Bangalore, India, January 30, 2016: Microsoft in collaboration with Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore concluded the first ever Data Science Student Challenge (DSSC), a 24-hour global hackathon series, today. The hackathon was inaugurated on January 29th as a part of Pravega 2016, the annual festival by the Indian Institute of Science Bangalore. The hackathon which witnessed participation from close to 200 students showcases Microsoft’s commitment to boost the ecosystem for Data Scientists in India by giving students the opportunity to learn and test their data analytical skills.
As a part of the hackathon, students accessed open government data and derived insights from that dataset, using the power of data analytics. Along with the students, a team of senior Microsoft mentors were present onsite to support and guide participants to create solutions based on predictions from the identified issues. The hackathon generated over 50 ideas that could help build digital solutions to address the socio – economic issues in the country and accelerate the pace of the government’s Digital India program. Amog Mannekote, Tanmay Chinchore and Abhilash K from M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology (MSRIT), Bangalore were recognized as the winners of the challenge for prediction analysis on diabetes in Indian women. G Arun Kumar & Aravind Sundaresan from People’s Education Society Institute of Technology (PESIT) Bangalore, South Campus won the second prize for prediction analysis on heart diseases and Amleshwar Kumar, Indranil Bhattacharya, Raghuram D Bharadwaj, Shreyas S and Swapnil Dhama from Indian Institute Science (IISC), Bangalore won the third prize for predicting mortality rates of patients in ICU. The winning teams were rewarded with a cash prize of Rs.50000, Rs.25000 and Rs.15000, respectively.
Speaking on the occasion, Professor Yogesh Simmhan, Assistant Professor, Department of Computational and Data Sciences (CDS) Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore said, “The demand for Data Scientists is making it one of the most promising career options for students today. There is a critical need to address the talent gap, both in data science research and its practice. As the premier institute of research and higher learning in India, we at IISc are working towards this in multiple ways. The recent creation of the Department of Computational and Data Sciences, the Big Data public lecture series, and new data science and analytics courses are some of these efforts. This spirit is embodied by our students as well, and I am pleased that IISc’s Pravega technical fest has partnered with Microsoft to host its first global Data Science Students Challenge in India at our campus. By collaborating with Microsoft, around 200 students from around the country have benefitted from the mentoring support provided by the team. The hackathon is a great opportunity for the students to test their analytical and programming skills to derive actionable insights from complex data sets by using Microsoft Azure Machine and Cortana Analytics Suite learning tools. It is also worth calling out that the DSSC event is offering participants the option of exploring government data to come up with problem statements and data-driven solutions to make the Digital India vision a reality. We hope that this hackathon advances and sustains the diverse collaborations between IISc and data science leaders in the industry like Microsoft.”
Sundar Srinivasan, Partner Group Program Manager, Microsoft India Development Center said, “The Hackathon is an example of the deep partnerships we are forging with academia and students around Data Science and Machine Learning. At Microsoft, we are deeply committed to research and development efforts behind Azure and Cortana Analytics Suite. Data Science exists across Microsoft products and services including Azure, Bing, HoloLens, Xbox and Skype. Using data Science we can make high-value predictions that can guide better decisions and smart actions in real time without human intervention. This is one of the reasons why companies like Microsoft are investing heavily in Big Data and Machine Learning. The Data Science Student Challenge at IISc aims to reiterate the significance of machine learning amongst the aspiring technical professionals by offering them a platform to experience the power of Data Science in addition to mentorship from senior professionals from Microsoft. We are delighted to see some interesting solutions being built by students within a span of 24 hours. Machine learning coupled with Big Data analytics will be the next big frontier for the computing industry.”
The demand for analytics skill is going up steadily however there is a huge skill deficit both globally and in India. A McKinsey Global Institute study states that the US will face a shortage of about 190,000 data scientists and 1.5 million managers and analysts who can understand and make decisions using Big Data by 2018.
India, currently has the highest concentration of analytics globally. In spite of this, the scarcity of data analytics talent is acute and demand for talent is expected to increase as more global organizations are outsourcing their work. This is where industry-academia partnership can play a big role in ensuring a future ready workforce. The series of hackathons, workshops and even courses organized by Microsoft provides a good platform for students to enhance their skill and learn the nuances of the latest technology to become industry ready.