Illini Statistics Club hosts second annual Datathon


Vishesh Anand

The Illini Statistics Club Datathon will be held at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center from Feb. 15 to Feb. 17.

By The Daily Illini staff report

The University’s Illini Statistics Club will be hosting its second annual Datathon from Friday to Sunday.

In teams of four, participants will be working to solve a large, complex data set provided by Synchrony Financial. In one weekend beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, students will apply their quantitative skills to analyze the data set and tackle an industry problem.

Darren Glosemeyer, professor in LAS and adviser of Illini Statistics Club, said the Datathon is a great opportunity for students to apply knowledge and skills from the classroom to a real world problem.

Kanika Punhani, president of Illini Statistics Club, said in an email the Datathon was created in order to provide real sets of data for students to work on.

Through combating a real life data set, students will learn high level challenges in the industry,” Punhani said.

In addition to the contest, Glosemeyer said students will get to meet and learn people working in the industry and have the opportunity to win a prize. Prizes will include Bose headphones and iPads.

An Illini Statistics Club representative said they expect around 250 students to participate in the Datathon. Undergraduate and graduate students from all majors with an interest in data are free to participate.

Though the competition is the Datathon’s core event, they are also planning to have fun workshops presented from professionals in the field and a chance to talk to more corporate sponsors.

“By participating in the workshops, students will grasp standard data analytics skills companies want students to have in the workforce,” Punhani said. “The Datathon also helps bridge the gap between industry and academia by providing interactive workshops teaching highly demanded skills such as Natural Language Processing and Deep Learning.”

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