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Binghamton University Students Compete In First Datathon

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Nearly one hundred students competed in Binghamton University’s first ever Datathon. For ten hours, students analyzed, prepared, and presented actual data provided by businesses and organizations in the community.

Students of all majors and levels of experience were encouraged to participate in the competition hosted by the Binghamton University Data Science and Analytics Club, or BUDSA. President of the club, Lydia King, said the competition gave students an opportunity to learn skills that are not normally taught in the classroom.

“Yes, professors and classes are great, but you’re surrounded by this whole community of intelligent people who have skills different from your own,” said King. “So it’s about how you learn from that and how you teach others.”

Students were judged not only on their ability to analyze the data but on their presentation. For one project, students studied the data about political protests, provided by a political organization in Binghamton.

“Our students are creating partnerships with those businesses by helping them with data analysis, and they’re helping us by giving us real world experience with actual data,” said King.

Students worked in teams of 2-4 and met with leading data scientists in the community. King, a math and economics major said she believes everyone should take advantage of learning data skills.

“The thing with data science and analytics as a whole, is that data’s everywhere. It’s the 21st century. It’s in everything you do no matter what your field of study is. So these skills that students are honing in on at this event, will be relevant to anyone no matter what field you go into. Data science is really an interdisciplinary field so we kind of encourage students from all different backgrounds to come.”

Although the club is relatively new, there was much demand for an event like this to take place. King  is optimistic to see what next year’s Datathon holds.

“We just decided we had to go for it. We planned this entire event in a month. I’m so excited to see what’s going to happen next year when we’ve had a full year to plan this event and publicize it, to see how big it will become,” said King.