018-02-10
Registration Deadline 2018-03-03
Data Carpentry Workshop 2018-03-15/16
satRday Workshops 2018-03-16
Conference 2018-03-17

Call for Papers

The Call for Papers is now closed. We received 39 submissions and we're currently putting together the technical programme.

What are the benefits of giving a presentation?

  • Speakers will have their registration fees refunded.
  • Financial support may be possible for speakers.
  • Prompt feedback on your proposed presentation.

Feel free to submit one or more proposal(s). We will be considering the following presentation formats:

  • Tutorial [60 min]
  • Lightning Talk [5 min]
  • Standard Talk [20 min]


We thank our generous sponsors for supporting Cape Town satRday. Your financial help and commitment to the R community are greatly appreciated and essential to making this event possible!