Last weekend, six undergraduate students from the UMass Dartmouth Big Data Club competed at the American Statistical Association's (ASA's) DataFest competition, bringing home the "best data visualization" award for the fifth consecutive year.
DataFest, hosted this year in the Charlton College of Business, is held annually between teams at UMass Dartmouth, Bridgewater State University, Bryant University, and Stonehill College. This year's competition included more than 40 students between the four institutions.
"In my opinion, this year's data was an incredibly complex and unusual dataset. I am ecstatic to say that our team had an outstanding performance," said Bharatendra Rai, Chairperson for the Department of Decision and Information Sciences and faculty advisor for the Big Data Club. "It was great to see graduate student mentors making themselves available from early morning to late night and helping to make this event a memorable and successful event for all participants."
Students in the competition are given a challenging dataset and tasked with creating a data visualization, developing insights from the data, and making use of an external data source within the 36-hour timeframe. Prizes are given out to the top team in each of those categories after every team presents their work to a panel of judges.
"It was great to have the opportunity to apply the computer science skills I've gained to a competition," said Maggie Battersby, a software engineering student at UMass Dartmouth.
Students who participate in the competition enjoy an environment where they can work together to make the best visualization and insights possible. This allows them to teach each other data analytics and data science skills, as well as gain some practical experience in working with large datasets.
UMass Dartmouth's team included undergraduate students John Willy, Kevin Chen, McCord Murray, Maggie Battersby, Ryan Berry, and Bryan Obidike. Graduate students Rahul Chaube, Jitendra Prasad, and Nandini LokeshReddy attended the competition as mentors to the undergraduates. Assistant Teaching Professor Uday Kant Jha and Professor Bharatendra Rai served as faculty advisors.
"This was my first time mentoring at DataFest," said Nandini LokeshReddy, a graduate computer science student. "I had a chance to spend more time with the participants and come up with and put into practice various ideas."
Undergraduate or graduate students interested in joining the Big Data Club can contact Professor Rai at email@example.com for more information.