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Data Storm 1.0: Inspiring Sri Lankan Youth to Get Involved in Big Data

The era of Big Data is upon us, and Sri Lanka is embracing this change. Around the island, businesses and universities are prioritizing their focus on data analytics. For the first time in the country, Data Storm 1.0 is in the works, an initiative which will draw attention to the data revolution. 

What is Big Data Analytics?

Big Data Analytics is the use of very large, diverse data sets to uncover hidden patterns, correlations, and other insights. These derived insights then help businesses make better and informed business decisions, unlocking value and potentially transforming future business processes.

In Sri Lanka, OCTAVE is making significant strides towards unlocking the power of Big Data Analytics.

What is OCTAVE?

OCTAVE is the John Keells Group Centre of Excellence for Big Data Analytics, the cornerstone of data-driven decision-making at John Keells Holdings (JKH). The largest listed conglomerate in the country, JKH operates in seven diverse industries within Sri Lanka: Leisure, Transportation, Information Technology, Retail, Consumer Foods, Property, and Financial Services. 

JKH recently celebrated 150 years of growing with the nation. With this, comes a goldmine of data, amassed over the years from seven different diverse industries. Born in response to the need for finding new ways to revolutionise strategic and operational decision making, OCTAVE is building a world-class advanced analytics practice with a team of over 50 data scientists and data engineers. They are supported by a global consulting firm of international experts in the field, to deliver a diverse road map of 40 use cases by 2022. 

Employees at OCTAVE gain the chance to innovate on some of the largest and richest data sets in Sri Lanka, working shoulder to shoulder with senior members across industry vertical at JKH, and witness the frontline impact of the data driven insights they unlock. 

What is Data Storm 1.0?

Data Storm is a hackathon organized by the Rotaract Club of University of Moratuwa in collaboration with the Rotaract Club of Faculty of Science, University of Colombo, and powered by OCTAVE. Open to students from various universities, this hackathon aims to assess the technical capabilities of students in areas such as problem solving approaches to real-world business problems. 

Speaking on the competition was Rtr. Mindula Mevan Perera, President of the Rotaract Club of Faculty of Science, University of Colombo, “As an upcoming field in the industry, this range of study requires challenging rational and interpretative skills put into utmost use. That is why for the very first time, Data Storm 1.0 will take centre stage”.

“With the aim of sharpening the skills of the youth, Rotaract Club of University of Moratuwa, in collaboration with Rotaract Club of Faculty of Science-University of Colombo, brings you Data Storm 1.0, the ideal platform for showcasing the data analytics skills of the youth,” added Rtr. Dhanuka Perera, President of the Rotaract Club of University of Moratuwa.

The competition is to take place in 2 stages. 

Round 1 will be an online round hosted by the Kaggle platform. Held from the 14th to the 17th of February, a set of problems will be posted by the platform moderator over the course of the three days. Each team must try to solve and submit as many problems as they can within this time period. Each team will be required to submit a written report which summarizes the problem they identified, the approach they followed to solve the problem, and the tools and programmes they used to analyze the data. The evaluations of the submissions will be done via the Kaggle platform and an independent panel of judges.

The top 20 teams will be selected for the final round and will be invited for a special session hosted at University of Moratuwa on the 22nd of February.

Round 2 will be an 8-hour-long Datathon where participants will be given a business problem related to JKH and will put their minds to work on synthetic business data. The final round will be held on the 29th of February and each team must prepare a presentation on the solution they came up with and the approach they utilized. This will be evaluated by a panel of judges, consisting of esteemed personnel representing both academic and corporate arenas. 

The winners will reap the rewards.

Each participant will receive a certificate from the organizers for their participation. The top teams will win cash prizes and opportunities to continue their passion within the field of Data Science. 

Most enticing of all, the top teams of the competition will be fast-tracked within the recruiting process for OCTAVE, gaining the opportunity to kickstart an enriching and exciting career.

Yolan Seimon, Head of OCTAVE, mentioned that, “Octave, the Data and Advanced Analytics division of John Keells Holdings is pleased to join the Rotaract Club of University of Moratuwa, in organizing ‘Data Storm 1.0’, in collaboration with Rotaract Club of the Faculty of Science, University of Colombo. We look forward to meeting the participants in person and hope they enjoy the exposure to the types of business problems that are solved at OCTAVE.”                                                                                                                           

General Competition Guidelines

  • Open to all contestants with no age restrictions.

  • A team should consist of 3 members.

  • Registrations opened on the 1st of February and will close on the 10th of February, 2020.

  • The competition is open to participants representing any Rotaract Club, educational institution, or corporate company. 

  • Questions are case study oriented. There may not be one clear answer, in which case, a justifiable, efficient and innovative approach will be expected. 

  • A general awareness of Data Analytics Algorithms and Analytics Tools will be sufficient as a background requirement.

How to Register

All teams must register through the following registration link before the closing date https://data-storm.web.app/

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