ASA DataFest - University of Waterloo

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          “While challenging, DataFest 2018 was an incredibly rewarding experience that taught us about the nuances of real world data, resilience and the power of team work.”
          –  Yuan Yuan Mandy Gu, Statistics and Pure Math Student, Winner of the 'Munich Re Best Insight' Award

Over the first weekend of May more than 100 undergraduate students spent 48 hours on the University of Waterloo campus analyzing and applying data as they competed in the 2018 ASA DataFest competition. Worldwide, more than 2000 students participate in this competition at several of the most prestigious colleges and universities.

For two consecutive days students worked around the clock to put their data analysis skills to the test with more complex data than what they would normally be exposed to in class. Once the data was analyzed, groups had only two slides and five minutes to convince the judges that the conclusions they drew from the data were deserving of one of three titles: Munich Re Best Insight, Best Use of External Data, or Best Data Visualization.

The winners of this year's competition are:

Munich Re Best Insight:
Fuhua Liu, Yuan Yuan Mandy Gu, Chen Qian and Dhron Joshi
          “The experience was interesting and a very different tone to the usual hackathons we are used.” 
          – Chen Qian, Computer Science and Statistics

Best Use of External Data:
Bingfan Liu, Liudong Li, Qidi Hu, Kevin VanDam and Wai Keat Tan
           “DataFest is a challenging yet rewarding experience, that I would recommend to all undergraduate students.”   
           – Kevin Vandam, Honours

Best Data Visualization:
Jiaqi Wang, Yu Zhang, Ankai Jie, Neil Liu, and Saksham Chatnagar
          “DataFest was a hectic and fun weekend! I had an amazing time exploring the data with my teammates and learned
          a lot of new things about statistical analysis and data visualization.”

           – Ankai Jie, Bachelor of Computer Science, Major in Data Science


This hands-on learning provides unparalleled opportunities for collaboration, creativity, and development of critical and analytic skills – but most of all, it’s fun!

Included this year was an interactive panel discussion for students to gain insight into the world of data science directly from industry representatives. They shared valuable tips on hiring expectations, skills needed and future trends. ASA DataFest is a unique opportunity that gives aspiring data scientists a leg up on industry expectations after leaving the University of Waterloo. Gaining great experience and advice, students find valuable takeaways from this annual competition.

- Carlos Mendes

Friday, May 25, 2018

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