Data Science Competition Attracts Talent from UGA

The first data science competition hosted by the department of statistics at the University of Georgia (UGA) attracted 96 students, with 10 undergraduate teams and 16 graduate teams from 25 programs across campus. Most teams had students from multiple disciplines, making the competition truly interdisciplinary.

The teams were given simulated data sets typical of historical performance of credit card accounts together with credit history information. Each team had to develop two models, one using traditional statistical techniques and another using a modern machine learning algorithm. The teams had to compare the results from these two methods, select an appropriate one, and use it to develop an algorithm for making accept and decline decisions on credit card applications. The projects were judged based on the quality of the work, the written report, the code, and oral presentation.

The first- and second-place winning teams presented their findings on Industry Day, held virtually April 28.

Each judging panel was composed of two members: one from UGA faculty and a data scientist from industry. Vijay Nair, one of the industry partners from Wells Fargo, was pleased with the work he saw from the students. “We wondered if this would be too hard, particularly for undergraduate students,” he said. “I must say, I’m floored—totally, totally floored …”

The top two undergraduate and graduate teams received $2,000. The second-place team received $1,000.

The competition was organized by UGA professors Abhyuday Mandal and T. N. Sriram. The Dr. Mohamad Al Lawati Academic Enhancement Fund sponsored the event.

Following are the names of the students from the winning teams:

Undergraduate Teams

First Place

  • Bryce Davis, Statistics
  • Taylor Last, Statistics
  • Ted Woodsides, Statistics
  • Anderson Molter, Computer Science

Second Place

  • Orr Shalev, Computer Science
  • Antoine Nadaud, Mechanical Engineering
  • Noam Kleinman, MIS, Economics
  • Jacob Salomon, Data Science
  • Ayush Kumar, Data Science
  • Faisal Hossain, Computer Science
  • Chloe Phelps, Data Science

Graduate Teams

First Place

  • Jeevan Jankar, Statistics
  • Will Cranford, Statistics
  • Dan Luo, Statistics
  • Qian Zhang, Educational Psychology

Second Place

  • Zhizhong Lin, Statistics
  • Yu Wang, Statistics
  • Xiaochuan Li, Statistics
  • Mengyun Yu, Statistics