On February 3, 2018, three IAA students participated in The Data Open hosted by Correlation One and Citadel at Duke University. The three students – Alex Christian, Nikhil Prasad, and Emily Hadley – were among 96 students chosen from over 400 applicants who completed a rigorous placement test. They teamed up with a NCSU Master’s in Engineering student, Alper Ender, to try to win the top prize of $20,000 dollars.
At 8 am, we were granted access to a dataset we had not seen before. While we cannot discuss the specifics of the data, it involved multiple topics in multiple cities. Our task was quite broad: create our own question and develop our own solution in 7.5 hours. We used a variety of methods to analyze the data, including basic descriptive statistics and exploratory analysis tools. We simulated what might happen if each city received an approximately 30 minute advanced notice of an act of war. While we cannot share the results, we were able to use innovative statistical techniques and produced a series of intriguing visualizations.
We are proud of our work and learned a lot along the way. Some of our top takeaways include the importance of starting report writing early in the day, the importance of choosing a question and sticking with it, and handling the challenges of working in a timed environment. While we did not walk away with any prize money, we enjoyed the opportunity to apply our data and team skills outside of the classroom setting.
Columnist: Emily Hadley