November 4, 2008
Three SMU graduate students have been named the nation’s best at sorting and comparing vast amounts of computer data.
(l. to r.) SMU President R. Gerald Turner, Jayjit Roy, Manan Roy, Stefan Avdjiev, and Professor Tom Fomby.
Economics Ph.D. candidates Stefan Avdjiev, Jayjit Roy and Manan Roy in the Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences won the 2008 Data Mining Shootout and its $5,000 prize based on their program logic and software solutions for a fictional airline trying to improve customer satisfaction with company responses to weather events. The goal was to use weather data to predict flight cancellations and pre-reserve hotel rooms and rental cars for stranded passengers.
“This could be costly, so accuracy would be important,” said team member Avdjiev. “Companies now have the capability to gather and store data they didn’t even have 20 years ago. Data mining allows them to analyze that data.”
More than 30 teams from universities and colleges across the country competed in the competition. SMU’s winning team was announced on October 27 – the second day of the data mining conference at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. It was SMU’s first time to enter the competition, said faculty sponsor and economics professor Tom Fomby.
“We were not only the newcomers,” Fomby said. “We were the winners.”
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