150 Students Participated in the UMD Data Challenge - and Results are In!

150 Students Participated in the UMD Data Challenge - and Results are In!

On the morning of February 24, 2018, over 150 enthusiastic students from different colleges around the University of Maryland gathered with 18 industry experts at the UMD Riggs Alumni Center for the UMD Data Challenge 2018 event. The students would embark on an exciting week-long journey of problem-solving, number crunching, and data-wrangling to provide data analytics ideas with a theme of Information Innovation for Social Good. The excitement was evident as participants were lined up at the entrance before the registration officially opened. During the event, there was constant activity with mentors assisting teams, encouraging them to come up with innovative ideas using the data had chosen to work with.

Three tech-talks were provided throughout the day by data experts from Amazon Web Services, US Department of Transportation and National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC). The speakers inspired the participants to leverage the datasets and combined with their knowledge of the ever-advancing technology to provide results that will empower the community. The talks were a hit with the students, as several shared that they enjoyed listening to the talks as well as explored ideas with the speakers.

In addition to the participants, the speakers and mentors also appreciated the event. Mary Shelley, SESYNC, shared how much she loved interacting with the participants and listening to their ideas and opinions. The sponsors also enjoyed themselves. Montgomery County Park representatives networking with the participants and listening to ideas about the Park’s data and other information about Montgomery County. Sponsors and mentors expressed their excitement for the upcoming Finale on March 3, looking forward to the outstanding products that the teams will be displaying.

With the overwhelming student participation, motivation from the mentors, a chance to interact with key industry experts, and scrumptious food, it was a splendid kick-start for the first ever UMD iSchool Data Challenge.  

After a week of problem-solving, number crunching and data-wrangling, the Finale of the Data Challenge took place on the morning of March 3 at the Dorothy D. & Nicholas Orem Alumni Hall at Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center. Twenty-three teams comprising of 75 students with different degree levels showcased their work in the form of presentations to the judges as well as the other esteemed guests. The excitement of the participants was unparalleled.

The mentors and sponsors were delighted with the final outcomes showcased by the participants. The judges were quite impressed with how well the students had leveraged technology and provided data as well as abided by the theme of Information Innovation for Social Good. One of the judges, Ying Lu shared that he was highly impressed by the winners of Social Impact category, who had utilized the Morten Beyer and Agnew Aircraft data to study the carbon footprints left by the airplanes. The winners of the different categories represented participants coming from a range of majors including information systems, systems engineering, human-computer interaction as well as network engineering. The winning team, four HCIM students combined their analytics, design as well as electrical skills to build a physical model to map the predicted bike station traffic over the University of Maryland.

Apart from the judging, the room was brimming with interaction within the participants as well as other experts. One of the highlights was that the guests from other nearby UMD events taking place that day were also attracted to the Data Challenge. They were so fascinated by the projects that they stayed back to vote for the People’s Choice award. The winner of this category, a team of three Information Management students, captured people’s interest by attempting to understand the connection between political stability and economic growth using the World Events Database.

Overall the participants enjoyed working on the datasets, the mentors cherished guiding the students, the judges appreciated the hard work of the teams and the sponsors too enjoyed interacting with the participants - the event was a hit!

Congratulations to the winning teams!

Grand Prize Award
  1. Shangcao Yuan - HCI (Grad)
  2. Xiaoyu Sun - HCI (Grad)
  3. Raj Parikh - HCI (Grad)
  4. Akanksha Shrivastava - HCI (Grad)
Most Likely to have Social Impact
  1. Karthik Veeramalai - Business Analytics (Grad)
  2. Sagar THM - Marketing Analytics (Grad)
  3. Neha Mehrotra - Marketing Analytics (Grad)
Best Use of Data
  1. Aishwarya Nair - MIM (Grad)
  2. Cindy Zhang - Marketing Analytics (Grad)
  3. Neha Puthran - MIM (Grad)
  4. Zijian Wan - HCI (Grad)
Best Innovation (Tie)
  1. Tammie Nelson - PhD Info Studies (PhD)
  2. Prashant Rathod - Software Engg (Grad)
  3. Renuka Dalal - Software Engg (Grad)
  1. Anand Dwivedi - ENTS (Grad)
  2. Sainihal Tummula - MSIS (Grad)
  3. Vrushal Kamtikar - MSIS (Grad)
  4. Pushkar Deshpande - MIM (Grad)
People's Choice Award
  1. Aniket Jadhav - MIM (Grad)
  2. Shashank Kava - MIM (Grad)
  3. Arpit Chandra - MIM (Grad)