Students take 1st place in DataFest

UMassD Big Data Club members win "Best data visualization" for the third consecutive year & become runners-up in the "Best Insight" category during the 2021 virtual DataFest.

UMassD business and engineering students participate in the 2021 DataFest
Charlton College of Business & College of Engineering students participate in the 4th annual DataFest, winning 1st place in the "Best data visualization" category.

UMass Dartmouth Big Data Club members recently participated in the 2021 DataFest competition organized by the American Statistical Association. “This is the fourth year in a row that the UMass Dartmouth team has come back with a good showing at the competition,” said Bharatendra Rai, chairperson for the Department of Decision and Information Sciences and faculty advisor for the Big Data Club. “Our students showcased their skills in leading technologies such as Power BI, Tableau, Python and R programming language among others, combining with great presentations putting in several hours of hard work in marathon two-and-a-half days to emerge victorious.”

The annual three-day competition involved more than 40 participants from four academic institutions. Students were provided a large dataset and competed to analyze the data and find the most compelling conclusions. The competition culminated in a presentation where students disseminated their findings and defended their methodology. Two UMass-Dartmouth teams competed: the first (Coding Condas), consisting of data science majors, came in first place in the “Best Data Visualization” category and were the runner-up for “Best Insight,” making them the only team in the competition to receive multiple awards. The second (Corsair Analysts), consisting of business students, won runner-up for “Best Data Visualization,” making UMass Dartmouth students the sole winners for that category. 

“I was very pleased with the performance of both teams,” said data science major Salvador Balkus, president of Big Data Club. “Datafest provided an opportunity for us to apply everything we have been learning in our academic careers on a real-world dataset. This experience has been exceptionally valuable, and we plan to attend again in the future.” “As a business major who is not as experienced with R Programming and use of real data sets, this experience was invaluable. It was surprisingly challenging, fun, and rewarding. Not only did I learn something new every hour seemingly, it inspired me to continue to pursue statistics and data analytics,” said Larain Taylor, an operations management major.

UMassD’s Big data Club participants:

  • Andrew Anctil, data science major
  • Salvador Balkus, data science major & president of Big Data Club
  • James Donohue, data science / computer science major
  • Hannah Friedman, operations management major
  • Aashi Jain, MS technology management graduate student mentor
  • Uday Kant Jha, faculty advisor
  • Benjamin Pfeffer, data science major & vice president of Big Data Club
  • Bharatendra Rai, organizing member & faculty advisor
  • Raju Shastripalya Shivaraj, MS technology management graduate student mentor
  • Sushma Srikanth, MS technology management graduate student mentor
  • Nikolai Stahley, operations management major
  • Larain Taylor, operations management major


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