Duke students apply big data to real-world trends

Annual DataFest Competition gave students a chance to analyze data and apply it to consumer trends.

big-dataStudents from more than 20 prestigious colleges and universities recently tried their hand at “Big Data” analysis at seven different campuses around the country during DataFest, an annual month-long data-analytics competitive event sponsored by the American Statistics Association.

The undergraduate students of DataFest spend one weekend analyzing data provided by an organization with a store of accessible information. In the 2015 challenge, the data was supplied by car shopping website; past providers include eHarmony, GridPoint, and the Los Angeles Police Department.

“The students found a lot of unexpected and interesting stories to tell using the car shopping data from Edmunds,” said Mine Çetinkaya-Rundel, Assistant Professor of the Practice in the Department of Statistical Science at Duke University. She is a co-founder of the event, which has been running annually since 2011.

(Next page: How a Duke University team used the data)

Laura Ascione