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APU Data Analytics Technoids Emerged Big Winners of the Data Mining Cup 2022

August 3, 2022 | Campus News

During the recently concluded Data Mining Cup 2022, an international student competition to find the best solution to a data mining problem, two teams representing the Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) emerged as the biggest winners.

The budding technoids had not only reached the winner podium twice, bagging First and Third Place awards, but also received total cash prizes of 2,500 EUR.

Mentored by the School of Computing lecturer Mr Mafas Raheem, Team 1 made up of Data Analytics bachelor's degree students – Ngo Zhuo Xiu, Khoo Xin-Yi and Pang Hong Shen achieved First Place by developing the best solution model for cyclically demanded products in the online store, beating 77 participating student teams from 23 countries.

The Third Place was attained by Md Nowshad Ul Alam, APU’s international student from Bangladesh who studies the same programme, and solved the same data analysis problem. He triumphed with a cash prize of 500 EUR, a trophy and a certificate.

The rest of the top 10 winning teams are from the University of Applied Sciences Zwickau, Germany; Universidade Federal de Alfenas, Brazil; The Army Institute of Management Kolkata, India; the Chinese University of Hong Kong; Perm National Research Polytechnic University, Russia; University of Mannheim, Germany; and Grand View University, the USA.

Organised by “prudsys AG” – a leading provider of agile AI technologies for omnichannel retail based in Germany, the annual Data Mining Cup (DMC for short) competition aims to enthuse universities’ students in intelligent data analysis (data mining) and to challenge them to find the best solution while competing with others.

This year, the virtual competition started on April 12 with the submission deadline on June 28. Each educational institution was eligible to send two teams to the competition. Students had a total of 11 weeks to submit a solution model. The award ceremony eventually took place virtually on July 14.

The focus of the competition was on “Replenishment”. At first, the contestants needed to determine which products were purchased cyclically by customers for a fixed product range in an online store. Next, the participating teams developed a model that predicts these cycles for all relevant products with customers or consumer groups.

When asked about the key to this success, Ngo Zhuo Xiu, the team leader of the First Place winner analysed, “Our success factors can be categorized into three main parts, knowledge on data mining, teamwork, and time management.”

He further elaborated, that the team had applied data exploration, data pre-processing, data modelling as well as model tuning skills and knowledge they learned from the undergraduate programme’s modules like Data Mining and Predictive Modelling (DMPM), and Optimisation and Deep Learning (ODL).

“We believe that these skills will not only apply to the competition but also can be applied in our future careers in the Data Science and Data Analytics fields in various industries,” continued Ngo.

Juggling between final year projects and assignments that occupied them, the team met up several hours every week, to brainstorm ideas and build solutions for this competition.

“The preparation of the solution model was tough at the beginning. Literature reviews were done by continuously meeting our supervisor to clear doubts. Finally, we were able to get on the right track. The model was fine-tuned, tested, and evaluated to create a better model which solved the given task,” said Ngo.

Concurring, Md Nowshad Ul Alam said, “Besides hardcore skills, modules that are designed for BSc (Hons) in Computer Science with a specialism in Data Analytics, also trained students’ critical thinking, and understanding of business values and market trends.”

Their supervisor, Mr Mafas opined, that this big victory not only proves that APU’s students are capable of handling the real-world business challenge and finding more suitable solutions; but also testified the knowledge students gained during their undergraduate studies is on par with industry requirements.

“Data Analytics or Data Science is an interdisciplinary skill that could be widely applied to many domains to solve different problems in a business setting. Any business problem will require a data science-based solution, guided by certain steps such as Problem Understanding, Data Understanding, Pre-processing, Model building, Model Tuning & Evaluation. Globally, the demand for data analysts and scientists has been increasing exponentially,” explained Mafas.

Looking at how APU’s Data Analytics students repeatedly made a name at major national[1] and international[2] competitions, Mafas gratulated, “I am very happy as my students proved that they are capable of meeting challenges at the global level. Needless to say, this is championed by the up-to-date and industry-focused curriculum along with the knowledge and efforts of our students and academicians.” 

[1] Three Data Analytics Undergraduates Got Loads Out of an Industrial Hackathon.

[2] APU’s Tam Majestic won a Canadian award by creating convincing dashboard via effective visualisations.

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