Data science is an increasingly vital skill across many fields of society and industry, and Waseda University, which recently established the Center for Data Science, is training experts with the extensive knowledge and practical skills in data science required to tackle complex contemporary global issues.
To encourage more students to explore this promising field, Waseda held its first Data Science Competition at the Waseda Campus on July 27.
The challenge for its inaugural year saw teams of 2-4 Waesda students ranging from high school to postgraduate levels presenting their predictions for the outcome of Japan’s Upper House Election, which was held on July 21. Using publicly available data, the teams created prediction models, which were submitted before the polling day, and were judged based on the accuracy and originality of their analysis.
Out of the 61 student teams that entered the competition, 43 submitted their predictions on time and 13 teams made it to the final round to present their models and methods in front of a panel of judges. Each team was unique, with many including members from various backgrounds with different strengths. Many teams had a mixture of Japanese and international students, members of different genders, or a mixture of students from high school, undergraduate schools and graduate schools. The judges were especially impressed with one team that conducted an analysis based on the latest research from overseas which was only recently published in an international journal.
The event was held in both Japanese and English, with each team presenting their work in their preferred language.
The Grand Prize of 100,000 yen was awarded to Team Remember2016.
Yuji Hayashi, a student at the School of Political Science and Economics and member of the team, said that they got their name from the year when Brexit occurred and when Donald Trump was elected as the U.S. president. He said he remembers being shocked by how data scientists predicted such outcomes while mass media was unable to, realizing how important data science was as a tool.
Tota Suko, associate professor of the School of Social Sciences and associate dean of the Center for Data Science, said that though it was a tough decision to make because the quality of work presented by all teams was very high, in comparison to the other teams, analysis of both the predictions for the district and PR tiers by Team Remember2016 were very accurate.
“Despite strict regulations, I got the impression that this team was able to get their results because their overall strength as a team,” commented Suko.
Other prize categories also recognized different strengths in the teams’ entries. In addition, all 43 teams gave a poster presentation, and the poster prize was determined mainly by popular votes from the audience (See below for the list of award-winning teams).
Toshiyasu Matsushima, director of the Center for Data Science, thanked the sponsors of the event and praised all the participating students for their untiring efforts and attitude towards tackling a contemporary issue using data science.
“I could tell that all the teams that presented had conducted a zealous analysis after having thoroughly studied data science. I also sensed the passion and high aptitude of all the participating students, qualities I often find among Waseda students,” Matsushima said.
“The goal of the Center for Data Science is to train resourceful individuals who are experts in data science and equipped with knowledge from the sciences, the humanities, or the social sciences. It was exciting to see that students from different schools and levels participate in this event.”
List of prize-winning teams
- Grand Prize (¥100,000): Remember2016
- SPSE Prize (¥50,000): SURGE
- ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Prize (For the best undergraduate & high school student team, Fitbit per member): Team Genin Kara Suiron Suru
- ADK Prize (Poster prize, Amazon Echo Spot per member): Totorozawa No Mori
- Data Scientist Fes 2019 Prize (Presentation prize, Tosho Card worth ¥20,000 per member): Oishii Curry
- Hitachi Prize (For best prediction of PR tier, Disneyland Pair Ticket per member): Gure-to WCE Oyobi Kita MIS. W Rengou Oukoku
- BrainPad Prize (For best prediction of district tier, Amazon Gift Card worth ¥100,000): RoadChild
- Mizuho Bank Prize (Diversity prize, Apple TV per member): RoadChild
About the Center for Data Science
Established in December 2017, the Center for Data Science (CDS) maximizes Waseda’s strengths as a comprehensive research university and integrates knowledge from the sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences with data science. The purpose of CDS is to train data science experts who can create new knowledge and tackle complex contemporary issues, as well as leverage the overall research capabilities at Waseda University. Website: https://www.waseda.jp/inst/cds/