A team of Orange Coast College computer science students earned the respect and admiration of their peers by becoming the first team from a community college to win at the American Statistical Association's 2019 DataFest at Chapman University on May 5.
The ASA DataFest is a 48-hour intense hackathon where teams of University-level students work to clean, explore, analyze and perform machine learning modeling on corporate provided big data. OCC sent three teams to the competition under the mentorship of Computer Science Professor Nadia Ahmed. One of those teams — dubbed "Memory Leak" — won Best Use of Outside Data, a top prize in the four categories teams competed in. This year's data was provided by the Canadian Women's Rugby team, and included wellness data, GPS data, competition information, and force load/impact data.
"Our team impressed the judges by performing signal processing on GPS data to extract the number of collisions incurred per player on the team as a predictor of sleep quality and overall wellness," explains Ahmed. "They used data from the National Center for Biotechnology Information to corroborate per player performance as flags for traumatic brain injury events."
The OCC team's win is unprecedented, as community colleges were only allowed to participate in the competition starting last year. At this year's competition, 28 teams of 128 students represented colleges across California, such as Cal Poly Pomona, Chapman University, UC Irvine, and UC Santa Barbara.
OCC's winning team was comprised of students Naomi Valentin, Hector Elias, Ryan Millett, Phouc Do, and Jacob Leenerts. The team has been invited to speak at a round-table discussion and awards banquet on Tuesday, May 20.
"This is a rag-tag team of hard-working individuals, each with unique backgrounds and talent," says Ahmed. "They are intensely passionate about learning, go above and beyond to solve problems, and are incredibly loyal to their values as a tight knit group of friends. They inspire me and I know they will be successful in whatever they set their mind to."