2020 Student Data Science Competition

The Competition Challenge

Six teams of Texas A&M University students shared $6,000 in prizes during a data science competition hosted by the Texas A&M Institute of Data Science. The competition required students to analyze airline data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics to develop measures and models to forecast the expected performance of airlines. Competitors were given the option of testing models for service metrics such as customer satisfaction regarding flight delays and lost baggage. However, students were encouraged to explore outside these recommendations if it inspired new and innovative analyses of existing data. 

More than ninety teams  registered for the event and 15 submitted entries. The teams competed in graduate and undergraduate categories. First-place teams in each category received $1,500, second $1,000 and third $500.

“Competitors in both divisions demonstrated remarkable skills in framing the problem and executing their technical approach,” said Nick Duffield, TAMIDS director and professor in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, College of Engineering. “The winning teams derived novel insights into airline performance and translated these into recommendations for business operations.”

The Winning Teams

The winners in the graduate category were:

  • First place team: PI Star Skyblazers: Sheelabhadra Dey and Sumedh Pendurkar, Department of Computer Science & Engineering, College of Engineering.
  • Second place team: Analytics Necromancers: Akhil Arora, Akhilesh Gandhi, Jianping Li and Manali S. Zantye, Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering.
  • Third place team: Approximately Normal: Satwik Acharyya, Ananya Roy Chowdhury, Indrajit Ghosh, Sandipan Pramanik and Rachael Shudde, Department of Statistics, College of Science.

The winners is the undergraduate category were:

  • First place team: Inflightful: Cameron Brill, Samarth Dave, Allyson King, Nathan Reddy, Department of Computer Science & Engineering, College of Engineering.
  • Second place team: Cluster One: Landon Buechner, Department of Mathematics, College of Science.
  • Third place team: Confident Outliers: Zichen Li, Department of Mathematics, Fang Shu, Department of Statistics, both in the College of Science; Songlin Xie, J. Mike Walker ’66 Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering; and Yuhan Zhang, Department of Economics, College of Liberal Arts.

Judges and Organization

The panel of judges comprised Duffield; Edward R. Jones, executive professor (retired), Master of Science Analytics Program, Mays Business School; Jianhua Huang, associate director for education, TAMIDS and Professor in the Department of Statistics; Charles Lindsey, machine learning scientist, Revionics; Shanin Shahrampour, assistant professor in the Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering; College of Engineering; Venkatesh Shankar, director of research at the Center for Retailing Studies and professor, Mays Business School;  Shawn Turner, senior research engineer, Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI).

Representatives from TAMU Datathon, Josiah Coad and Chinmay Phulse, both undergraduates in the Department of Computer Science & Engineering, College of Engineering, organized information and working sessions for competitors.

In response to the COVID-19 health crisis, the competition moved to an all-online format for working sessions and the final event on April 22, 2020.


TAMIDS gratefully acknowledges competition sponsorship from Revionics, the Texas A&M Departments of Statistics and Industrial & Systems Engineering, and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.